Bucs DE George Johnson - Photo by: Getty Images
The Buccaneers escaped with a much needed victory in New Orleans, as numerous players stepped up in the clutch to help deliver a great team win. That said, while nearly every player improved from last week, there were still a few critical errors that came dangerously close to gifting the Saints a victory. Overall, most players on the list had an otherwise solid performance, but one fourth quarter mistake in a close contest can ruin a game and deflate a young team still learning how to win. Here’s a list of players who need to limit mental errors in the future.
Buccaneers Most Disappointing vs Saints
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Although Seferian-Jenkins made an athletic 21-yard grab during the Bucs first offensive series, as well as some good blocks in the running game, the second-year pro was responsible for a couple drive-stalling errors. The most notable came in the second quarter when he dropped a wide open pass that would’ve given the offense first-and-goal from the 10 instead of second down from the 40. Seferian-Jenkins immediately followed that play up with a hold on first down. He was also called for a hold in the first quarter, nullifying a first down catch from Charles Sims. While Seferian-Jenkins struggled a bit with mental errors, he also made a few heads-up blocks that showed great awareness. On Jameis Winston’s 1-yard TD run, Seferian-Jenkins recognized the running lane and set a pick on Saints linebacker David Hawthorne for Winston to score easily. Seferian-Jenkins is most likely going to be a key element in Dirk Koetter’s offense.
LT Donovan Smith
Smith battled hard with defensive end Cameron Jordan throughout the game, but the rookie let up a costly sack in the fourth quarter as Jordan blindsided Winston on a big second-down with their backs against the wall. Defending a Pro Bowl end in his second career game was a tall order and one that was bound to have some rocky moments, but Smith fared well for the most part. There were just a few critical mistakes that stood out on an otherwise impressive offensive line Sunday. Winston fled the pocket a couple times with pressure on the left side. Smith was also responsible for an early hold after the Bucs started with the ball on the Saints 40-yard line. Young teams have to take advantage of good field position, and this was another example of beating yourself.
C Joe Hawley
The Buccaneers are 1-0 since signing Hawley last Monday, but the former Falcon nearly overstayed his welcome in one moment, when a tripping penalty brought back a would be first down. Jameis Winston found Doug Martin on third-and-14 screen pass before Martin made an even better play to find the marker late in the fourth quarter. If it stood, it would’ve given Tampa Bay a first down with under four minutes left and a chance to milk the clock. Instead, the tripping call kept New Orleans – and their fans – in the game. Hawley stepped in well for Evan Smith after the latter left with an injury, but all it takes is one critical mistake that can set the entire team back.
WR Mike Evans
After straining his hamstring in late August, Evans finally returned to action only to get his name called for a penalty. The second-year pro was held without a catch, although the one on the sideline looked like it should’ve been challenged. Nevertheless, it was a quiet outing for the former rookie sensation against a depleted secondary in New Orleans. The Bucs didn’t throw a ton in Week 2, but would like to create space for Evans and target him more when they do put the ball in the air in the future. Tampa Bay is maybe still treating his injury with caution and expecting other players to step up in the meantime. Regardless no one expected Evans to be held without a catch in his first game back.
DE George Johnson
As a whole, the defense did exactly what they needed to on Sunday – stop the run early while holding Drew Brees to 255 yards on 24 completions. The defense also came up with a couple strong stands, especially during the fourth quarter drive that began at the Bucs 30 after Jameis Winston fumbled and set them up in prime territory. That said, the Bucs could’ve benefited from better production from left end George Johnson. And, given the success of Jacquies Smith (3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) and the constant pocket collapsing by Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald, Johnson didn’t have an excuse to not have a great game. The former Lion only put himself in the stat column with two assisted tackles, as Saints RT Terron Armstead was in control of the matchup throughout most of the game. Johnson was solid in run support during the first half but needs start mirroring Smith’s success on the other side of the line.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Evan Smith has been terrible both games. Loafing, missing blocks, and his SLOW shotgun snaps. Maybe it’s because he got hurt, but has not played well at all
I didn’t realize J. Hawley was starting until part of the way through the game. He made a huge difference on the O-line so I hope to move to have him start at center is permanent.
I agree thunderchunky. I was watching his snaps and they were very slow. The new guy’s snaps were much faster. However, when Smith went out the run game stalled.
That penalty on Hawley was a very very very skeptical call. I’m emphasizing very skeptical.
Yeah considering he fell and rolled and the defender ran into him, I thought that call was horrible. His own momentum kept him rolling. Never want to see anyone get hurt but eds is terrible and probably the most overrated lineman we have.
Absolutely. Doesn’t deserve to be on this list for that one BS penalty.
NO WAY should that guy be on the list.. if you cant find five..don’t just make one up. 😉
Zach, I think you were reaching to name 5 guys.
I love it when that happens on this list, and not the other!
Giving up one sack is hardly a reason to put Smith on this list.
I think Austin Jevarian Jenkins belongs here instead.
I believe the guy got penalized twice for holding and dropped an easy catch.
For all of you thinking Hawley is better than Smith, the Bucs ran the ball much better when Smith was in the game.
But the tripping call was ticky tack but the guy is known for dirty play.
Hawley should not be on this list, the one call was BS. The guy left off this list was DJ Swearinger. Everytime there was a big play of touchdown, he was out of position. I remember plays where I saw missed tackles and the numbers that stood out to me were 36 and 50. Swearinger and Bruce Carter. Watch the film.
Bogus call, so was roughing the passer, and at least one of the holding calls I saw on Jenkins. Big brother did not want the Bucs to beat N.O.. Take that as however you mean. I don’t want to get fined.
Hawley sucked. Runs up the middle were non existent when he was in there.
Not a fan of Evan Smith at all. Hate his play on the field, and hate his personality off the field even more. I don’t wish ill will on anyone so hope his injury isn’t too serious.
I thought Hawley played better but isn’t as strong of a run blocker.
I’d much rather see J. Warren getting the chance to back up Evans. He played extremely well in the preseason minus his feet getting tangled with Winston on a play. That’s just chemistry and he started at third on the depth chart when otas began.
I thought the tripping penalty on Hawley was a mistake. The refs were flaghappy. Reminded me of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Last week’s refs seemed to make a lot of mistakes as well. If we ever make the playoffs we’ll get the seasoned and polished refs again.
Watching Winston walk up to the line from the huddle right before his fumble on third and short I thought “Uh oh.” Is eyes were like saucers. He looked terrified. Poor pass protection will do that to any rookie qb, no matter how highly he was drafted. Thankfully, Brees looked pretty rattled, too. Three straight quaters of poor pass protection will do that to any qb, period.
The call on Hawley was total BS. He never raised his leg.
Is anyone else getting annoyed with the fact that EVERY TIME Evans misses a catch he throws his hands up and cries about pass interference? Every. Single. Time.
Play the game Mike.
Cuz EVERY other receiver in the league doesn’t do that? You watch Witten last night?
didn’t see Jackson do it – ASJ didn’t – Murphy – nothing
It’s fine to try and draw the penalty, but the over acting is beginning to get a little bit too much.
And no, I didn’t see Witten last night
Where the hell is Warren? That’s who should have been in there. This kid looks better than Smith and Hawley!!!!!
I was wondering the same thing
RussMillerwy, guys like you and your comments make me laugh.
What makes it even more sad is you actuall believe what you are saying.
Actually, on that play, Winston had enough time in the pocket, he should have just thrown the ball away.
You sound like Fran Tarkenton who says the same thing about every QB, yet I remember Tarkenton scrambling around a lot of times when he didn’t even have to.
Overall, the line gave Winston plenty of time in the pocket yesterday and Winston looked comfortable in it.
Zach: Yor are working too hard to come up with these names. Hawley, Smith and Jenkins ALL played well, throughout the game and do not belong on your list!!! Hawley played well while in for Smith.
Why can’t PR just call it as it happened and not be so scared about being called a “homer”? The alleged tripping call was BS – if you’re going to “call out” someone how about it be based on actual events?
They won, I don’t care how.
The only one I believe really belongs on this list is Johnson. As good as the rest of the d-line played, he should have at least been visible.
Sure, D Smith had trouble blocking a pro-bowler, that’s to be expected from a rookie. Evans didn’t produce much but he’s coming of an injury that may be slowing him down and still managed to get open quite often. ASJ played pretty well other than the one dropped pass. Maybe it was just the o-line as a whole, but it seemed Hawley did a great job and was called on yet another BS flag.
The only real disappointment last night was the refs!
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