Just when we thought he couldn’t possibly be any worse, he goes and does something like that … and totally redeems himself!
No, kicker Robert Aguayo’s game-winning field goal doesn’t yet justify the organization’s use of a second-round pick on him. But it allowed the Bucs to steer away from dumbest-move-in-franchise-history territory for moment, at least.
Despite two more misses and six more points left on the table, Aguayo’s 38-yard make at the buzzer earns him a little reprieve.
The same can’t be said for everyone, however. Below is PewterReport.com’s Most Disappointing list from Monday night’s 17-14 Buccaneers’ win at Carolina.
DE HOWARD JONES
Jones wasn’t on the field much Monday night and the team probably wishes that playing time was even less after his damaging third-quarter error.
Trailing 7-6 and set to get the ball back after a Carolina three-and-out, Jones was hit with a 15-yard roughing the kicker penalty when he ran into punter Andy Lee. Armed with a fresh set of downs at the Bucs 45, Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson hit tight end Greg Olsen for 33 yards and running back Cameron Artis-Payne rushed into the end zone from 12 yards out.
One penalty. Two plays. Seven points. 14-6 Panthers.
It would be one thing if Jones was diving and just missed getting a hand on the punt, but he didn’t. He came off the Bucs’ left edge and then just ran into Lee.
Making matters worse for Jones is that that penalty was pretty much his only production Monday. Despite Tampa Bay’s battered defensive front, Jones didn’t play much on defense and didn’t record a single stat.
OFFENSIVE LINE PENALTIES
Tampa Bay committed only five penalties for 40 yards as a team, but three of them were charged against an offensive line that can’t stop drawing flags.
Adding to fans’ frustration Monday were the two that came with Tampa Bay facing third-and-1 situations.
Right guard Ali Marpet’s first-quarter false start on third-and-1 at the Carolina 36 was followed up by a Jameis Winston sack that pushed the Bucs out of scoring position.
Gosder Cherilus, who was reporting as eligible throughout the game, committed the same penalty even deeper in Carolina territory. He jumped on third-and-1 at the Panthers 5. Then Winston lost track of the play clock and pushed Tampa Bay back five more yards. Then Aguayo pegged the right upright from 33-yards out.
The unit’s third penalty was the night’s first and it came against right tackle Demar Dotson. The big fella held after getting beat around the edge and put himself back in a tie with New York Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers as the most penalized offensive linemen in the NFL. Both players have been flagged six times.
This is tough because of how decimated Tampa Bay is on the defensive line. Starting tackles Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald, and starting end Robert Ayers Jr. were all out. Throw in the season-long injuries to end George Johnson and Jacquies Smith, and it all adds up to the Bucs running out a shaky, piecemeal front four.
The replacements are still professionals, though, and the Bucs need players to step it up better than they did against Carolina’s banged up offense. The pass rush was nonexistent Monday night. Not only did the Bucs fail to sack backup quarterback Derek Anderson, they didn’t manage to register a single hit on him inside the pocket or record a single tackle for loss.
Newly acquired defensive tackle John Hughes III assisted on a tackle and rookie defensive end Noah Spence again didn’t play much, contributing one tackle.
Rookie defensive tackle DaVonte Lambert did make the biggest play of any defensive lineman in the third quarter, though, when he hit Anderson at the end of a scramble and caused a fumble recovered by defensive end William Gholston.
LB LAVONTE DAVID
The Bucs need more than what they got out of their star linebacker Monday night.
David recorded five total tackles (four assists and one solo) and was a step or more late on too many passing plays. Anderson exploited matchups like this one with Greg Olsen all night, allowing the tight end to post a career-high 181 yards on nine catches.
In David’s defense, he and other Bucs dropped back in pass coverage didn’t get much help from the aforementioned ineffective pass rush.
RED ZONE OFFENSE
Speaking of ineffective, that’s one way to describe Tampa Bay’s red zone offense.
The Bucs went 0-for-4 scoring touchdowns inside the Panthers 20, making the fact that they still managed to win the game even more incredible. Those four red-zone trips resulted in three Aguayo field goals and one miss. The Bucs got as deep as the Carolina 17 before all three made kicks and pushed all the way down to the 5 on the drive that resulted in zero points.
The 0-for-4 could really be looked at as 0-for-3, since the last one came on the final, game-winning drive, but it’s not a good way to go about winning football games. Touchdowns do that, not field goals.