RT Gosder Cherilus – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Bucs got their win and that’s all that really matters. Smooth sailing, however, it was not. Victory felt like it should have been wrapped up sometime in the third quarter.
For starters, Tampa Bay was at home and jumped out to a 13-0 lead. The defense was owning New Orleans and quarterback Drew Brees so much so that the Saints didn’t get a first down until the second quarter – and it came courtesy of Bucs linebacker Lavonte David inadvertently grabbing a facemask. That 13-0 lead, however, could’ve/should’ve been even greater.
Here’s PewterReport.com’s Most Disappointing list from Sunday’s 16-11 Bucs win over the New Orleans Saints.
The Bucs’ offensive line seems to have regressed after being the team’s most surprising strength a season ago.
Describing Sunday’s performance as erratic is probably putting it lightly. Running lanes weren’t opening up, quarterback Jameis Winston was flushed from the pocket, hit or sacked too often, and the penalties kept on coming.
Tampa Bay gave Doug Martin 23 chances to tote the rock and the biggest gain he could break went for eight yards. Martin averaged just 2.9 yards per carry while totaling 66 yards. The Bucs averaged 3.0 yards per attempts as a team, picking up 104 on 35 attempts. Even Martin’s highlight – a 1-yard touchdown run – came after he was hit in the backfield. And speaking of contact behind the line of scrimmage, the Saints accomplished that again later in the second quarter for a safety that became the first two of 11 unanswered points.
Backup Gosder Cherilus struggled in place of Demar Dotson at right tackle and was partially responsible for both of New Orleans’ two sacks. Cherilus and right guard Ali Marpet got worked by a DT Nick Fairley/DE Cameron Jordon stunt in the third quarter. Charilus was then late to pick up Jordan when the Saints brought five in the fourth quarter, though Martin also failed to pick up blitzing safety Vonn Bell.
As for the penalties, we’re looking at you, Donovan Smith. The offensive line was responsible for three of Tampa Bay’s seven infractions and the second-year left tackle record all of them. Two were false starts on the team’s second drive of the game and the other was a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter.
RB DOUG MARTIN
The performance of any running back not named Barry Sanders is usually related closely to that of his offensive line. That being said, the ball carrier still deserves blame or credit depending on that day’s result.
Martin is just not playing at the level this offense needs or expects. He has failed to crack the 90-yard mark in seven starts and is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry. Martin’s never averaged fewer than 3.6 yards per attempt in his five-year career, and that came during his injury-shortened, six-game sophomore campaign in 2013.
Head coach Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken, and Bucs offense linemen have all said in recent weeks that the team needs to do a better job moving the ball on the ground. All aforementioned coaches and players also praised Martin’s ability as a pass blocker. That’s been a positive this season, but it was Martin whiffed on Bell this week.
WR JOSH HUFF
Huff got the shot he’s been waiting for and he probably wants a redo.
Elevated from the practice squad to the active roster after receivers Cecil Shorts III and Adam Humphries were lost to injury last week, Huff didn’t do much with his opportunities. Not only that, a first-half blunder cost Tampa Bay dearly.
Handed kick return responsibilities because of his speed and past track record with the Philadelphia Eagles, Huff’s most-memorable moment of Sunday’s game was having a bouncing kickoff bounce off his face and out of bounds at the half-yard line. One snap later, Doug Martin was getting stuffed behind the goal line for a safety that began New Orleans’ comeback bid that got much too close for comfort.
It’s understandable for players in Huff’s position to want to try and make something amazing happen any time they get their hands on the ball. Over-eagerness or trying a little too hard can result in bone-headed low-lights, though, too.
Other than that kickoff blunder, Huff played 21 offensive snaps and caught one of two passes thrown his way for 17 yards. He also went five yards on an end-around.
The Saints are among the league’s bottom feeders in terms of overall defense. Every one of their opponents scored 20 or more points this season, other than the New York Giants in Week 2.
Add the Bucs in Week 14 to that short list.
But it didn’t have to be that way. Tampa Bay moved the ball fairly well in the first half while building its 13-0 lead. Only one drive managed to cross the goal line, however, and that was aided by a 13-yard pass interference penalty on a second-and-5 play inside the red zone.
Even with how well the defense is playing of late, the Bucs are playing with fire settling for field goal attempts as opposed to scoring touchdowns.
Tampa Bay’s first scoring drive stalled out at the Saints 23 despite starting with a fresh set of downs at the 23. The Bucs ran out of gas at the 21 in the second quarter after failing to convert a third-and-1. Kicker Roberto Aguayo was needed for his third field goal early in the fourth after the offense couldn’t turn a first down at the Saints 13 into six points.
Less inclined too call out Martin. He had no holes to run into.
Yes the O Line sucked. D. Smith needs to get some coaching up and how much do we miss Dotson. A lot.
I’m going to call out Anger a little bit. Punt out of bounds? I did not even know that was a rule. He was sure pissed off walking to the sidelines.
At least we did not get a delay of game penalty on a kick off like the Jags. I did not know you could do that.
BEAT THEM COWBOYS
It’s the same rule as a kickoff. It’s just at the 35 yard line after the fouls usually. Anger has been absolutely one of our best players this season, and I’ll let him slide on the shank.
At minute 14:35 of Dirk Koetter’s presser today, he praised Doug Martin. He said “There’s nothing wrong with Doug, he’s running hard. We got to give him more running lanes. We’ve got to play better around him”. He was impressed with the 1 yard run that scored the only TD. Said he must have broken 10 tackles. I don’t think Doug is on Koetter’s Most Disappointing list!
To be clear Chet, I’m agreeing with you!
He missed the hole a couple of times.
I mostly agree about Martin and you have to admire the fact he is trying to run north. The lanes aren’t there and he pushes forward to prevent negative yards a lot of the time. He is to be commended for that, so what I am about to say is contradictory, he needs to bounce outside now and again. His nickname is the muscle hamster… that middle gets so jammed up and he is trying to squeeze through holes that just aren’t big enough. Run the outside for me a couple times, one hard cut and get the stiff arm out there. Our rbs are good enough to shake guys in the open field for extra yards. I know Doug doesn’t have the length and long speed as a lot of backs but he has 20 yards as good as anyone not named Bell, Johnson, McCoy. I am sure he is just sticking to the play design and if that is the case, then the run calling is too conservative.
Yea I said earlier the O line and Smith stunk. Martin ran hard but just no movement up front.
Not sure we missed Dotson much Chet he’s been bad too lately. Been getting beat in passing situations and lots penalties on him.
Now Naplesbucsfan can tell me how I’m wrong and O line and smith were fine. Lol.
Losing Stocker didn’t help run game either but if we really are going to make a run or even be a playoff team we need much better O line play that that pure and simple.
Winston needs quit sailing passes over receivers heads too. Not sure if he gets too excited or it’s mechanics but happens too much still IMO. Still love the guy but keeping it real.
Yes we need more receiving weapons for him too. No argument from me there.
Your right, Winston needs weapons. I think the best weapon we can get him is a great offensive line.
Well we won so lets don’t be so critical; after all we had three starters missing, Dotson, Stocker, Humphries. Go Bucs!
The Bucs plan to waive S Major Wright reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. This move suggests that S Chris Conte will be available Sunday against the Cowboys. Will be interesting to see who plays the majority of snaps Conte or Keith Tandy. Good problem to have! Go Bucs!
Forgot Major was even on the team.
It seems to me the defense knows where, and when we’re running the ball. When have we ever come out just throwing the ball a whole series, or two? We’ve seen other teams like the Pac, N.E. do it, set the run up by passing first. Koetter needs to trust Winston with this change up once in a while. We ar not keeping defenses off balance. Koetter needs to open it up more.
Did we miss Dotson? At least Gos was penalty free, and it’s not like Dot never gets beat. Truth is, both our starting tackles have struggled this year, and we haven’t seen if we have any answers with our young guys like Celeb. We will need to up grade next season.
I agree that the running game’s problems are not Martin’s. He’s doing an admirable job of breaking tackles, although he doesn’t always see the biggest hole to dive through. The low yards per carry averages for all Bucs halfbacks are partially the result of whiffed blocks by both offensive linemen and tight ends. However, it also seems like opposing defenses are stacking the line of scrimmage to stop the run, especially on first down. You rarely see teams line up against the Bucs with two deep safeties. This is also partially because of our offensive line. An offensive line that pass blocks poorly cannot hold long enough for receivers to get that deep. We’ve also only got one really dominant receiver who can’t be covered man-to-man. Other receivers get an A for effort, but just don’t have the capabilities that Evans has. So move one deep safety over to double cover Evans, put your other one down in the box on most downs, and you’ve got a basic recipe for bottling up the Bucs offense. Until someone emerges as the next Gronkowski, Kevin House, etc., that’s just the way it will be.
That’s why the real key to success so far has been Winston’s pocket presence. He’s been able to wiggle and accelerate away from pass rushers after they’ve beaten their pass blockers, always keeping his head up and judging who’s open and where to run next. He’s even learned to throw the ball away, which is hard for a hero to do. If we had anyone else playing qb now we’d be losing a lot of games.
I disagree completely with this post and with similar comments in other threads about the Saints game.
The Saints defense played nearly as well as the Bucs D did, just minus the takeaways. The two 5-yard penalties on the Oline represent a season low … we usually get multiple 10-yard holding penalties on the line. The 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Smith was a total bullshit call – Donovan was just defending himself from a Saints defender who was yanking hard on his face mask after the play was over.
The most disappointing player was our coach Dirk Koetter for his self-described poor play calling. He is a good coach and I expect him to call a better game next Sunday. Dirk called himself out, it was the correct thing to do. Everybody can have a bad day. We got lucky winning this game – as good as our D played, it was two dropped passes in the end zone that won this game for us. We cannot depend on those bounces always going our way. We need to get more aggressive on offense and score more points.
If a top tier Tackle is available when we draft, draft him. Every one knows how I feel about the O Line.
We need to build the biggest baddest MFing line a the league. The line can be our big stick.
The evil empire did it (Dallas) why can’t we. Getting Sweezy the ghost back will help. What a gig Sweezy has, sit a home and earn 5 million.
At least I hope he helps.
The next draft is critically important. We’ll need to spend a 1st or 2nd on a top flight WR (pun intended, and JW needs to stop throwing ‘hospital balls’ over receivers’ heads) but despite our other needs we MUST use two of our top four picks on the OL.
Smith is average at best, especially in space and was a mistake where we drafted him. If we can convert him to G maybe we’d have two starting caliber guards and a bunch of mediocrity everywhere else.
The pocket is a mess and one of those hits is going to knock JW out for the season, and our hopes with him. Get a stout C and a T and then what we have now becomes decent depth.
A Good OL makes everyone better – JW, running game, WRs, D… If Licht chases splash players instead it will betray fact he is still learning on the job and we’ll continue to suffer. Fingers crossed
You must be logged in to post a comment.
© 2017 PewterReport.com All Rights reserved. Marketing Tampa | Visual Realm