Here are some thoughts on the Buccaneers’ 20-14 loss to Miami in the second preseason game.
*THE OFFENSIVE LINE IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS.
The line did play better than it did last week in Jacksonville, but that’s not saying much. Still, Doug Martin had a bit more room to run on this night, and Josh McCown did have considerably more time in the pocket. He hit Vincent Jackson in the back of the end zone for Tampa Bay’s first touchdown of the game. McCown outplayed Mike Glennon.
*IF THE DEFENSIVE LINE STAYS HEALTHY, WE WON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS UNIT AT ALL.
Gerald McCoy looks like a beast out there again this year. His sack of Ryan Tannehill in the second quarter set up the aforementioned touchdown. The first-team defense has not allowed a touchdown through the first two games. Yes, it’s only preseason, but it’s definitely an encouraging sign.
*MIKE EVANS MAKES HIS DEBUT.
We got a glimpse of what the first-round draft pick is capable of doing. After catching a short pass from Glennon, he broke a tackle, raced down the left sideline for a big gain. But he fumbled before crossing the goal line. Evans said after the game he made a rookie mistake. As long he learns from it in time for opening day…
Next week, the Bucs travel to Buffalo to play the Bills. The third preseason game is considered the dress rehearsal – the game when the starters play the longest. So it will be an important game to follow.
Photo Courtesy: Buccaneers.com
Everyone take a deep breath and savor this one for a little while.
The Buccaneers finally had a lead in the fourth quarter and didn’t blow it. They beat a team that, right now, may have even more problems than they do. This was far from perfect, but these days we’ll take a win any way we can get it.
How did the Bucs win a game in which Mike James broke his ankle on the first drive? How did they win a game in which their two touchdowns were scored by Donald Penn and Bobby Rainey? How did they win a game in which they blew another double-digit lead?
I don’t care. The point is – they won.
Maybe we should’ve known it was going to be Tampa Bay’s night when Penn – yes, Penn – caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter, then proceeded to spike the ball over the crossbar. Then there was Lavonte David sacking Ryan Tannehill in the end zone for a safety to put the Bucs up by 12. The defense held the Dolphins to two yards rushing. TWO.
Still, these are the Bucs, and by the end of the third quarter a 15-point lead had turned into a four-point deficit. But Tampa Bay rallied in the fourth quarter with an 80-yard drive, punctuated by Rainey’s long run and short scamper into the end zone. And with the clock winding down, the Bucs sacked Tannehill twice, and Darrelle Revis sealed the deal with an interception downfield. It’s about time they closed out a game.
This was far from perfect. The Bucs had less than 300 yards of total offense. Mike Glennon’s numbers were “meh.” They still had far too many dumb penalties. For much of the night, Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden focused on the bullying scandal within the Dolphins, something I will not get into here. And one win does not change my opinion that Greg Schiano should be fired. But for the first time all season, we the fans finally get to celebrate a victory.
Next weekend, I’ll be at Raymond James Stadium for the game against the Falcons. Next Monday, I’ll be posting my annual (or so I hope) “My Day at Ray-Jay” here on the blog, complete with photos and whatever else I can get my hands on.
Photo Courtesy: AP