Each week I’ll look back at and break down the Bucs’ most valuable plays from their past game, in terms of Expected Points Added.
Expected Points Added, or EPA, is a statistic that was created to measure the value of each play during a football game in terms of points. EPA is essentially trying to put a value on how many net points a team can expect to gain based on the result of an individual play, while taking the down-and-distance and the team’s field position into account.
For example, a 5-yard run from the 50-yard line on first-and-10 is weighed differently than a 5-yard run inside the opponents 10-yard line on third-and-2.
The plays shown are measured from the offense’s perspective, so plays made by Tampa Bay’s offense will result in a positive EPA for the Bucs and plays made by Tampa Bay’s defense will result in a negative EPA for their opponents.
Below are the Bucs’ highest-valued plays by Expected Points Added, per rbsdm.com by Ben Baldwin, from their big Week 7 victory over Jon Gruden the Las Vegas Raiders.
Table of Contents
Antoine Winfield Jr., Interception: -5.8 EPA
After the Raiders scored 10 unanswered points and closed the Bucs’ lead to just four, Tampa Bay led an 11-play, 67-yard drive to put them back up by two scores.
With 7:22 remaining in the fourth quarter the Raiders were looking to answer back. On the first play of their ensuing drive from the , Las Vegas came out in a shotgun doubles formation while Tampa Bay’s defense responded with a Cover 2 look, something they used frequently on Sunday, and rotated into quarters coverage on the snap. Antoine Winfield Jr. and Mike Edwards were the Bucs’ two deep safeties on the play.
As the play unfolds, Las Vegas runs a play that doesn’t particularly have any route set to beat the coverage. On the near side of the field Darren Waller runs a flat route right into Lavonte David’s zone while Henry Ruggs’ out route to the sticks is covered closely by Carlton Davis.
From the far side the Raiders attack the middle of the field at two levels, forcing Devin White to stick to his assignment on the curl route from Hunter Renfroe while allowing Nelson Agholor to find space between White and the Bucs’ safeties. The key to this play is Edwards’ play on the ball. With no vertical or post route to keep him home, Edwards reads Carr’s eyes and breaks quickly on Agholor the second White collapses on the curl route, allowing him to break up the pass and set Winfield up for his first career interception.
Tom Brady/Scotty Miller, 33-Yard Touchdown: 4.2 EPA
After building a 14-10 lead in the second half, the Bucs were pinned back at their own 12-yard line with just over two minutes remaining in the first half to drive the length of the field and add to their lead heading into the locker room.
The Raiders run a Cover 3 Cloud look as Tampa Bay runs a divide concept out of a 2×1 formation. With Gronkowski executing the divide on a post route over the middle of the field, pulling the middle field safety, this leaves Scotty Miller essentially in one-on-one coverage against cornerback Nevin Lawson down the far sideline.
Miller does a good job to get behind Lawson but Lawson does a great job of managing the separation from a guy with Miller’s speed. So while Miller ran a nice route to get behind his man, it required an absolutely perfect throw to hit Miller in stride in the corner of the end zone, and Brady delivered with possibly his best pass of the season.
Below is an alternate view of the reception.
Devin White, Sack: -3.7 EPA
With the Raiders trailing by 18 and less than six minutes remaining, Las Vegas faced a fourth-and-1 at their own 31-yard line.
Tampa Bay deployed their base defense against the Raiders’ jumbo set, placing eight defenders along the line of scrimmage. Las Vegas went play action and the Bucs quickly fell into a Cover 3 shell. Carr was given time as Tampa Bay rushed just four but the Bucs’ coverage held up with with no wide receivers on the field.
As the pocket began to collapse Carr rolled out to his right and tried to pick up the first down with his feet but White collapsed from his mid-field coverage and showed unreal closing speed to tackle Carr two yards short of a first down and force the fumble out of bounds for a turnover on downs.
Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski, 28-Yard Reception: 2.7 EPA
Facing a third-and-5 at their own 22-yard line on the Bucs’ second drive, potentially facing their second consecutive three-and-out to start the game, Tampa Bay comes out in a 2×1 formation with Scotty Miller and Chris Godwin stacked on the strong side of the formation.
Defensively the Raiders show a single-high look and feign pressure with two linebackers lined up in a double-A Gap front. On the snap however, Las Vegas actually deploys a split-field defense, with their linebackers and two of their field side defensive backs dropping into zone defense while Gronkowski and Mike Evans are covered in man.
Evans and Miller run a mesh concept, a staple in the air raid offense that uses a simple crossing pattern underneath to try and spread the defense out, while Godwin runs an out route and Gronkowski runs a deep over. The mesh concept, in tandem with Fournette leaking out of the backfield, pulls the linebackers down and it leaves Gronkowski one-on-one in coverage for a gain of 28 yards on the completion, up to the 50-yard line.
While these plays didn’t quite stack up as some of the Bucs’ most valuable plays from Sunday in terms of EPA, these are some other crucial plays from the Bucs’ Week 7 victory over the Raiders.
Mike Edwards, Interception (Nullified): 1.3 EPA
Sometimes the best plays in football are the ones that don’t really happen at all, and this was the case with Edwards’ third interception of the season that never was.
Over halfway through the third quarter, with the Raiders trailing by 14, Las Vegas faced a third-and-7 at their own 43-yard line. The Raiders came out in a 2×1 formation out of 11 personnel and the Bucs once again responded with Cover 2 zone, Edwards and Winfield again playing the half-field safeties.
Las Vegas ran a flat route to the sticks from their field side wide out and a double-move vertical route to the boundary side, with both routes being blanketed by Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean.
In the slot, Agholor ran a post route and Carr fired it over Murphy-Bunting in the free zone but Edwards – who entered the day with two interceptions on just 42 coverage snaps this season – came flying across the formation and cut off the pass for his third interception of the season. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, outside linebacker Shaq Barrett jumped the snap and was flagged for an offside penalty. Las Vegas would convert and ultimately score a touchdown on the drive.
Devin White, Sack: -0.8
In honor of White’s first career Defensive Player of the Week award following his 11-tackle, three-sack performance on Sunday, adding a forced fumble for good measure on his final sack, I had to take another look at White’s second sack of the day.
Leading 14-10 in the second quarter, on second-and-10 from their own 38-yard line, the Raiders went trips left with Waller lined up on the boundary side of the formation, and sent five targets out on the play.
Tampa Bay showed Cover 2 and shifted to Cover 3 post-snap and with solid coverage across the field and just five blockers, the Bucs were able to get pressure with just four. Carr escaped the pocket and White just gave another example of his strength and lightning-fast closing speed when he commits, leaving his mid-field coverage and coming up with the one-armed sack.