Looking back at the Bucs’ loss to Detroit

by Gary Shelton on December 12, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

McCoy may miss time with bicep injury./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

McCoy may miss time with bicep injury./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

5 Observations

It's beginning to look a lot like Gerald McCoy will go his entire career without playing in a post-season game (other than the Pro Bowl). McCoy is 29, an age when a lot of defensive tackles start to lose their burst, and he's reinsured. You'd have to be playing Lotto to expect the Bucs to make the playoffs in the next couple of years. A shame. McCoy's a good guy, and I think fans judge him harshly. How many defensive tackles are lifting their teams to glory?

I'm don't think the next great Bucs' running back is on the roster, but I'm convinced that it's time to give

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Peyton Barber his turn as the Bucs' running back. If you're listing disappointments to the season, Martin has to rank right up there.

Looking back, I can understand a plan where the Bucs thought they would be better at receiver and better at corner. I cannot for the life of me, however, envision any scenario where this was enough of a pass rush. These guys can't get sacks at Publix.

At 83, Bart Starr is the world's oldest living quarterback. Against the Bucs, he'd hit 22 pf 27 for 301 yards. And he's scramble three times for  39 yards.

Okay, when you consider the last 14 years and the 14 before he got here, how good do you think Tony Dungy's turnaround was?

Dirk Koetter will have to upset someone for another win./STEVEN MUNCIE

Dirk Koetter will have to upset someone for another win./STEVEN MUNCIE


(From Dirk Koetter's Day-After Press Conference)

(On if he thinks Jameis Winston has shown improvement in 2017):  “It’s a team game, so as our team has not done as well as we hoped to do this year, there is a lot on the quarterback when things aren’t going well. I think Jameis just continues to grow and get experience as I said last week. Look at the three quarterbacks we have left to face in our own division — the last two MVPs and a Super Bowl winner. Then (we faced) Matthew Stafford last week (and saw) his growth. He has been in the league eight years already and I think he is a similar guy to Jameis – first pick in the draft. It just takes some time. I think Jameis is doing some things very well and he is also making some mistakes, as we all are, that we need to improve on.”

(On the running back combination of Doug Martin and Peyton Barber): “What happened is that Peyton was going to start off the second half. Peyton started off and did somewhat similar to what he did at Green Bay. He was running the ball well. Peyton had 12 carries, had eight efficient runs and one explosive run. Doug had 10 runs, four efficient and, unfortunately, we had a fumble when we were already in field-goal range. There were other breakdowns on that fumble besides that, but ultimately ball possession is the most important thing. Peyton made some mistakes on some other things when he was in there. We will figure out what we think is the best rotation for Atlanta next Monday.”

(On the touchdown scored by reserve lineman Leonard Wester): “You never know if you are going to get to your goal-line offense because your goal-line offense is basically from the two-yard line in. That’s one thing Detroit has had an issue with all year. I think out of like six passes on the goal line going into our game, they’d given up like six touchdowns — all on similar plays to what we ran. When we got the first one (I was) looking at the pictures (and) noticed that they turned Leonard loose on the backside, which sometimes happens when you have a tackle in there and they’re playing a man coverage. We just made the comment at the time that if we happen to get down there again, we will run it again. (I told) Jameis (Winston) look at the front side and then if it’s not there, take a peek back at Leonard and he did.”

(On why the Bucs don't rush more men): When you bring six, you are basically playing zero coverage (with) no help. There (are) other ways you can bring six, peeling in on the back and still keep a safety in the middle of the field. We brought six multiple times yesterday and for the season when we’ve brought six rushers, we’ve had more wins on those plays than losses. Yesterday when we brought six, it wasn’t pretty. On their last touchdown (it was) second-and-eight and we got the roughing the passer penalty, which was a bad play. The very next play we brought six and the safety wasn’t in the right gap, they split us, there was no one home — 18-yard run — longest run of the day. Two other times on third down we brought six and when you bring six, there is nobody to help on crossing routes and they hit one of those for about a 15-yard first down and another one the guy kind of bobbled it and we knocked it out. There is a catch-22 to bringing pressure. I understand the frustration with that. We have frustration with that, as well. We’ve played a lot of different types of coverage. I thought our coverage was okay yesterday. When you get three turnovers in a game, you don’t expect to lose the turnover margin by two.”

(On the ruling that tight end O.J. Howard fumbled):  “First of all, I will just say officiating in general – I could never be an official. Everything happens so fast. I can sit up there and click it back and forth in slow motion and still not understand it. I don’t think that was targeting to begin with. When you look at the tape, he doesn’t hit him in the head and he doesn’t hit him with his head. But, that was the original call. For better or worse, that was the original call. The way they explained it to me was there [were] three variables on that play. One – did he catch it and become a runner? Two – was it an incomplete pass? Three – was there helmet-to-helmet contact? Ultimately, they decided he did catch it, he was a runner [and] then you lose the defenseless-receiver protection, so it could have been first-and-goal on the six. It could have been first-and-10 on the 16 – either one of those would have been good. We didn’t get those two. We got, ‘Okay, it’s their ball.’”

Chris Conte stops Ebron's progression down field./STEVEN MUNCIE

Chris Conte stops Ebron's progression down field./STEVEN MUNCIE

 5 of the Best Takes

"Jim Caldwell and the Lions survived another week. But this dismal effort against one of the NFL’s worst teams tells you all you need to know about the Lions’ chances for making the playoffs and — if a minor miracle happens — how little you could expect them to do in the playoffs. The Lions looked bad against a horrible team. Once again, they couldn’t run the ball, Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions and they made mental mistakes at key moments. But mostly, they looked inept and the offense struggled to take advantage of five takeaways by the defense."

-- Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free-Press

"It was ugly, and it might end up being wholly unimportant depending on what happens with the teams in front of them. But coming off two straight losses, and on a day their head coach Jim Caldwell was thrown into the broiler as news leaked his offseason contract extension was only for one guaranteed year, the Detroit Lions were just happy to come away with a win."No win is an ugly win,” linebacker Tahir Whitehead said. “As long as you come away with a win, that’s all that matters.” While that’s debatable, the Lions earned a needed victory Sunday against the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium."

-- Dave Birkett, Detroit Free-Press

"For now, all we know is it helped set up Matt Prater’s game-winning kick, which kept the Lions mathematically alive in the NFC playoff chase. But it felt more like a stay of execution, didn’t it? After the Lions blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead against the bickering Buccaneers — a 4-9 team that’s headed nowhere — and needed Prater’s 46-yard field goal with 20 seconds left to win a game in which they forced five turnovers. And especially after Sunday morning’s NFL Network report cast more doubt on Caldwell’s future, not that we needed any.

-- John Niyo, Detroit News

"Eric Ebron has heard boos and criticism from Detroit Lions' fans many times since being selected 10th overall by the team in the 2014 NFL draft. But if you thought the much-maligned tight end would gloat about his 10 catches for 94 yards, both career-highs, after Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,  you thought wrong. Asked what kind of emotions he felt after that performance, his best since tallying eight receptions for 93 yards in a Week 16 loss at Dallas last season, Ebron said, "I'm ready to go home to see my girl and be with my son. That's the only emotions I've got. Other than that, I'm just playing football."

Birkett, Free-Press

"You wouldn’t know Matthew Stafford was nursing a hand injury the way he slung it against the Bucs. He completed 81.8 percent of his throws, including his first 12 and final six. The downside to the performance were two throws forced into coverage, intercepted and ended scoring threats."

-- Justin Rogers, Detroit News

Godwin has made an impression as a rookie./CARMEN MANDATO

Godwin has made an impression as a rookie./CARMEN MANDATO

Game Burns

Offense: Chris Godwin has waited his time. Now, it's time to up his snaps in the rotation. Godwin caught five passes for 68 yards. The kid can play.

Defense: He plays behind a woeful line and in front of a dreadful secondary. How, then, can you help but appreciate Lavonte David. David had 14 tackles Sunday, including 12 solos.

Special teams: Bryan Anger averaged 47 yards on punts.

Leonard Wester joined a rare group with touchdowns./STEVEN MUNCIE

Leonard Wester joined a rare group with touchdowns./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 other touchdowns caught by  linemen

(Salute to Leonard Wester)

2000 -- Randall McDaniel, 2 yard pass from Shaun King              Detroit

2003 -- Warren Sapp, 6 yard  pass from Brad Johnson        Atlanta

2003 -- Warren Sapp, 1  yard pass from Johnson                           New Orleans

2010 -- Donald Penn, 1 yard pass from Josh Freeman                   49ers

2013 -- Penn, 1 yard pass from Mike Glennon                                  Dolphins

Lovie Smith didn't have a strong finish./CARMEN MANDATO

Lovie Smith didn't have a strong finish./CARMEN MANDATO

5 Bad Finishes

(Koetter could finish the year with a six-game losing streak)

Coach                                    Year  Fired                                Losing Streak

Raheem Morris                         2011                                              10

Leeman Bennett                        1986                                              7

Lovie Smith                                2015                                             4

Jon Gruden                                2008                                             4

Greg Schiano                              2013                                              3

Cameron Brate tries to push through Quin./STEVEN MUNCIE

Cameron Brate tries to push through Glover Quin./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 Mock Drafts

Bleacher Report              8      DE Bradley Chubb      N.C. State

Walterfootball.com        8       S Derwin James          FSU

SBNation.com                 8        Chubb

Sporting News                9         CB Denzel Ward       Ohio State

CBSsports.com               8        Chubb

William Gholston stops Tom Green of the Lions../STEVEN MUNCIE

William Gholston stops Tom Green of the Lions../STEVEN MUNCIE

NFL Bottom 5

1. Cleveland                 0-13

2. New York Giants   2-11

3. Indianapolis           3-10

4. San Francisco        3-10

5, Tampa Bay             4-9

Kwon Alexander has been good at linebacker./CARMEN MANDATO

Kwon Alexander has been good at linebacker./CARMEN MANDATO

Longest Streaks with No Playoff Wins

(Coming into 2017)

Buffalo                           18

Cleveland                       15

Rams                               13

Jacksonville                  10

Tampa Bay                   10

Despite his fumble, O.J. Simpson has had a nice year./KEFFREY S. KING

Despite his fumble, O.J. Simpson has had a nice year./JEFFREY S. KING


Quarterback: Forget the report of his unhappiness. Winston threw two picks and fumbled once, which offset an otherwise decent performance. It's nice to come back from two scores down. It's nicer to win. Grade: C.

Running back: Behind the same offensive line, against the same opponent, Peyton Barber was the better back. The roles of Barber and Doug Martin should be reversed at once. You can't keep your job with failure. Grade C. (B for Barber, F for Martin).

Wide receiver: I know the Bucs don't want to force the ball to Evans every pass,but every now and again would be nice. He's too good for two catches a game. Grade: D.

Tight end: O.J. Howard is going to be a nice player. Really he is. Grade B.

Offensive line: Just mediocre. Grade C.

Defensive line: Invisible. Can you remember one play? Grade: F.

Linebackers: Lavonte David had 14 tackles and Kwon Alexander had 12. Grade: B.

Defensive backs: A play would be nice. Grade: C.

Special teams: Solid enough, but not outstanding. Grade: C.

Coaching: Still haven't figured out how to win with turnovers, penalties and a lousy pass rush. Grade: D.

Freddie Martino tries to get past Slay Jr./STEVEN MUNCIE

Freddie Martino tries to get past Darius Slay Jr./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 Interesting Coaching Candidates

(Should the need arise)

1. Jon Gruden

2. Josh McDaniels

3. Matt Patricia

4. Jim Harbaugh

5. David Shaw

Jameis Winston still needs to reduce turnovers./STEVEN MUNCIE

Jameis Winston still needs to reduce turnovers./STEVEN MUNCIE

5 Quarterbacks Worse than Winston

1. Josh Freeman

2. Trent Dilfer

3. Vinny Testaverde

4. Jack Thompson

5. Bruce Gradkowski

Do you wonder how many Brees will throw for?/JEFFREY S. KING

Do you wonder how many Brees will throw for?/JEFFREY S. KING

5 Questions

After all of this, is it possible for Jon Gruden to decline induction into the Ring of Honor?

I understand if some have decided Dirk Koetter isn't the guy to turn the Bucs around, but if the team ever does hire the guy, won't he need more than two seasons?

If the Bucs ever induct Richard Wood to the Ring of Honor, and he deserves it, should they just attach a Bat Signal to the stadium?

Talking about the Bucs' defensive line is like the old Woody Allen joke. The food is terrible, and the portions are so small. You could starve to death behind this line.

How excited do you think Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Drew Brees are to see the Bucs again. Trivia contest: Which of the three gets the most yardage?

Bucs' 4-9 Starts

1984     6-10

1987     4-11

1992     5-11

1993      5-11

1994      6-10

2011      4-12

2013      4-12

Evans numbers are much less than a year ago./CARMEN MANDATO

Evans numbers are much less than a year ago./CARMEN MANDATO

Comparing Mike Evans

2016                                          2017

146             Targets                   107

  80               Catches                     55

1100              Yards                     760

 10                   TDs                          4

13.8            Yds per catch        13.8

Doug Martin celebrates after scoring a touchdown./STEVEN MUNCIE

Doug Martin celebrates after scoring a touchdown./STEVEN MUNCIE

Comparing Doug Martin

(His big 2015 season vs. the last two seasons)

2015                                                                           2016-17

   16                                     Games                              17

288                                   Attempts                         273

1,402                                   Yards                            823

   4.9                                   Average                          3.0

    6                                          TDs                               6

Smith leads the Bucs in penalties./JEFFREY S. KING

Smith leads the Bucs in penalties./JEFFREY S. KING

5 Most Penalized Bucs

1. Donovan Smith     T           8        70

2. J.R. Sweezy            G          6        45

3. William Gholston  DE      5         34

4. Demar Dotson       T         5         25

5. Robert McClain     CB      4         48

Wait Til Next Year

(Bucs' 2018 Schedule)

Home                                                          Away

Atlanta                                                       Atlanta

Carolina                                                    Carolina

Cleveland                                                 Baltimore

New Orleans                                           Cincinnati

Philadelphia                                            Dallas

Pittsburgh                                                New Orleans

Washington                                              Giants

San Francisco                                          Chicago

All-Time NFC South Standings

Falcons          139     115        1

Saints             138     115

Panthers        135     117        1

Bucs               106     147

5 Ring of Honor Suggestions

1. Ronde Barber

2. Tony Dungy

3. Batman Wood

4. James Wilder

5. Hardy Nickerson

David led Tampa Bay in tackles again./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

David led Tampa Bay in tackles again./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

5 Highest Bucs' Grades

(Pro Football Focus)

Pos, Player                                 Grade

DE Robert Ayers                       84.4

CB Brent Grines                        82.1

CB Robert McClain                   81.9

RB Peyton Barber                     80.6

LB Lavonte David                     80.0

Looking Ahead

5 Best Falcons

1. Deion Sanders

2. Claude Humphries

3. Tommy Nobis

4. William Andrews

5. Julio Jones

5 Favorite Falcons

1. Steve Bartkowski

2. Greg Brezina

3. Billy "White Shoes" Johnson

4. Matt Ryan

5. Jeff Van Note

5 Bucs Performances by Bucs vs. Falcons

1. Steve DeBerg , 1987                24         34       331       5

2. Vinny Testaverde, 1990         17          33      352       2

3. Doug Williams, 1981              16          25     336        4

4. Bobby Rainey, 2013               30            163                3

5. Craig Erickson, 1993             18           28                    4

 Best Game

The 2005 season was a charmed one for the Bucs, with the ball bouncing just the right way. Tampa Bay improved from 5-11 to 11-5. Still, the game against the Atlanta Falcons was a wild one.

Tampa Bay trailed 24-17 with 4:18 to play after T.J. Duckett scored from the two, but the Bucs rallied for a 27-24 win on a six-yard run by Cadillac Williams and a Matt Bryant field goal.  For the day, Williams had 150 yards rushing to lead the Bucs. Quarterback Chris Simms had 285 yards passing.

The Bucs ended up losing to the Redskins in the post-season.

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