Whether it was the turf field, dome stadium or simply just a better opponent, the Buccaneers defense regressed last Sunday.
After three consecutive games holding teams to under 21 points and 200 yards passing, the unit appeared to be coming together. But Sunday’s contest in Detroit consisted of a step back. Matt Stafford had one of his best performances of the season, going 26-of-34 for 311 yards passing.
And while the Lions’ success through the air is somewhat acceptable, given their high powered-offense and numerous weapons, it was the basic things on defense the Bucs struggled with that was discouraging.
Tackling, for starters.
“We could have tackled a little better,” said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier on Thursday. “I can think of a third-and-3 or four, where we had a chance to make a good open field tackle that would’ve gotten us off the field, and we missed that tackle. We could’ve tackled better. There were some things that we could’ve done better in that ball game for sure.”
Getting off the field on third downs is hard enough for a defense. When you commit self inflicted wounds to ruin a good situation it’s devastating. And just like penalties, a missed tackle is beating yourself.
Another defensive set back was allowing for big plays at critical moments.
After the Buccaneers were able to close out the first half on a Mike Evans’ touchdown to put the game within reach, they quickly lost all momentum on one play.
On the Lion’s first offensive down coming out of the break, Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson for a 53-yard gain to the Bucs’ eight yard line. Although the defense was able to hold them to a field goal, this brought the game back to a two score difference at 20-10.
Then the final dagger occurred midway through the fourth quarter while trailing 27-17. The Bucs’ elected to punt with just under eight minutes left and successfully pinned Detroit at their own 8. But again, on first down, Joique Bell broke off a 57-yard run leading to an easy touchdown to seal their, 34-17, victory.
“The things that stick out are those two big plays they got in the ball game,” Frazier said. “The long run and the long pass coming out of the half. We should not have allowed those to happen with what we were doing.
“But yeah, we definitely could’ve tackled better.”
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]
Above average QB’s will pick the Tampa2 apart with no pass rush. Let me correct that, backup QB’s will pick the Tampa2 apart with no pass rush. If our D don’t get a pass rush it will lead to 2-12.
I think the problem with our defense is they realize no matter what they do, the offense just can’t score enough to win. I mean first play of the game we get a pick to the ten yard line, and 3 plays latter we’re on the 15. The defense isn’t the greatest, but it has to be demoralized knowing the offense can barely put 17 on the board.
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