Bucs RT Gosder Cherliusn- Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Bucs showed fight Sunday night in Dallas, but a few too many flaws made for a somber flight back to Tampa Bay.
There were issues along the offensive line once again, quarterback Jameis Winston would back up a phenomenal play with a head-scratcher, and scoring touchdowns in the red zone continues to be a challenge. Challenges with the ball resulted in the Bucs defense being on the field for more than 36 minutes and going up against 71 Cowboys plays.
Tampa Bay showed it can hang with or beat some of the NFL’s top teams throughout its five-game winning streak and that didn’t change in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football. Below are a few things PewterReport.com believes kept that run of victories from extending to six.
T GOSDER CHERILUS
The big fella from Haiti had been performing well in his role as the team’s swing tackle and coming in for a handful of jumbo package plays.
That same level of success hasn’t followed Cherilus as he’s taken over full-time right tackle duties for injured starter Demar Dotson. Things got so bad Sunday night that Cherilus’ replacement at swing tackle, Leonard Wester, subbed in for some late snaps at right tackle.
One of the roughest moments of the night came as the entire offense unraveled in the fourth quarter. Dallas had just tied the game 20-20 early in the fourth and Cherilus got worked twice in three plays. The first, which coincided with right guard Ali Marpet also getting beat, resulted in Winston getting sacked for a 6-yard loss by Cowboys defensive end David Irving. The second resulted in pressure on Winston and a sailed pass that got intercepted by safety Jeff Heath.
Cherilus wasn’t the only Buccaneer to look overmatched against Dallas’ front four.
In addition to Winston taking nine hits and four sacks, Tampa Bay got next to nothing on the ground. Sunday’s 52 net rushing yards is the Bucs’ lowest output of the season. Running back Doug Martin logged 16 of the team’s 20 attempts and gained just 42 yards. Charles Sims ran three times for four yards. No running play went for longer than eight yards.
Early in the year it was kicker Roberto Aguayo making weekly appearances on this list. Now it’s the Bucs’ inability to put a bow on nice, long drives. At least Aguayo is making more of his kicks.
A golden opportunity to assert themselves as serious challengers and go up 7-0 was squandered when the Bucs’ first drive died at the Cowboys 7.
Then when Dallas was on its 17-point, first-half run, Winston sabotaged another march inside the Cowboys 10 with his inexcusable head-butt of linebacker Justin Durant. The Bucs were at the Cowboys 8 before Martin got stuffed for a five-yard loss. Clearly fired up, Winston committed the unnecessary roughness infraction that pushed the offense back to the 28.
Two drives that need to end in six points each combined to score six points total. The Bucs are now 22nd in the NFL in red-zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns on 52.1 percent of trips inside the 20. That number is at 40 percent the last three games.
Well I know some will disagree but most disappointing for me was the offensive and defensive scheme not adjusting as to why they were getting beat on the OL & DL and slow to make those corrections. That would be Coach Ketter & Coach Smith.
You can only put so much make-up on Rosanne and that offensive line was putrid.
Coaching is certainly a factor any time we lose a game. “Most disappointing?” Maybe, but it’s very hard to put coaching at the top of the list.
How Jameis Winston not on this list? 4 turnovers?! One unforced fumble early in Dallas territory? Three potential big plays where the ball sailed on him?
I love the guy, but he played bad last night. The TD to Humph was all Humph, that pass should have been picked off. Throwing for the home run when all you need to do is pick up one yard and it’s almost picked? We all love the gunslinger mentality, but that play was as stupid as it gets, again, all credit to Humph.
His TD toss to Brate was pretty, but he blew last night. Add him to the list.
the unforced fumble was forced even if his hand wasn’t hit he was nailed around the waist as he brought the ball back which knocked it up. AND two of the three interceptions were from a Hail Mary and a forced 4th down last play of the game.
Look….their offensive line was alot better than our defensive line. Jameis fought and he forced some things, but he didn’t quit. It was a valiant effort by our team on a night where we were severely outplayed.
First I’m glad Bucs are turning it around and on the right track. They aren’t there yet but I am still happy. I said I would be happy win or lose against Dallas and I am.
Did they piss away a very winnable game? yes. Heading right direction with some needs still to contend? Yep.
I would tend to agree with Horse and add coaching for Bucs. Defense was lame and vanilla. I really thought would blitz and attack more with press coverage. Nope just bunch of rush four cover two and zone. Smith goes to Sorry Jags again so be it. We will live without him no disrespect.
Offensive play calling was crap too. Why don’t they throw more easy completion stuff especially early to get Winston settled down and in rhythm.
Winston has got to start controlling his emotions. If not for the horrendous O line play I’d put him on this list too.
Still he needs to improve and learn for last week. If he can’t learn to calm himself down he will continue to sail balls high and never be elite.
I’m not even sure that the Cowboys result was a matter of “pissing away” a winnable game. That phrase seems to suggests nonchalance, not caring enough, or willful neglect. I don’t think any of those the case.
We got beat by a better team, for a variety of reasons. No matter how good a team is in this parity-driven league, it’s almost impossible to go undefeated. After all, nobody has gone undefeatedsince 1972 – 44 years ago – and nobody has gone undefeated since the 16 game regular season started.
The team that most fans/media dub “best team in the league” has varied throughout the season in terms of “power rankings”. One week it’s the Patriots … another week it’s the Seahawks … another week it’s the Cowboys … this week people are even saying that the Packers are the one team “nobody wants to face”. All teams have down weeks, and all teams have weaknesses that other teams, on a good day, can exploit and defeat.
Our weaknesses on this current Bucs team are fairly obvious, and I won’t belabor them.
On the other hand we also have some strengths.
And as it stands today, our Bucs will win the NFC South and go to the playoffs for the first time in forever if we simply win one more game than the Falcs win.
I do not think JW played well. But I do not think he should be on this list. He took us in and got us the lead. So he did ok. I would say the Red Zone play calling sucked. I have yet to see them put a receiver in motion in the Red Zone. If you watch the Giants tape, it tells you that they should have been in press coverage most of the game. Thats why Dak was killing them with short passes. But they were up pressing our guys on the line. Also, we missed one early slant, and never went to another one. What else is crazy is that, we used to screen a few times a game. We are lucky to get one per game. Again, like I said in another post. Coach knows his QB…..He knows how to settle him down, but he seems to forget that and continue with the med to long passes. Also, go with the no huddle more at different times of the game please……
I wonder why we didnt move the pocket and have more roll out passes where Jamesis could threaten with his legs also. It showed stat that Jamesis was the top rated passer in the league when he got out of the pocket. Does Dirk not know this or pay attention to them stats or what? Very frustrating loss because it was so winable despite our crappy first half. I agree with above posters. Some of this has to fall on the coaches as well. Didnt adjust very well to the constant pressure. Kept calling pass plays that took too long to develop and had Jamesis stay in pocket. I also think we had to blitz more. Completing 88% of your passes is way too easy..
Jason Garrett use to be the H.C., O.C., Jones made sure he only where’s the H.C. headphones now. I’m beginning to believe the two should be separate. Lovie took over play calling last year, and the defense took a dive. It’s gotta be hard wearing both hats. Koetter’s play calling has left a lot to be desired this season, and I think that has to do with the two voices in his head. The one saying balls to the wall, and the one that has to take the whole picture into consideration. The best O.C.’s get awfully conservative when they become the man. It happened here with Gruden too. Todd Monkin gave up a good gig to come here, he’ll leave if another one is offered unless he can get the play calling duties making him a legit coordinator. That’s why Jay Hayes left Cinn, to get out from Lewis shadow. If Smith Leaves, Hayes is in line to take over. Do the right thing Dirk, let Monk take over. Either you want to be the H.C., or the O.C., don’t be greedy, pick one share the wealth.
JW was under extreme duress but ex the third quarter his questionable decision making and accuracy were on display. He has to be on this list.
The entire OL should be as well for its holiday party impersonation of Swiss cheese. That’s Licht’s fault for apparently not understanding the basic idea of building teams from the inside out.
If we’re being realistic, this team has overacchieved its overall talent level. If we fail to make the playoffs that’s okay because we have a leader and a head coach that we and the players can believe in and are heading in the right direction.
But Licht has made a number of mistakes with high picks (Aguayo, ASJ, Smith and I’d argue Sims for being one dimensional). If Licht does it again next year he’ll be on the season ending version of this list (for me) if not out the door.
I disagree with your statement that Licht made mistakes with Aguayo, Smith and Sims. “Mistakes” in terms of draft picks means busts. The only one of Smith’s draft picks in the third round and above that were busts was ASJ. Aguayo is kicking well after a slow start (14 of his last 16 field goal attempts, leading scorer a week ago, 100% this week). Smith is a capable offensive lineman who is unfairly picked on .. he’s learning and getting better in only his second year in the league facing the cream of the crop in opposing defensive linemen week in and week out. Sims is a successful third down back and backfield receiver.
Licht’s first round picks – the most important of all – have been great. Mike Evans, a top wide receiver in the league and only the fourth wide receiver in NFL history to break 1,000 yards in his first three seasons. Winston who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and was in the top ten in the league in QBR entering this week’s game against the first place Cowboys. VHIII who is an excellent starting cornerback whom none of the opposing quarterbacks including surefire HOFers like Drew Brees want to throw against.
Licht’s second round picks have only a single bust in 2014 (ASJ) vs. great pickups include Donavan Smith and Ali Marpet (2015) and Noah Spence – a phenomenal rookie pass rusher – and Aguayo (doing very well since Week 5) who are both starters.
Licht did fine in the third round too, but only one pick in that round, with Chris Sims,
Licht did fantastic in the fourth round with starter Kwon Alexander – who as of yesterday holds the fourth all time best tackling in a single game (21), just two tackles below first year HOFer Derrick Brooks, plus Ryan Smith who had the spectacular special teams play last week.
I respect your opinion and posts but there’s a difference between drafting a bust and getting a poor return on the investment that a pick represents.
Using a 2nd on Aguayo who has not improved the team instead of bringing in a starting caliber OL is a huge mistake.
Drafting what has been shown to be an embarrassingly one dimensional running back in the 3rd round was a smaller mistake but a mistake nonetheless.
As you mention ASJ was a complete bust.
As far as Smith, I watch him very carefully and simply disagree, he doesn’t stay engaged with his blocks and is not good at handling quick DEs in space. I think he’d be better on the right side or even better as a G, either of which means he was drafted too high and another mistake.
Yes he hit the obvious/easy picks of Evans and Winston (putting aside Mariota’s higher QB rating and that relative to the piss poor QB play this franchise has endured we’d be lucky to have him also). And yes both Kwon and Brates were great finds.
My point is just that making that many mistakes in the early rounds undermines the good moves and if it keeps up could be the difference between us capitalizing on Having a franchise QB for the first time ever, and not. Coaches like Andy Reid understand the importance of the lines and prioritize them accordingly, and that keeps them competitive year after year. We need to do the same.
The reason the Bucs lost this game is simple: the Cowboys played to their strengths and the Bucs did not force the Cowboys to play to our strengths. On offense, we continue to try and run Martin up the middle. It just isn’t working. Whether there needs to be a change at RB or the runs need to be designed differently, something has to give. The pass protection was bad all night. JW’s fumble and the last interception were both the result of him being hit on the arm while he was throwing the ball. Knowing the the pass protection was suffering, I do not understand why there was not an effort to roll JW out. He is difficult to defend out of the pocket, yet the coaches insist on sitting him back there with a target on his back for 5 and 7 step drops. This was particularly a problem late in the game, and no adjustment was made to account for the fresh legs of the Cowboys DL’s. It also seems that Koetter the OC has got to get some quick slants mixed in to the playcalling.
The defensive line couldn’t get pressure and couldn’t stop the run. There was talk of Silga factoring into this game, but he never really played until Gholston went out. I would have liked to have seen a few series earlier with him and Gholston in there against the run. It is also glaringly obvious that the linebackers still overrun plays or are out of position on frequent run plays. They were better at this the last few weeks, but appeared to get sloppy in this game. Cowboys o-line is good, but guys have got to stay home and cover their lane rather than trying to shoot in and make a play behind the line. Thea combo of Zeke and that o line will beat a lot of teams.
At the end of the day though, this is was the kind of game that at times felt like Dallas was destroying the Bucs and they kept fighting and stayed in it until the end. Answering their 17 points with 17 of our own was impressive, and hanging tough with a top team in their building until the end shows that this teams has made significant progress this year. It is definitely something to build on.
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