Going into Sunday Bucs vs Falcons Two teams that are trying to find itself. Two teams that are trying to get out of the bottom of the cellar in a division this year that is the worst in Football. Falcons 3-6 and the Bucs sitting at 1-8 after 9 games with both teams still sitting with a chance in this poor division race. Not one team is over .500 this late into the season. Bucs looking for a revenge game to show the fan base that that last game was a game that everyone wants to forget and a win against a division rival will help take that bad taste out of the mouth of the Players, Coaches and the fans. So I ask what are our chances. You have a split fan base. Half still believes in Lovie and the other Half thinks we need to turn the page on this regime already. Then you have the Fans who hate Lovie for benching Glennon in favor of Josh McCown because most think Glennon is the face going forward. Some have completely lost hope and the one who hasn’t just wants the team to win. There's no tanking in their thoughts. So we move forward to Sunday afternoon a cloudy day and a fitting day for the type of season the Bucs are having.
Buccaneers win the toss and elect to receive the ball. Wanting to get off to a hot start, they come out and actually move the ball a little bit going 17 plays for 43 yards but most importantly putting some point on the board and running some time off the clock. Josh McCown looked good starting out moving the pocket. Eluding the rush and making some good throws on third down to keep the chains moving. I thought he did that all day long just keeping it alive with his feet to allow guys to get open and improvise. That was something that I though we had missed with Mike Glennon in the lineup. Running game was absent again and out back really didn't have much to run through. Have not been opening holes all yr. long and with a struggling Falcons defensive line coming in ranked in the bottom of the league. If there was a game where we would be able to move the ball a little bit this should have been the game. Well Bobby Rainey 6 carries 14 yds. Simms in his first game back since having his ankle surgery had 8 carries for 23 yards and Mike James 4 carries for 14yds. Not that productive at all. Josh McCown led all the back in rushing with 43 yards. We couldn't run the ball so that meant pass more. McCown passed for 301yds and 2td while throwing 2ints late in the game. I liked Josh delivery and ball placement all day. The last few weeks we saw a lot of overthrown balls, Underthrown balls from QB Mike Glennon in his starts. This week we saw what our Wrs can do with the ball placed where they can catch it and run after the catch. Both Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson had good days. Evans 7catches for 123yards and a Td has really came along the last few weeks and his campaign for the offensive rookie of the yr. Jackson 8 catches 75 yards didn't have that monster game like we all would expect but made some great catches in traffic as well as Evans. We are finally seeing that height being used to our advantage. RB Charles Simms and Bobby Rainey added some things to the passing game also but in pass protection seems to struggle a bit picking up the blitz and letting guys come free through the line. Austin Saferian-Jenkins had and up and down game again for the second week. Penalties and dropped passes keep hurting him. He's also continuing to commit the holding fouls also. Those have to stop in order for him to be a productive player for us.
Offensive Lineman Patrick Omameh and O’Neal Cousins continue to struggle on the left side of the line. That's the blind side of a QB and if you can't protect that blind side you have problems. Josh helped the lone out by using his mobility to get away from pressure all day long but sometimes your Qb has to make plays also. Deitrct-Smith and Mankins I thought had a good game. Osi Umenyura had a big day registering 1.5 sacks and pressuring the QB all day long. The play calling has been a little suspect also. Why when we are moving the ball and seem to be in a rhythm would you call a wildcat play with a guy who I didn't even know was on the roster? That was drive killers were we ended up with a FG instead of Maybe a TD. Through the day I thought Arroyo did a decent job of calling the plays. This week I have no complaints about the play calling.
On defense I thought that they had did some good things in the running game and also in the passing game. We finally saw some defensive backs make a play on the ball and show some aggressive play. I still think that our LBs are not getting deep enough on out drops because they are biting on the play action pass thus allowing Matt Ryan to complete passes time and time again right over their heads for completions. I thought Banks had another great game playing Julio Jones. He didn't allow the big play and also had a great pass break up on a play downfield where it looked like Jones had got behind him but Ryan threw the ball a little short and Banks was able to recover and make a play on the ball. I have really liked what he has done the last few weeks and it looks like he’s picking up this defense. Lavonte David again is all over the field and had another 10+ tackles day and is second in the league. One guy that I want to talk about is MLB Mason Foster. I don't know if that shoulder is still bothering him or if he's just not fast enough or physical enough to play the run but he's looked really soft in coverage since returning to the lineup and also not getting off his block in the running game. I've been a fan of his but I’m starting to see some things that I don’t like. In the Tampa 2 he cannot cover the middle of the field. His footwork in coverage is bad and he isn’t getting deep enough to make a play on the ball. Some of the time I see him just sitting there flat footed in the middle of the field guarding nobody. In order for this defense to work you have to have a MLB that can cover the deep middle of the field and that will allow the safeties to play their zones covering over the top. Hopefully he can improve.
Gerald McCoy while he didn’t register a sack and only had one tackle I think he and McDonald together has a very good game and got pressure up the middle and moved Matt Ryan off his spot on a few occasions. But once again without any pressure coming off the end the contain is lost and Ryan just rolled out. Jacquies Smith the guy that has flashed the last few weeks wasn't that effective this week but I saw him on a few occasions come off the edge. But I saw some good things from his defense this week. They let some play happened but I also think some of the Officiating that went on had a lot to do with some of the scores that the Falcons had. We get a stop on 3rd down and then all of a sudden a flag comes out for defensive holding away from the play that allowed Atlanta to score late in the game. Same play happens for the Bucs and they pick the flag up no Call. Two horrible obvious calls on the last drive where Lovie had to use his two challenges to overturn the calls. Just horrible the officiating the whole game was. Its wasn’t the reason that Bucs lost but those poor calls had an impact on the game.
Overall I think they showed up and played a better game than they did the last time out against the Falcons and I also saw some improvement from last week to this week in Cleveland also. But we need to do more. We need more plays from our defense and get off the field on 3rd downs. 3rd and long means get off the field. No one should be over 30% against you in 3rd and long situations. Offense we just seed to establish the running game and we'll control the clock more and score more points. Hopefully Simms can add some spark to the offense and the passing game. One more thing Special Teams! I'm sorry but I can point to 3 games this season where special teams can be a main reason we lost the game! We can protect the punter 2 blocks on the yr., 2 blocked FGs and also a punter who averages less than 35 yards per punt. In a tight game Field position is everything and if you are giving that up because your punter is allowing a team to start on the 50 because he can't punt a ball more than 25 yards. You have a problem and something needs to be done. We have one of the highest paid punters in the NFL and he's the worst punter statistically! That has to change. There are guys on the street that can kick better than that. So their 1-8 and going on the road the next two weeks with two games that I can say is winnable just have to execute and avoid the penalties, stop shooting themselves in the foot. In Lovie I Trust!