Buccaneers vs. Jets: Tampa Bay defense was dominant, besides penalties

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers handed the New York Jets the game in a nicely wrapped gift basket.

The bright side to yesterday's game was the Tampa Bay defense. A stifling run defense, four sacks, two turnovers, 4.2 yards per play (for comparison: 2012 Jets managed 4.6) and 18 points allowed is a pretty good result on the day, even if it led to another loss.

There's the fact that Darrelle Revis was back to his old self. He was targeted three times in the game, allowing one completion. That one completion happened solely because the Jets ran a pick play, which caused Revis to run into Mark Barron.

The pass rush was significantly improved over last season, even if a few too many badly designed stunts on third-and-long limited that pass rush at times. Hint for Bill Sheridan and Greg Schiano: if Adrian Clayborn has to cross the face of four linemen, he's not impacting the play. The pass rush wasn't dominant, but the Jets did keep in a lot of extra protection.

Penalties gave the Jets new life

So why did the defense keep giving up points at crucial times? Penalties, penalties, penalties. Stupid, avoidable penalties.

On third-and-8 in the second quarter, the Buccaneers allowed Geno Smith to scramble for a first down, as Leonard Johnson inexplicably held off of tackling Smith a few steps before he got out of bounds. Five yards were tacked onto the play on a defensive hold not visible on the TV copy, and with the Jets not gaining another yard, those five yards could have been the difference between a successful and unsuccessful field goal.

Later in the second quarter on a third-and-21, Mark Barron lowered his helmet to hit Jeremy Kerley on an 8-yard route. There's no need to use your helmet like a weapon there, and that was specifically outlawed this year. The result: a first down, and a Jets touchdown four plays later.

The New York Jets had third-and-six in the third quarter, and Geno Smith scrambled out of bounds for one measly yard. But Leonard Johnson was holding down the field, which gave the Jets new life and a field goal later in the drive.

And then there's the final drive of the game, where Lavonte David hit Geno Smith going out of bounds, turning a 63-yard field goal into a 48-yard field goal and the game winner.

These penalties were stupid, unnecessary and counterproductive. And they resulted in 16 of the Jets' 18 offensive points on the day, the other two coming from a safety.

Every New York scoring drive was sustained by a crucial, completely avoidable Tampa Bay penalty.

So here's job one for the Buccaneers coaches this week: get those penalties out of their system. Because without those penalties, the Buccaneers win 17-2, and shut down the New York offense.

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