Matt Stamey-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Reviewing the day in statistics, Lavonte David, Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams stand out, while Josh Freeman shows some interesting splits.
If you asked me after the game who had been the most productive running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I would without a doubt have said "Legarrette Blount" - and I would have been mistaken. I remember a few seemingly long runs by Blount, and a relatively productive but still somewhat plodding day for Martin. I would have been wrong.
Doug Martin actually had a good day, with 8 carries for 33 yards. That day would have been a lot better had Jeremy Zuttah not been called for a holding penalty on what would have been Martin's longest run of the year - a 19-yard scamper in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Blount managed just 17 yards on 6 carries for an average of 2.8 yards per carry. He did manage a touchdown, but that production has now dropped him below Martin in yards per carry on the season - not that that measure is all that significant over such a tiny sample size.
The weird thing about the Bucs' running game this year has been the complete lack of big runs, which was the one thing the team knew how to produce last year. Giving the ball to Blount some more will help produce that, yet that didn't help this game despite a nearly 50/50 distribution of carries.
With only a few carries for the running backs, Josh Freeman was asked to carry the team this week, and he was very up-and-down in doing so. Nothing shows that more than his first half/second half splits. Freeman completed just 13 of 22 passes for 88 yards, one sack and an interception in the first half. That's a ridiculous 4 yards per attempt, as Freeman routinely missed open receiver. Conversely, he was a very good 11 of 17 for 211 yards and a touchdown in the second half - a whopping 12.4 yards per attempt.
Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams helped Freeman reach those really good second half numbers with some big plays, and both of them went off for over 100 receiving yards. No pair of Buccaneer receivers had managed to do that since 1992, when Mark Carrier and Lawrence Dawsey both went off for over 100 yards against Green Bay, catching passes from another big-armed, inaccurate quarterback: Vinny Testaverde.
Finally, Mason Foster and Lavonte David once again had two amazing statistical days on defense. David managed a whopping 14 total tackles, with three tackles for loss. Mason Foster had 10 total tackles and half a sack on the game, on a play that could have been called a safety. Michael Bennett had a pretty good statistical day, too, with a sack, two quarterback hits and a tackle for loss.