Looking back on the Bucs’ loss to the Vikings

by Gary Shelton on September 26, 2017 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Five observations

1. The Bucs' overworked Jameis Winston. I know he's usually the quickest way to the end zone, but Tampa Bay doesn't fare very well when he throws too much. In the games the Bucs have thrown 40 times or more, the Bucs are 0-6.

2. Think of all the bad backs the Bucs have had over the years. Now consider this: In no other game have the Bucs run the ball as few as nine times. Questions?

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3. If there is a redraft, I think the Bucs try a little harder to get a running back. Right?

4. Since there won't be, which position do you think the team addresses in the first round this year? Running back? Defensive end? Cornerback?

5. If I'm the New York Giants, this week's opponent of the Bucs, I'm swinging a trade for Case Keenum. Now.

5 reactions

(From Dirk Koetter's game-after press conference)

On Minnesota being able to throw the ball downfield: 'We got beat in every aspect and one of them was (them) throwing the ball over our heads. We just weren’t tight enough on our coverage and your coverage, your over-the-top coverage, your intermediate coverage and your pass rush all has to work together and we didn’t at all. We didn’t put pressure on him. [Case] Keenum did a good job of getting rid of the ball. Our underneath coverage didn’t get deep enough in their drops and our deep coverage played too loose and let them throw balls not only behind them, but in front of them.”

On playing without Brent Grimes: “Every team has injuries and we are no different. You have different levels of players. You have the best of the best and every player [in] this league is pretty good. When you have weaknesses in certain positions, it’s our job as coaches to try to cover up those weaknesses [and] try to play to our strengths. Minnesota did a good job of attacking us and we have to lick our wounds, learn our lessons and move forward.”

On the decrease in running plays by the Bucs: "I say all of the time that every game takes on its own personality and this game is no different. We did run it six out of the first 13 plays of the game. The key play in the game was five minutes to go in the half – it was 14-3 – we had a wide-open DeSean Jackson that’s going to make it 14-10. Instead it’s intercepted, they go on a 92-yard drive and it’s 21-3. We go in at halftime [and] try to regroup. We come out, we go three and out. They hit a 59-yard touchdown pass. Now it’s 28-3 – hard to run the ball after that. You just don’t have very many opportunities because you don’t have enough possessions.”

On Jameis Winston's three interceptions: “The first one, again, that’s a touchdown. That’s a 14-point swing right there with the way it ended up. That’s a seven-point swing, you know, DeSean (Jackson) smoked that guy and Jameis has got to get it out there for him – plain and simple on that. The second interception, we were driving, we were back within two scores, we were across the 50 on the plus 45 and it was a poor read. We had a good man-zone indicator there. Jameis missed the read, tried to force it in there to DeSean, he had to step up, had a little bit of pressure, tried to force it in there – just not going to work. On the third interception, now we are down 17 points. We probably don’t have enough possessions and Jameis tried to force it into Mike (Evans) – (he’s) just got to check that ball down. I think at one point in the second half, Jameis was something like 18 out of 22. I’m talking in the second half now, two incompletions and two interceptions, so Jameis made some really nice plays, some really nice throws, but just the main thing is as an offense we can’t turn it over. Those kinds of things have a tendency to happen more when you’re playing from behind and you’re playing in a more desperate situation than you would like to be.”

On the Bucs' offensive line: “When you take penalties out of it, we ran 49 plays. They ran 71 or 72 plays. Time of possession was 34 to 22 – something like that. I don’t think our issues yesterday were offensive-line oriented. I thought the offensive line was fine. We all have things we could’ve done better yesterday. Obviously when you get beat like that, you have things you can do better across the board, but I don’t think the offensive line was at the front of the list.”

Game Burns

(The opposite of game balls)

Offense: Jacquizz Rodgers: Rodgers gained only 15 yards on five carries. That isnt' much opportunity, true, but it's also three yards a carry. Put it this way: The Bucs entrusted Rodgers to carry the ball only one time in 27 plays in the second half.

Defense: With Brent Grimes out, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III needed to step up and make a play. He didn't. Usually, he simply caught the receiver after the receiver caught the ball. Hargreaves is still young, but the Bucs need more plays.

Grades

Quarterback: Jameis Winston wasn't good. But Sunday was a day when the Bucs had no running game, no pass rush, no pass coverage and no other choice but to let Winston keep dropping back. No one liked to see Winston with three picks, but that's the only (slim) chance Tampa Bay had. Winston did have 328 yards passing and two touchdowns. It just wasn't enough. Grade: C.

Offensive line: This was a disappointing day for a line the Bucs' like. But Winston was sacked twice, and the team averaged less than three yards a carry. With the defense depleted, the Bucs were going to need a big day offensively to stay close. They didn't get it. Grade: D.

Receivers: So far, the Bucs' receivers don't look nearly as imposing as we imagined, do they? So far, you can see the talent, but the chemistry isn't right. Not yet, anyway. Grade: C.

Defensive line: The lack of a pass rush was painfully obvious. There was nothing the Bucs could do to get Keenum out of his rhythm. Grade: F.

Linebackers: The Bucs sure miss Kwon Alexander when he isn't on the field. Late in the game, they missed Lavonte David, too. Grade: D.

Secondary: Doesn't someone have to make a play every now and then? Grade: F.

Coaching: No, it's not Dirk Koetter's fault that he was left with so many backups. But Koetter is right. It is a league of absorbing losses. The Bucs didn't. Grade: D.

Special teams: Nothing terrible, nothing great. Grade: B.

5 embarrassing losses to a backup

(Sunday wasn't the first time)

1. Case Keenum, Minnesota (9-24-17): Keenum beat the Bucs for the third straight time as he came off the bench. This time, he hit 25 of his 33 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-17 victory.

2, Derek Anderson, Carolina (10-14-14): With starter Cam Newton out, Anderson led the Panthers to a 19-17 victory over the Bucs. Anderson hit 25 of 40 passes for 277 yards.

3. Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis (11-29-15): At 40, Hasselbeck's best days were far behind him. But he had one more great game in him. He hit 26 of 42 passes for 315 yards, and the Colts ended a two-game winning streak for the Bucs.

4. Quinn Gray, Jacksonville (10-28-07): Jacksonville gave Quinn the first start of his careeer against the Bucs, and Gray led his team to a 24-23 win. Gray threw for only 100 yards, but he beat the Bucs.

5. Vinny Testaverde, New York Jets (10-9-05): Long before, Testaverde had played for the Bucs. But he hung around the NFL into his 40s, and at 42, he came off the bench to lead a 14-12 victory over the Bucs. He threw for 169 yards.

5 Best Giants

1. Lawrence Taylor

2. Frank Gifford

3. Mark Bavaro

4. Phil Simms

5. Michael Strahan

Best game

Bucs vs. Giants: (2007 wild-card playoff): The Bucs were home against the Giants, and as such, were favored. And when Ernest Graham scored, the Bucs seemed to be on their way. But the Giants scored 24 points, and went on to upset New England in the Super Bowl. For the record, it's the last time the Bucs were in the post-season.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller September 26, 2017 at 7:03 am

I keep coming back to the O line not being good enough. You gave them a D grade and that won’t get it done. Winston continues to miss on the deep ball and makes poor decisions. The Bucs are not going to win the game when he throws that much but the running game is terrible so Winston becomes the best option. Why not use check down passes more and throw to the tight end more often? Watch some game film of the Patriots once in awhile. The Bucs coaches don’t manage the game very well. The pass defense has to get better also. More pressure on the QB would certainly help. On the road, against a good defense the Bucs didn’t measure up. It’s only 1 game so the season is not lost but they better start improving soon.

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Gary Shelton September 26, 2017 at 7:48 am

I wish I could find a word I disagreed with, but I think you nailed it. Offensive line is probably the biggest discrepency on this team between what we see and what the coaches see. Winston has the arm. I don’t know why he isn’t better throwing deep. The problem with checkdown passes is — except for Charles Sims — they don’t really have checkdown receivers, do they? I do think the tight ends should be used more.

How do you feel about short-term improvement? The team is beaten up defensively, out of rhythm offensively and faces the Giants and Patriots in a hurry.

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