Three in a Row? Yes! Bucs Upset Lions

Wouldn’t you know – it’s a winning streak.

After beating two teams with sub-.500 records, the Buccaneers went to Detroit on Sunday and knocked off the first-place Lions, 24-21. The Bucs forced five turnovers and blocked a punt. They didn’t have Darrelle Revis in the second half due to injury, and still hung on to win a game they probably would’ve lost earlier in the year.

Mike Glennon was solid once again: 247 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. One of those scores was a beautiful deep ball to Tiquan Underwood. Mr. Glennon will be a strong rookie-of-the-year candidate if he keeps this up.

But when you look back at this game, the 5-0 turnover ratio is what stands out. The Bucs picked off Matthew Stafford four times. One of them was returned for a touchdown by Leonard Johnson. It’s the second week in a row the Bucs have had a pick-six. Then there was Keith Tandy’s interception down by the goal line. And in the final minute, Calvin Johnson appeared to make a catch inside the 10-yard line, but Kelcie McCray knocked it out, and the ball popped right into Jonathan Banks’ hands.

Of course, the Bucs tried hard to give the Lions more lives in the fourth quarter. After Tampa Bay blocked a punt and got the ball deep in Detroit territory, Ryan Lindell missed a makeable field goal. After the Bucs picked off Stafford again, Lindell missed another FG.

Man, I miss Connor Barth. He was money.

The Bucs still commit too many penalties; they had nine of them in this game. Hey Greg Schiano: that’s coaching!

But they were able to win regardless.

Now it’s on to Charlotte to face the red-hot Panthers next Sunday.

Photo Courtesy: AP

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Inept Bucs Fall To 0-3 With Loss To Patriots

Another week, another awful performance by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense.

The Bucs could only muster three points on Sunday afternoon against the Patriots in a 23-3 loss. The Bucs are now 0-3, and in sole possession of last place in the NFC South.

For the third game in a row, Josh Freeman failed to complete 50% of his passes. He finished 19-41 for 236 yards, and an interception to former Buccaneer Aqib Talib late in the first half that led to a Patriots’ field goal. He also missed an open Tim Wright in the end zone. Vincent Jackson dropped two passes, including one that would’ve set up the Bucs inside the Pats’ 5. The Bucs turned it over on downs twice. Ryan Lindell missed another field goal. It was a day of missed opportunities, especially in the first half.

And eventually, you knew that Tom Brady would start catching on with his young receivers. Kenbrell Thompkins caught both of Brady’s touchdown passes in the second quarter as the Pats built a 17-3 halftime lead. The way the Bucs offense has been playing this year, there wasn’t much hope of a comeback.

Doug Martin rushed for a hard-fought 88 yards.

After committing double-digit penalties in each of the first two games, the Bucs only had four penalties against New England.

So now, the Bucs face more of the same questions. They have a quarterback who can’t complete half of his passes. They’ve only scored 34 points through three games, and one of those touchdowns was Mason Foster’s interception return against the Saints. The defense is much-improved from last year, but they can’t do it all. How much longer will Greg Schiano stick with Freeman? The coach seems adamant that Freeman’s his guy. Some of us would beg to differ.

Next week: The Bucs return home to face the Arizona Cardinals.

Photo Courtesy: Associated Press

Doomed By Penalties, Bucs Blow It Against Jets

That was pathetic. That was disgusting. There are other words to use, but those two will suffice for now.

The Buccaneers lost to the Jets in the season opener Sunday afternoon at the Meadowlands, 18-17. The Bucs seemed to have the game wrapped up when Ryan Lindell kicked a 37-yard FG with 34 seconds left. Heck, the ensuing kickoff went for a touchback. But then Jets quarterback Geno Smith hit a long pass play. Then came the stupid play of the game: Lavonte David hit Smith as he was running out of bounds. The personal foul put New York in field goal range, and Nick Folk took care of that with 2 seconds left.

There are many people to point the finger at. Let’s start with the penalties: 13 of them for a whopping 102 yards, including the costly 15-yarder by David at the end. I do question the two personal foul calls on Dashon Goldson. Hey refs: are you not allowed to pop receivers anymore? There was no helmet-to-helmet contact, and that claim of a “defenseless receiver” was garbage.

But I digress. 13 penalties=lack of discipline. Lack of discipline=bad coaching. Greg Schiano deserves the blame for that.

Let’s move on to Josh Freeman. He was so-so. He completed just under half of his passes, he threw an interception right to a Jets’ defender, and he was sacked three times. And what the heck was up with the play-calling communication at the very beginning of the game? Don’t you need to have a backup plan when the device inside the helmet isn’t working? The Bucs burned two timeouts during that debacle, and were flagged for delay of game after one of those stoppages. Yet through it all, Freeman led the Bucs into field goal range in the final minutes, and gave his team a chance to win the game before the last-second meltdown.

Defensively, the Bucs played pretty well – well, aside from the final 34 seconds. They sacked Smith five times and forced two turnovers, two areas that were a concern going into the season. Darrelle Revis had a strong game against his former team. But the meltdown – topped off by the stupid penalty by David – is what we’ll remember more than anything.

Doug Martin couldn’t get much going against a good Jets’ defense, though he did find the end zone following a Jets turnover. Vincent Jackson had a monster game: 7 catches for 154 yards, including a huge play on the Bucs’ final drive. He hasn’t missed a beat from last year. Mike Williams caught a TD pass.

FINAL THOUGHT: it may have been David’s stupid penalty that ultimately cost the Bucs the game. But it was ALL of the penalties that stand out to me at the end of the day. That’s a coaching problem, and it needs to be addressed.

NEXT WEEK: the home opener against the Saints.

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Times