Looking back at the Bucs’ loss to the Saints

by Gary Shelton on December 11, 2018 · 4 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Winston scrambles for another gain./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

5 Observations

1. It's cursed. The goalposts have demons. The kicking tee has banshees. Blame it on the ghost of Mirro Roder, but I've seen all the lousy kicking I can stand.

2. While we're at it, why not sprinkle a little holy water around the quarterback room, the offensive guards, the defensive ends and the offensive coordinator rooms.

3. Mike McCarthy, no. Mike Tomlin, yes. If the Steelers do move on, I think that Mike makes sense.

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4. The Flash wore red. Daredevil wore red. The red Power Ranger wore red. Hellboy was red. So why can't I warm up to the Bucs' red threads?  Maybe it's because the whole bunch of them look like the Fighting Elmos.

5. No one likes to see their players quibble. On the other hand, if you were Ryan Jensen, wouldn't you have something to say to Jameis Winston? And if you were Winston, wouldn't Jensen annoy the heck out of you?

Koetter's team keeps committing penalties./CARMEN MANDATO


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

(On the reaction to the defeat): Today’s ‘Blame Monday’ and usually the quarterback and the O-line get the most blame when things don’t go right. We just didn’t play very good on offense, period. We had three explosive plays in the first drive of the game and then we only had three more the whole rest of the game and two in the last series when they were letting us check it down. I think the whole story of this game was missed opportunities on offense, from an offensive perspective. We had I think four times in the game where we had solid field position and were ahead of the chains and didn’t finish it off. We missed two field goals on those. We had I think 70 plays on offense. There were different guys at different times. It wasn’t just the O-line. It wasn’t just the quarterback. A couple time we had wide receivers on perimeter blocks where Peyton [Barber] was going to bounce it and it still ended up being a four or five-yard gain. Those could be eight-to-ten-yard gains. A couple times, Peyton didn’t read the hole very good. We had a couple players blocked and he tried to take it somewhere else."

(On kicker Cairo Santos):  "I didn’t see (a reason for his misses) on tape. I just see how the ref didn’t do this (make the successful field goal motion). You know? He did the other signal. As I said yesterday, just like I’m not putting anymore blame on anybody else, but Cairo’s got to make those kicks. He knows it, I know it. He’s going to make most. For whatever reason, between 40 and 49 yards this year, we can’t make a kick. We’re pretty good under 40 and over 50, but we can’t make a kick between 40 and 49.”

(On center Ryan Jensen): “First of all, when we brought Ryan here, we knew he was the type of player — we wanted Ryan to bring the type of player with Ryan’s aggressiveness here. We talk to Ryan about playing close to the line, but not crossing over the line. He had a personal foul yesterday, he had a holding penalty. There [were] a lot of plays that got called in that game yesterday — some went our way, some didn’t go our way. Officials have a tough job. I personally did not agree with the personal foul penalty.  It was on a downfield screen and Ryan, he’s being aggressive on that play. It wasn’t a cheap shot by any means. He’s running and about the time the whistle blows — on the film you can’t see when the whistle blows — he hits the guy and the guy kind of turns back into him and Ryan’s trying to jump over him. We don’t want Ryan to have penalties. By his own admission, he does cross over the line sometimes. He also had a holding penalty and on that particular one, it wasn’t the most blatant holding penalty — his hand kind of got caught in a guy’s face mask. Do we want to get penalties? No. Do we want him to totally change his style of play? No.”

(On the Saints' blocked punt): “They had a twist on between the two outside guys and they had that exact same twist on more than once and we handled it. On that particular one, the inside guy got stuck and didn’t get off on the twist. We’ve handled that twist before. They had two good rushers there. We thought they had three really good punt rushers. We really keyed in on three of their guys that we thought we really good punt rushers. They had two of them side-by-side on that play and we just didn’t handle the twist. That was the biggest of the key plays of the game.”

(On Adam Humphries not getting a helmet-to-helmet call): “Of course, we’re trying to say why isn’t it called when his helmet comes off like the that? The official on the sideline told me that he hit him with his shoulder and when you really slow it down on film it looks like maybe he did hit him with his shoulder. That’s one of those bang-bang plays. Looks to me like he got it right.”

Taysom Hill gets the blocked punt./TIM WIRT

5 of the Best Takes

"Taysom Hill’s game-changing blocked punt in the third quarter ignited a furious second-half comeback as the Saints rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat the Buccaneers 28-14 and clinch their second consecutive NFC South Division title.

"Hill’s heroics energized his teammates and ignited a 25-0 game-ending run by the Saints.

"After the block, the Saints scored three touchdowns and a field goal on their ensuing four possessions to turn a 14-3 deficit into a 28-14 advantage. Before the block, the Saints mustered a grand total of 3 points on their first seven series of the game."

-- Jeff Duncan, Times-Picayune

Drew didn’t have an absolutely terrible game against the Buccaneers, but for the second week in a row, he just looked “off.”

"The victim of a couple of drops again this week from his receivers, Brees finished 24 of 31 for 201 yards, a TD and an interception. But speaking of that interception, it was an absolutely terrible decision on Brees’s part, that could have been completely avoidable had Drew just decided to take the sack instead.

-- Chris Dunnells, Canal Street Chronicles

"Talk about a game-changer. There have been defining moments in New Orleans Saints games this season, and then, there has been what happened in the third quarter Sunday in Raymond James Stadium against Tampa Bay.

Taysom Hill turned the tide. The Saints trailed 14-3 and, frankly, opened the second half offensively as flat as they had completed the first half.

-- John DeShazier, NewOrleansSaints.com

"The run game was nonexistent for the Saints early in the game, too. Before that blocked punt in the third quarter, the Saints had just 5 yards on 11 carries. Ingram tripled the total on the play after Hill’s punt block with an 11-yard run and, four plays later, the Saints scored their first touchdown of the game.

"Amazingly, the Saints finished with 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns, a leaping sneak by Brees early in the fourth quarter that gave the Saints their first lead and a 17-yarder by Ingram — during which he carried a defender the final 5 yards — that put them ahead by two possessions.

At halftime, Ingram had three carries for 2 yards, and Alvin Kamara had four carries for minus-2 yards. Ingram finished with 13 carries for 52 yards, Kamara had 12 carries for 51 yards. The Saints said it took getting the run game going to change the game."

-- John Katzenstein, Times-Picayune

"The Buccaneer defense couldn’t have played any better in the first half, as they didn’t miss a single tackle. It was a different story in the second half, as they hit double digits in missed tackles. The defense struggled to tackle in the run game against  Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.

"The defensive core of Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David both played well against the Saints, as McCoy was disruptive in the run game while adding in multiple pressures and David was one of the better coverage defenders for Tampa Bay. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, the pieces around them didn’t put forth consistent efforts. Starting cornerbacks Ryan Smith and Brent Grimes both turned in below average games in coverage.

"It was a tough day for the right side of the offensive line for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Demar Dotson and Caleb Benenoch were often matched up against Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins. Both struggled in pass protection and run blocking.

"James Winston’s day was not noteworthy either way really. He had one big time throw over the top to Mike Evans early in the game, and none afterwards. But Winston did not put the ball in danger often either at least keeping the Bucs hanging around for most of the game.

-- Pro Football Focus

Brate celebrates scoring a touchdown for the Bucs./TIM WIRT

Game Balls

Offense: It's hard to find a hero, but if you're looking, try underneath the Saints' cleats. I'll go with Cameron Brate, who caught two touchdown passes,

Defense: Lavonte David had 10 tackles. Heck, David always has 10 tackles.

Special teams. Two missed field goals. A blocked punt. Are you kidding? No one wins the award.

Taylor and Pierre-Paul row the boat to celebrate Taylor's interception./TIM WIRT


Quarterback: Winston finally threw an interception, but it was when the game was over. Still, he wasn't sharp throwing the ball. Grade: D.

Running back: Asked about his running game in the post-game comments, Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter bragged "we had more than 100 yards rushing." Yeah, counting 48 yards when Winston scrambled. From the line of scrimmage, the Bucs stunk. Grade: D.

Receivers: The Bucs didn't look very dangerous, did they? Mike Evans didn't get enough targets, and Chris Godwin got way too many. Grade: C-.

Offensive line: A mess. The Bucs couldn't run, couldn't protect and couldn't stop the penalty flags. Grade: F-minus.

Defensive line: They weren't as dominant as in the previous two weeks, but Carl Nassib had a nice game. Grade: B.

Linebackers: They were the best thing about he Bucs' defense with the tackles by David and the interception by Adarius Taylor. Grade: B.

Defensive backs: They weren't as sharp as they have been, but that was Drew Brees, who threw two incompletions in the second half. Grade: D.

Special teams: Don't ask. Just ... don't ask. Grade: F-minus-minus.

Should the Bucs be targeting Evans more?/TIM WIRT

5 Best Plays

2-6-49 -- Drew Brees was fairly sharp, but his worst throw was a rushed lop into the right flats. Adarius Taylor jumped it for an interception that set up the Bucs' second touchdown.

2-2-25 -- On the Bucs' second play of the game, Winston found Evans down the right sideline for 36 yards, dropping the ball in perfectly. It led to a score, but afterward, Winston and Evans didn't connect.

2-6-30 -- Carl Nassib has been a pleasant surprise with plays like this one, where he sacked Brees and forced a fumble that Jason Pierre-Paul recovered. Sadly, all the Bucs got out of it was a missed field goal.

3-9-11 -- Just when it seemed as if the Bucs' opening drive would end in a field goal, Winston found Cameron Brate in the right corner for a touchdown.

3-9-39 -- Early in the second quarter, Jameis Winston again scrambled for a first down. This time, he ran 17 yards. He's led the team in rushing two straight weeks which, frankly, is kind of embarrassing.

Barber had a tough afternoon./TIM WIRT

5 Worst Plays

4-3-31 -- The Bucs were still in control early in the third period when Tayson Hill blocked a punt by the Bucs, setting up a touchdown and sending the Saints on their way.

2-1-17 -- The Bucs tackled well for a half, but in the second half they flopped all over the field, especially on Mark Ingram's 17-yard touchdown run. Ingram made a jump step in the hole, and no one wanted to tackle him. He dragged Andrew Adams the last five yards.

3-19-34 -- The Bucs were already moving backward when Ryan Jensen picked up a knucklehead unnecessary roughness penalty. Winston and other teammates yelled at Jensen on the sideline, an unsightly event.

2-1-1-- The Bucs, once again, couldn't find air on a short yardage situation where Peyton Barber was stuffed. Fortunately, Winston hit Brate for a touchdown on the next play, but shouldn't a professional offensive line get 12 inches?

4-16-28 -- A play after a sack of Winston, Cairo Santos saw his perfect season end when he binked a kick off the right upright. Against the Saints, you have to score when you can.

Jacquizz Rodgers had a good game receiving./TIM WIRT

Unsung Heroes

1. Jacquizz Rodgers has become the Bucs go-to guy out of the backfield. Sunday, he caught four balls, which tied for the team lead, for 38 yards.

2. Adarius Taylor had six tackles and an interception.

3. Vita Vea had four tackles on the day. He had eight coming into the game.

4. Jordan Whitehead is quietly becoming a hitter at safety. He had three tackles.

5.Jason Pierre-Paul didn't have a sack, but he did have eight tackles. He doesn't just play the pass.

Rodgers is brought down after a short gain./TIM WIRT

5 Seats Hotter Than Koetter's

1. Todd Bowles, Jets

2. Matt Patricia, Lions

3. Vance Johnson, Broncos

4. Jay Gruden, Washington

5. Ron Rivera, Carolina

Winston wasn't as sharp as he had been./TIM WIRT

Most Bucs TD passes

1. Jameis Winston, 2014-Pres. 83

2. Josh Freeman, 2009-13 80

3. Vinny Testaverde, 1987-92 77

4. Doug Williams, 1978-82 73

5. Trent Dilfer, 1994-99 70

Brees tries to ignore Gerald McCoy./TIM WIRT

Opposing QB Ratings (Best)

1. Eli Manning, NY Giants           155.8

2. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago         154.6

3. Cam Newton, Carolina            133.2

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans       129.5

5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta                   125.5

McCoy and the defense were good for a half./TIM WIRT

Opposing QB Ratings (Worst)

1. Cam Newton, Panthers 66.2

2. Nick Mullens, 49ers 89.6

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans. 90.9

4. Nick Foles, Eagles 98.8

5. Alex Smith, Redskins 100.5

Grimes makes a tackle for Tampa Bay./TIM WIRT

Fewest Incompletions

1. Eli Manning, Giants         1

2. Cam Newton, Carolina      6

3. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago  7

Drew Brees, New Orleans 7

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans, 8

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh 8

Alex Smith, Washington 8

Lavonte David tries to stop Alvin Kamara./TIM WIRT

Most Incompletions

1. Mullens, 49ers 14

2. Newton, Panthers 13

Foles, Eagles 13

Dalton, Bengals 13

5. Mayfield, Browns 11

Ronald Jones has had a forgettable season./TIM WIRT

Running Back Draft

2.  Saquon Barkley, Giants      209    1124       5.4

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks       73    396       5.1

31. Sony Michel, Patriots        164    706       4.3

35. Nick Chubb, Browns           144    760       5.3

38. Ronald Jones, Bucs           23     44     1.9

43. Kerryon Johnson, Lions.      118       641     5.4

Vita Vea had four tackles Sunday./TIM WIRT

Defensive Tackle Draft

12. Vita Vea, Tampa Bay                    12            2

13. Da'Ron Payne, Washington       45            5

29. Taven Bryan, Jacksonville.       16        0

57. P.J. Hall, Oakland                      16        0

69. B.J. Hill, Giants                          41          5

Winston winces as he goes down hard./TIM WIRT

Bucs' Mock Draft

NJ.com                                         8. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Walterfootball.com                 12. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

CBSsports.com                         12. DeAndre Baker, CB,  Georgia

Bleacher Report                        9. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

Draftwire.com                             8. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Ryan Smith crushes Ingram./TIM WIRT

Power Rankings

Sporting News.                24

Fansided                            23

Bleacher Report               25

Massey                              24

Oddshark                         22

Peyton Barber is 31st in the NFL./TIM WIRT

Random Stats

Passing Touchdowns              25. Winston            15

Interceptions Thrown              4. Fitzpatrick        12

..                           ..                          Winston             12

Rushing Yards Per Game        31. Barber                52.1

Receiving Yards Per Game        7. Mike Evans       92.8

Receiving 1st Downs                   8. Mike Evans        55

Pierre-Paul gets the crowd going./TIM WIRT

More Random Stats

Sacks                      8. Jason Pierre-Paul 11.5

Tackles                  23. Lavonte David 94

Interceptions         12. Andrew Adams 3

Net Punting           30. Bryan Anger 38.5

Penalties               10. Ryan Jensen 9-100

The Bucs react to a miss by Santos./TIM WIRT

5 Closing Thoughts

1. If the Saints hadn't declined two 10-yard penalties, the Bucs would have had in excess of 100 yards. Is that discipline? Sure it is. But bad players commit penalties. They hold because they're beaten. They interfere with receivers because their beaten. Either way, the Bucs' can't afford to give up a football field on Sunday.

2. If they had bowl games for NFL teams, I think the Bucs would be in the Gasparilla.

3. Going into next year's draft, the Bucs need to heal a secondary, bolster an offensive line, come up with a running back and unearth a kicker. Then again, can't you say that every season?

4. If you're counting, the Bucs have had 11 winning seasons in their 43-year history, including a 5-3 and five 9-7s. They have had 22 seasons of five wins or fewer.

5. Has the Bucs offense slowed down since the team started trying to protect Winston from his interceptions? Just a thought.

Winston smiles during the first half./TIM WIRT

Looking Ahead

5 Best Ravens

1. Ray Lewis

2. Jonathan Ogden

3. Ed Reed

4. Jamal Lewis

5. Terrell Suggs

Donovan Smith has struggled in pass protection./TIM WIRT

Favorite Ravens

1. Trent Dilfer

2. Ed Reed

3. Anquan Boldin

4. Shannon Sharpe

5. Tony Siragusa

Chris Godwin was targeted 10 times, but had just one catch./TIM WIRT

Famous Fans

1. Michael Phelps

2. Ed Norton

3. Stacy Keibler

4. Carmello Anthony

5. Josh Charles

Ryan Smith was held as he tries to make a tackle./TIM WIRT

Best Game

Tampa Bay still didn't know quite what to think of Jon Gruden in September of 2002. A lot of people were still loyal to Tony Dungy, and Gruden had lost the first game of his tenure.

But in a Super Bowl season, Gruden led the Bucs to a bold first step with a 25 -0 win over the Ravens.

The Bucs' offense didn't score a touchdown all day, but Derrick Brooks had a 97-yard interception return for a score, and Karl Williams brought a punt back 56 yards.

And the Bucs were off and running.

Cameron Jordan takes down Winston./TIM WIRT

5 NFL Predictions

Baltimore 27, Tampa Bay 14

Atlanta 31, Arizona 17

Chicago 23, Green Bay 20

L.A. Rams 28, Philadelphia 23

New Orleans 33, Carolina 27


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