In many ways, this game was eerily similar to the opener against the Jets.
Once again, the Buccaneers had way too many penalties. Once again, their quarterback had an uninspiring day. And once again, they allowed their opponent to get into field goal range at the end of the game and beat them. The Bucs lost to the Saints on Sunday night, 16-14, in a game that was delayed by more than an hour by the weather.
Let’s jump right to the fourth quarter before we look at some of the numbers. Mason Foster picked off Drew Brees and returned it 85 yards down the right sideline to give the Bucs the lead at 14-13. It stayed that way until the final 90 seconds. The Bucs had 3rd and 6 from the New Orleans’ 32. The Saints were out of timeouts. A first down ends the game. The Bucs decided to hand it off to Doug Martin – who had a huge game – but he failed to pick up the first down this time around. Ryan Lindell missed a 47-yard field goal. The Saints took over with just over a minute to go, but Brees made it look easy, marching his team down the field, inside the Tampa Bay 10. Garrett Hartley made a 27-yarder, and the Bucs were 0-2.
Think Greg Schiano will be questioned about that 3rd down play call? You’d better believe it.
And then there were all those penalties. Last week, they had 13. On Sunday, they had 10 more. They’ve been flagged for over 100 yards in each of the first two games. Many of the penalties have involved communication issues or personal fouls. That’s lack of discipline. And it’s pretty clear the coaching staff hasn’t done enough to address this serious problem.
Then, there’s Josh Freeman. He needed to have a big game, and he didn’t. And when he finally hit Vincent Jackson for what appeared to be a 73-yard touchdown in the third quarter, it was nullified by – you guessed it – a penalty. Two plays later, Freeman threw an interception. He didn’t do nearly enough to silence his critics. He finished just 9-of-22 for 125 yards.
On a positive note, Martin had 29 carries for 144 yards. It was nice to see him get going after a rough opener in the Meadowlands. As for the defense: geez, if they can only get rid of these stupid penalties, they’d be a pretty good unit. They allowed Jimmy Graham to do whatever he pleased in the first half, however. For the second straight week, they held an opponent to less than 20 points.
NEXT WEEK: The Bucs come up north to play the Patriots.
Photo Courtesy: tbo.com