Looking back on the Bucs’ loss to the Packers

by Gary Shelton on December 5, 2017 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Winston  must learn to secure the ball./JEFFREY S. KING

Winston must learn to secure the ball./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Observations

There aren't many places in the NFL where football matters more than it does  at Lambeau Field, which was always among my favorite sites. Maybe Soldier Field. Maybe Arrowhead. But Lambeau comes with its own feel, with its own smell (Bratwurst on the grill) and with its own weather. But, um, isn't the quarterbacking supposed to be a little better?

The Bucs passed well enough to win Sunday. They blocked well enough. They ran well enough. What they didn't do was receive. The wideouts are supposed to be the backbone of this team. They weren't.

Bad teams grab. Bad teams hold. I kept thinking about that when the Bucs kept drawing penalty flags. Penalties aren't supposed to be even.

I sure hope the Bucs can get better so Greg Jennings stops making trips to my TV.

More Peyton Barber, please.

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Dirk Koetter needs his team to score more./CARMEN MANDATO

Dirk Koetter needs his team to score more./CARMEN MANDATO


(On the big day by Peyton Barber): "We did a pretty good job run blocking – not perfect but we did a pretty good job of run blocking. We left some out there. The best thing Peyton did is he made yards after contact and broke some tackles. When Peyton has gone in there on a limited basis, he has done okay. That, coupled with Doug [Martin] being out, led to him getting more. We’ve seen it many times – a running back gets into a little bit of a groove and it’s one of those days where he is making yards [so] as long as he can do it efficiently you keep feeding him.”

(On the second quarter dooming the Bucs): “When you look at the whole game, it really comes down to that stretch in the second quarter where in back-to-back possessions we get the punt blocked (and) it gives them a short field of 45 yards. Now, we could stop them, but we didn’t. And remember now, we were in field-goal range. We were on the 30-yard line, so that – depending on your math – could be a 10-point difference. Excuse me, I’m getting ahead of myself. We get the punt blocked, short field, they score seven points. Then on the next drive we get the sack-fumble [and] we are in field-goal range, so that is three we might have had [and] seven they got. That’s that group. Then both field goals – the one we answered that – that’s two bad things to happen to you. We answered. We had a nice drive right before half. (We) had a good opportunity to get a touchdown right before half (and we) didn’t. (We) had to kick a field goal. There is another four points. Then at the end of the game – before the touchdown drive – the drive before that we had to settle for a field goal. Again (we had) a couple good opportunities. Those two back-to-back series in the third quarter and our defense had very little to do with that. That’s how you can have all those numbers – time of possession, first downs, third downs – you can have a lot of numbers. It shouldn’t have added up to 21 points. That’s a game where you need to be scoring in the 30s and then it’s not an issue at the end.”

(On the defense not playing well late despite playing only 10 plays in the third quarter): "You want your defense to stop them no matter how many plays they have to play, whether they play 10 or 50. That’s what they get paid to do. On the day, our defense played good pass defense, but not good enough stopping the run. At the end of the game, we had prepared for zone read [but] they hadn’t shown it most of the game. They did a good job setting it up and then at the end of the game we were committed to stopping the halfback and the quarterback pulled it and we had some breakdowns. There were at least three times where he pulled it out and we let him out. I think that’s probably what (Brett) Hundley does best.”

(On what he thought of the officiating): “If I could answer what I really think, would you pay the fine (laughs)? If they call them, they are penalties whether I think they are or not. We turn plays in, they give us an answer back and then I can’t tell you guys what the answer was. Shoot, I could never be an official. The real time that they have to call that stuff in is impossible with the way these guys are. I think going in to last week, we were eighth or ninth in the league in penalties. After this game, we are thirteenth. We are back kind of in the middle. We definitely had some penalties that hurt us. I did not agree with every call, but I’m never going to agree with every call.”

(On the play of Winston): “Like we said last night, he was under more pressure than normal. (He) did a lot of good things and (had) some plays you want to have back. The drive that you are referring to when he crossed the line of scrimmage – that was one of the craziest drives ever. You get it on the three, they jump offsides (and) it’s first-and-goal on the one. The running back falls down, we fumble (and Jameis recovers. Then he scrambles on second down, throws it and we get another penalty and we end up somehow scoring on third-and-11 on a really nice throw and catch. The sack-fumble was an example of Jameis – he’s got to just eat it. And he did eat it a couple times yesterday and that’s where he’s just got to get better at (knowing) when the play is not there, you’ve got to protect the ball first and go down. It’s not his fault, but that hurt us. That was a 70-yard and seven-point turnaround. Jameis did a lot of good things in the game. He had a 112 passer rating, didn’t throw any interceptions, threw two touchdowns, did a good job on third down (and) made some nice scramble plays.”

 5 of the Best Takes

"Stopping the run? Awful. Defending the pass? The rush wasn’t anywhere close to being seven-sacks good and the coverage was spotty, as usual. Throwing the ball? Shades of the mid-1980s with Randy Wright and Jim Zorn at the controls. Only one part of the Green Bay Packers’ game was legitimate Sunday at Lambeau Field. That was their rushing attack, and it enabled them to slide past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 26-20, in overtime. Jamaal Williams was real. Ask Tampa Bay’s defensive backs and linebackers as they climb out of the rack Monday feeling as if they had been in a Pier Six brawl after going 64 minutes with the brutish rookie from Brigham Young."

-- Bob McGinn, BobMcGinnfootball.com

"McCarthy and his people know that better than anyone else. What they do about it over the final quarter of the season will determine their fate. The coach, now 4-15-1 without his starting quarterback due to injury, won because one of the seven sacks forced a fumble by the erratic Jameis Winston that was returned 64 yards for a touchdown by defensive end Dean Lowry. That was Green Bay’s longest fumble return for a TD in 19 years."

-- McGinn

When they came in for work this week, Green Bay Packers cornerbacks Davon House and Damarious Randall had a request of defensive coordinator Dom Capers. They wanted to take on Tampa Bay’s top two receivers on their own. “Me and ‘D’ had a conversation and we felt it was best that ‘D’ follow DeSean (Jackson) and I follow Mike (Evans),” House said. “I think every week, we kind of fight for, ‘can we follow?’ And most of the weeks, it’s ‘Nah, you’ll play each side because we feel like you’re both good corners.’

-- Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The Green Bay Packers aren’t yet well. But they are very much alive.Their find-a-way overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, while hardly a work of art, keeps them in the thick of the playoff race with Aaron Rodgers’ return from a broken collarbone possibly only one more game away.

-- Pete Dougherty, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"He did not expect to be part of the Packers' first overtime drive. No need after fellow rookie Jamaal Williams spent four quarters taking names and leaving dents in the Buccaneers' defense. Williams’ hard, downhill running style overwhelmed the Bucs. He finished with 113 yards on 21 carries. Jones waited for his turn. It was more likely, he thought, to come next week in Cleveland, but Williams was gassed. He’d just tight-roped the right sideline for a 12-yard catch, pushing the Packers into the red zone. It was the second straight play Williams touched the football. Understandably, the Packers' workhorse needed a break. His wait over, Jones followed left guard Lane Taylor into the right B gap. There was no lane. Instinctively, after four quarters of Williams’ between-the-tackles pounding, the Bucs flooded the box. Jones figured it was a numbers game. With too many defenders filling the interior, he reasoned, there would be room to run outside. He was correct.

-- Ryan Wood, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


Barber had the best day of the year running for Bucs./jEFFREY S. KING

Barber had the Bucs' first 100-yard rushing day./CARMEN MANDATO

 Game Burns

Offense: Before Sunday, Peyton Barber seemed to be the forgotten man. On a team that didn't run much, he didn't play much. But with starter Doug Martin out with a concussion, Barber was excellent. He had 102 yards. Don't look now, but he might take over as starter.

Defense: You don't have to do a lot to join the leaders of the Bucs' pass rush. Will Clarke had two sacks against Green Bay, which is enough for a minor salute.

Special teams: Patrick Murray keeps kicking straight. For a Bucs' kicker, that's a start.

 5 Now & Laters

Vs. Bucs                           Player                                               Next Week

12-253                         Julio Jones, Atlanta                                2-24

26-134                        Adrian Peterson, Arizona                      11-21

25-33 391   142.1      Case Keenum, Minnesota         16-30    219      76.0

7-180                          Kenny Stills, Miami                                 3-47

10-138                       Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona                       3-29

Lovie Smith was among worst Bucs' coaches./JEFFREY S. KING

Lovie Smith was among the worst Bucs' coaches./JEFFREY S. KING

 5 Losingest Bucs Coaches

(Through 28 games)

1. John McKay              2-26

2.Leeman Bennett       4-24

3. Richard Williams    4-15

4. Lovie Smith             8-20

4, Sam Wyche             8-20

Can Koetter hold on with the Bucs?/JEFFREY S. KING

Will players continue to play hard for Koetter?JEFFREY S. KING

 5 Winningest Bucs coaches

(Through 28 Games)

1. Jon Gruden           17-11

2. Tony Dungy         14-14

3. Dirk Koetter        13-15

4. Greg Schiano      10-18

4. Raheem Morris  10-18

Carr cost the Bucs a playoff berth in overtime./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Carr's overtime TD cost the Bucs a playoff berth./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

 5 Tough Overtime Losses

1.Indianapolis, 2003 -- The Bucs were coming off of their Super Bowl when former coach Tony Dungy came to town. Tampa Bay led 35-14 after Ronde Barber's 29-yard interception return, but the Colts came storming back and won in overtime, 38-35. Perhaps the team's most frustrating non-playoff loss ever.

2. Atlanta, 2008 -- At one point, the Bucs were 9-3 and headed for the playoffs. But Monte Kiffin quit, and the team lost its last four. Jon Gruden was fired. The last chance the Bucs had of winning a game  was in Atlanta, in a 13-10 overtime loss. Brian Griese was the surprise starter at quarterback.

3. Oakland, 2016 -- The Bucs would have made it into the playoffs if they won this one a year ago. They didn't. The Bucs lost a 24-17 in overtime, then saw Derek Carr hit a 41-yard touchdown pass.

4. Detroit, 1983 -- Some seasons seem snakebit. The '83 Bucs lost three games in overtime, the last of them a 13-7 defeat to Detroit.

5. L.A. Rams, 1986 -- How about two overtime losses in eight days? The Bucs lost to Atlanta in extra time, and they dropped a 26-20 game to the Rams. Eric Dickerson ended it on a 42-yard run.

Evans is  having a rough season./CARMEN MANDATO

Evans is having a rough season./CARMEN MANDATO

 Comparing Mike Evans

2016                                                             2017

11                             Games                            11

132                          Targets                          102

73                           Catches                            53

1020                           Yards                          756

10                             TDs                                  4

Green Bay's DBS wanted Jackson, Evans./CARMEN MANDATO

Green Bay's DBs wanted Jackson, Evans./CARMEN MANDATO


Comparing DeSean Jackson

(Through 12 Games)

78            Targets              82

45            Catches              43

616          Yards               746

13.7     Ave. Per Catch    17.8

3                   Tds                    4

Godwin signals for the first down after catch./CARMEN MANDATO

Godwin has played well off the bench./CARMEN MANDATO


Quarterback: Jameis Winston was very good throwing the ball. But he wasn't so good at not turning it over. He now has 50 turnovers in 41 games. And that has to affect your marks. Grade: B-.

Running back: Peyton Barber more than doubled his season output against the Packers and became the first Bucs' back with more than 100 yards. And he did it behind a makeshift line. Grade: A-.

Wide receivers: The Packers' secondary did a good job controlling the damage of the Bucs' outside receivers. Grade: C.

Offensive line: The line deserves credit after being thrown together at the last moment. Still, seven sacks is a lot too many. Grade: C+

Defensive line: The defensive line vanished in the overtime. A magician waved his want, and poof. They were gone. Grade. F

Linebackers: Too many missed tackles. Grade: C

Secondary: They held Green Bay to 84 passing yards. Not bad, but there could have been more run support. Grade: B-.

Special teams: Not a great day. Too many yards on kick returns and a blocked punt. Grade: D.

Coaching: They're still playing hard for Dirk Koetter, which is something. Still, the season looks like a dark tunnel. Grade: C-

NFL Bottom 5

1. Cleveland                          0-12

2. N.Y. Giants                      2-10

3. S.F. 49ers                         2-10

4. Chicago Bears                 3-9

5. (tie) Indianaplis Colts   3-9

5. (tie) Denver Broncos    3-9

Howard Has Been Solid at Tight End./CARMEN MANDATO

Howard has been solid at tight end./CARMEN MANDATO

 Top Bucs' Rookies

1. O.J. Howard, TE ... Howard has 21 catches for 348 yards.

2. Justin Evans, S  ...  Evans has seven starts. He has three interceptions.

3. Kendell Beckwith, LB...Beckwith has nine starts and has played well.

4. Chris Godwin, WR ....Godwin has 18 catches for 218 yards.

5. Antony Auclair, TE ... Auclair caught his first pass of the season Sunday.

Justin Evans is third on teh team in tackles./CARMEN MANDATO

Justin Evans is third on the team in tackles./CARMEN MANDATO

5 Tackle Leaders

Players                      NFL Rank                Tackles

1. Lavonte David         36                              71

2. Justin Evans            81 (tie)                     58

3, Kendell Beckwith   85 (tie)                     57

4. Kwon Alandr          108 (tie)                   53

5. Chris Conte             113 (tie)                    52

5 Mock Drafts

Fansided:                   10      Quinton Nelson, G             Notre Dame

Bleacher Report         8      Arden Key, DE                     LSU

Walterfootball.com  10     Derwin James, S                  FSU

CBSsports.com          10    Arden Key, DE                      LSU

Draftwire                      9     Clelin Ferrell, DE                Clemson

5 Questions for Santa

1. Will the Bucs win again in 2017?

2. Did someone say that Dirk Koetter should be retained. Or did they say "retrained?"

3. What does Josh Freeman think when he sees Winston play quarterback?

4. What does Brett Favre think when he sees Brett Hundley play quarterback?

5. Should Green Bay have finally given Evan Smith a game ball?

Gerald McCoy leads the Bus with five sacks./STEVEN MUNCIE

Gerald McCoy leads the Bus with five sacks./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 Sack Leaders

Gerald  McCoy              5      43 (tie)

Clinton McDonald       3      84 (tie)

Will Clarke                     3     84 (tie)

Robert Ayers                  2    122 (tie)

Adarius Glanton            1   241  (tie)

5 Random Stats

Total Defense                          31

Third down percentage        32

Sacks                                        32

Pass Defense                           31

Rushing Offense                     28

Winston had another comeback slip away./STEVEN MUNCIE

Winston had another comeback slip away./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 Crippling Winston Turnovers

Sept. 13, 2015 -- Winston's first pass in the NFL was picked off by Tennesssee's Coty Sensabaugh and returned 29 yards for a score.

Oct. 4, 2015 -- Winston threw for 287 yards, but one of his passes was picked off by Carolina's Josh Norman and returned 46 yards to the end zone in a 37-23 loss.

Sept. 19, 2015 -- Playing against Arizona, Winston threw a pick-six to Marquis Cooper, who returned it 60 yards for the score.

Sept 25, 2016 -- Winston lost the ball on a strip-sack by Robert Quinn. Ethan Westbrooks returned it 77 yards for a score in a Rams' 37-32 win.

Dec. 3, 2017 -- Dean Lowery grabbed a fumble by Winston out of mid-air and returend it 62 yards for the score.

Previous 4-8 Starts

1984                         6-10

1987                         4-11

1988                         6-10

1990                         6-10

1992                          5-11

1996                         6-10

2011                         4-12

Comparing Dry Spells

1983-1995                                                                        2003-Present

4.5                                   Average Wins                            6.3

Vinny Testaverde               Typical Quarterback         Josh Freeman

Booker Reese                         Bust Defender                 Regan Upshaw

Leeman Bennett                  Worst Coach                      Lovie Smith

0                                       Playoff Losses                           2

Looking Ahead

Best Lions

Barry Sanders

Calvin Johnson

Joe Schmidt

Matt Stafford

Jack Christiansen

Favorite Lions

Alex Karras

Charlie Sanders

Lem Barney

George Plimpton


5 Great Buc Performances vs. Lions

1. Jack Thompson, 1983: Thompson didn't have a lot of great days for the Bucs, but he had one against Detroit. He hit 28 of 42 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns. Really. That was Thompson.

2. Warrick Dunn, 1997: Dunn had the first 100-yard game of his career, rushing for 130 yards on 24 carries, a 5.4 average.

3. Reggie Cobb, 1991: Cobb had a career day against Detroit, rushing 21 times for 134 yards and scoring three times in a victory.

4.Doug Williams, 1981: Williams didn't always hit a high percentage of his passes. Against Detroit in this game, he hit only 44.6 percent. But he threw four touchdown passes in the win.

5. James Wilder, 1986: Wilder gained 130 yards on 24 carries in the defeat.

 Best Game

On Dec. 28, 1997, the misery ended. Perhaps now as much as then, you can appreciate the feeling.

For so long, the Bucs had been a miserable franchise hovering around whatever cellar of whatever division in which they played. But now it was over. The Bucs beat the Detroit Lions 20-10, building a 20-0 on their way to victory, and it was time to enjoy the moment.

Barry Sanders, who had 14 100-yard games that season, was held to 65. Lions' starting quarterback Scott Mitchell threw for only 78 yards.

In a way, that night was as good as it got until the Super Bowl five years later. The team had lost through so many coaches and so many draft picks. Then it was over.

Don't you wish it would happen again?

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