The Tampa Bay Bucs picked up their most lopsided win since trouncing the Philadelphia Eagles 45-17 last year. Sunday’s 36-10 beating of the Chicago Bears wasn’t without a few groaner moments, though. There weren’t many, which was a nice change of pace, but check out this edition of PewterReport.com’s Most Disappointing list.
C BEN GOTTSCHALK
Was the 24-year-old thrust into a tough situation Sunday? Yes. Did he handle it well? Not exactly.
Tampa Bay activated Gottschalk from the practice squad Saturday because center Joe Hawley and left guard Kevin Pamphile were out with injuries. When backup center Evan Smith was lost to a knee injury midway through the first quarter, Gottschalk went in to finish out the game.
Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman took advantage of Gottschalk and rookie Caleb Benenoch at left guard. One particularly rough sequence came during a third-quarter drive. Gottschalk getting beaten badly on consecutive plays resulted in quarterback Jameis Winston getting sacked for a 15-yard loss followed by running back Doug Martin getting hit in the backfield for a 1-yard loss. On the first play of the next drive Gottschalk looked to have issues with the snap and the Bucs were whistled for a false start.
RT DEMAR DOTSON/LT DONOVAN SMITH
The Bucs bookends just aren’t having good seasons and the troubles continued Sunday.
Both had their moments looking flat-footed and slow as Bears defenders swept into the offensive backfield, contributing to Chicago’s four sacks, five quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss.
Of the Bucs’ nine total penalties, four were committed by tackles. Three went to Dotson (two holds and a false start) and one to Smith (illegal use of hands).
A tough job gets even tougher when an offensive line is trying to function as one with two new pieces, but confidence in Dotson and Smith continues to waver each week.
LB KWON ALEXANDER
Scrutiny this week was directed at linebacker Lavonte David and his decline in production playing in coordinator Mike Smith’s defense.
According to Smith and head coach Dirk Koetter, David’s role as a tackling machine has been tweaked a bit and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander is now the man to rack up takedowns.
That didn’t quite happen Sunday, even though Chicago ran 20 times for 122 yards and Jordan Howard hit the century mark on 15 attempts. Alexander finished third on the team with only five tackles (four solo and one assisted).
The high-motor, second-year linebacker did recover a fumble caused by defensive end Noah Spence’s strip-sack of Cutler in the second quarter, but the Bucs need him to be a much more disruptive force.
WR CECIL SHORTS III
Well, Shorts caught more than one pass in a game for the first time as a Buccaneer. That’s a plus, but the total was only two.
Shorts continues to underwhelm, despite catching a 22-yard pass Sunday against Chicago and finishing with 38 yards. He was targeted five times and only caught two passes, meaning he now has four catches on 15 targets as a Buc. That’s a catch rate of 26.7 percent. Terrible.
Included in Shorts’ day was his involvement in Winston’s lone interception. To Shorts’ credit, Winston threw behind him. Not uncatchable, but behind him. Shorts did not catch the pass, tipping it back to Bears defensive back Harold Jones-Quartey.