For the first time since 2007 the Buccaneers will be in the playoffs after a dominant 47-7 win over the Detroit Lions on Saturday afternoon.
Even in an overwhelming win, there were a handful of players who could stand to improve and made this week’s most disappointing list.
K Ryan Succop
Missing one extra point is pretty excusable – but doing it twice, inside a dome, with no wind, on turf and with the ball centered is just mind-boggling. Succop missed a second half field goal as well, totaling three missed kicks on the afternoon. In those type of conditions a veteran like Succop should literally be able to hit those kicks blindfolded. Sure, it didn’t hurt the Buccaneers in the end, but in the playoffs a lot of games are decided by a handful of points, and leaving five on the field could be the difference between a win or being sent home early.
LT Donovan Smith
The Bucs were eager to get Donovan Smith back after he was forced to sit out last week in Atlanta. However, Smith clearly wasn’t at the top of his game after being called for two penalties, including one where he was blocking 10 yards downfield on a pass play. Smith also gave up first half sack of Tom Brady when he was beaten on an inside move by Everson Griffen. In a 40-point win, no one will really care about the three blunders, but mistakes like that can cost teams in the postseason.
KR Kenjon Barner
Well, he didn’t fumble the ball on any of his returns if you are looking for a positive. But Barner made nothing happen at all on his kick return chances, even making some questionable decisions fielding the ball. Barner often looked like he was running in slow motion, particularly on the opening kickoff return where he didn’t even get to the 20-yard line. Barner has shown little ability to make guys miss on punt returns, often getting tackled by the first opponent down the field in coverage.
Bucs Special Teams
Keith Armstrong’s unit saw their kicker miss three kicks and his kick returner look very pedestrian, but what may sting the most was his punt return unit giving up a touchdown on a return to spoil the shut out. The Bucs were humming on offense and defense all afternoon, and it was a shame to see the special teams unit allow a 74-yard score to put the Lions on the scoreboard.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org