After looking great in the first week of preseason, the Bucs used the second week of preseason to look like the 2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.The Patriots demolished the Bucs' first-stringers on both sides of the ball, ending the first half with a 28-0 lead. With the Pats' second-stringers playing against the Bucs' second-stringers in the second half, the Bucs held up much better as they put up two touchdowns to a lone field goal.
On offense, the Bucs looked sloppy and slow. Ted Larsen had a particularly poor game, while free rushers and other unblocked defenders appeared on every play, pointing to problems with the protection scheme in general. Meanwhile, Josh Freeman got oodles of time on a couple of plays, but failed to make a throw. Either wide receivers were not getting open, or Freeman was too tentative. The Bucs couldn't get anything going on the ground either, as Legarrette Blount ended the game with 1 yard on 4 carries. The Bucs looked ugly in every single aspect of the starting offense.
It wasn't much better with the starting defense, as the Patriots gashed the team on the ground and through the air. The Bucs had a tough time stopping anything, as Tom Brady ended the night 11/19 for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns, which were thrown to Aaron Hernandez and Chad Ochocinco. It wasn't all bad, as the Bucs' defensive line looked pretty decent, anchored by Gerald McCoy who looked especially explosive and disruptive.
Once the second half started things changed for the defense. Elbert Mack got things started with a pick-six on a Ryan Mallett throw to nowhere. Josh Johnson, who looked sharp all game, then took the Bucs downfield for another touchdown, as Allen Bradford capped off a solid drive. The Bucs' gave up a field goal only after a fluky Josh Johnson interception, where the ball kept bouncing around. Johnson ended the night 6/17 for 105 yards and an interception but played significantly better than his stats would indicate.
Linebacker Dekoda Watson stood out as a positive among the second-stringers, as he is pushing for more playing time. In general, the second-string defense held up well, even stopping Tom Brady on a two-minute drill to end the first half.
Overall, though, there were a lot of negatives to take away from this game. The Bucs looked sluggish and ill-prepared, with a lot of penalties and miscues on both sides of the ball. The good news is that it is preseason, and there is time to get this stuff fixed. But they have a lot of fixing to do before they're ready for the regular season.