Bucs’ regulars play well in loss to Lions

by Gary Shelton on August 25, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Bucs

Fitzpatrick had a ratng of 115.5./CARMEN MANDATO

Fitzpatrick had a ratng of 115.5./CARMEN MANDATO

Saturday, 3 p.m.

So what do you want? Good play? Or good results?

The Tampa Bay Bucs, despite playing their crispest game of the three, lost for the first time in preseason, 33-30, to the Detroit Lions. So if you are bottom-line, results-driven fan, you're probably disappointed.

But if you were watching when the players who will matter were in the game, you're probably pleased. Such is the paradox to the NFL's preseason, where results matter less than performance, where you cannot trust the scoreboard, when all that matters is making the team and getting ready for the real show that is about to come.

The Bucs fell to 2-1 Saturday night when third-team quarterback Jack Rudock hit tight end Marcus Lucas, listed as the last of Detroit's six tight ends, over the Bucs' last line of defense. Put it this way: If Ruduck and Lucas play against the Bucs' defenders who were in the game, catastrophe has struck both teams.

Instead, if you are a Bucs' fan, you probably prefer to think of the first half-and-a-tad, when the Bucs built a 27-6 lead. Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a quarterback rating of 115.5. Backup quarterback Jameis Winston  (he is suspended for the season's first three games) had a rating of 110.4. Third team quarterback Ryan Griffin had a rating of 130.9. Only fourth-teamer Austin Allen (who won't make the team), struggled, hitting one of seven passes for a rating of 0.0.

The Bucs continued to show their preseason promise. In three games, the Bucs have had seven quarterback performances with a higher rating than 100.0, plus James Winston's 99.4 against Miami.

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Humphries had a 109-yard return./CARMEN MANDATO

Humphries had a 109-yard return./CARMEN MANDATO

"They (the offense) has done a good job," Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter said. "Especially in the passing game. We're executing at a pretty high level. Our depth at the skill positions has definitely shown up.

The other Bucs' mainstays seemed to play well, too. Receiver Adam Humphries returned a short field goal try 109 yards for a touchdown. Running back Peyton Barber averaged 6.8 yards per carry. The starting defense gave up two field goals. Shaun Wilson averaged 26.6 yards on five kickoff returns.

In other words, don't let the fact matter that the guys who won't make the Lions team beat the guys who won't

O.J. Howard has been impressive for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

O.J. Howard has been impressive for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

make the Bucs in a game that time will barely remember. Also, it rained (the game was delayed for an hour).

For the most part, it was an encouraging night for the Bucs. That's how it's drawn up. The regulars play for a longer time, so early leads are important.

"You try not to overreact whether it's positive or negative," said Fitzpatrick. "People aren't scheming you, and you aren't scheming them. But it's nice to go out there and complete some passes."

Fitzpatrick said he got what he needed out of preseason, even though it wasn't always pretty. Still, the Bucs have to feel somewhat comfortable that Fitzpatrick won't be the reason for them losing in the first three games.

Perhaps the highlight of the night was Humphries' weaving return of a missed field goal.

"Two years ago against the Panthers, I had an opportunity to bring  it out. I got tackled around the 30 yards line. It was good to get this one in the end zone.

Godwin has a great p;reseason./CARMEN MANDATO

Godwin has a great p;reseason./CARMEN MANDATO

"Everyone was telling me 'come this way, come this way, come this way.' I saw Kwon and Levante worked for me. JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul and Gerald (McCoy), all those guys were working for me. The fan reaction always gives you a heads-up, how you're doing and how close you're getting. I knew as soon as I broke that last wave of guys. I heard the fans get real loud. I looked at the Jumbotron while I was running and knew I was clear."

Said Fitzpatrick: "That was awesome. That was so much fun. As soon as he made the first guy miss, we saw all the space that was there. I thought 'oh my gosh, this could happen.' He did an awesome job with it. He's obviously a pretty explosive guy."

Another receiver, Chris Godwin, gave the Bucs a 13-6 lead with a 10-yard touchdown reception from Jameis Winston.

"It was cool to get out there and score in front of the home crowd," Godwin said. "It was just a face ball. Jameis gave me a great opportunity to go up and make a play and that's what I was able to do."

Winston had another sharp game./CARMEN MANDATO

Winston had another sharp game./CARMEN MANDATO

The checklist?

Quarterbacks: Solid, again. There is a lot of crispness among the top three.

Running backs: Again, Peyton Barber was very good, and again, backup Ronald Jones struggled, carrying six times for only seven yards.

Wide recievers: Fourteen receivers caught passes. A very good night.

Offensive line: The Bucs are hurting on the line, but that line opened holes for Barber and kept their quarterbacks clean.

Defensive line: The line had two of the three team sacks. The pressure still hasn't been what you would want, but Koetter points out that in practice, the line gives the offense fits. Don't give up.

Linebackers; The Bucs will be fine at linebacker. Not a lot of tackles so far, thoiugh.

Secondary: The Bucs are surrendering too many completions. Detroit's second- and third-quarterbacks were 16 of 23, which is far too efficient.

Kicker: Chandler Catanzaro missed an extra point. Feel free to run in circles with your arms akimbo.





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