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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – A Statistical Look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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I like statistics. I like them too much. I’m a stats junkie and can never get enough of the numbers. Years ago, I was that kid that got mad at his friends when they threw too much to one receiver in Madden. I got upset when the computer controlled teams put up unrealistic numbers in my franchises. The obsession never really went away. I did grow up and realize stats don’t tell the whole story and there is a lot more to the game than just the numbers, but I still love them. So for the rest of you out there that like the numbers, here’s a statistical look at what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done so far this year.

The Good

4-2 – Tampa Bay is currently 4-2 and at the top of the NFC South – never a bad thing.

85.8Jeff Garcia has a quarterback rating of 85.8 this season. He comes up 6 attempts short to be included among the league leaders, but if he did, he would be 16th. Although that is far from spectacular, it’s also far from awful. Garcia has always been the type of quarterback that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He’s not ever going to be perfect, but in the 16 games he’s appeared in as a Buc, he has only thrown 6 interceptions. Brian Griese threw that many in 2 games this year.

11, 12 and 5, 6 – Running backs Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn rank 11th and 12th in the NFL in rushing yards and 5th and 6th in yards per carry. Who says Gators and Noles can’t work together in harmony? Both are on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. These two have been a huge part of Tampa Bay’s success so far.

92.3Matt Bryant has connected on 12 of his 13 field goal attempts this season, good for 92.3%. He’s on pace for a career best in points.

16.2 – The Bucs defense is one of the league’s best again. They allow 16.2 points per game, tied for the NFL’s 3rd best.

The Bad

6 – Going back to Griese’s picks, he has thrown the same number of interceptions – 6 – as fellow NFC South quarterback Drew Brees. Problem is Brees has played in 2 more games than Griese and attempted 77 more passes.

291 – Wide receiver Antonio Bryant leads the Bucs with 291 receiving yards, ranking 38th. And it’s not because the Bucs have a handful of other guys right around there. Only two others – Ike Hilliard and Alex Smith – have more than 150 yards.

5.2 – Rookie Dexter Jackson averages 5.2 yards per punt return. Mark Jones – one of the Bucs' punt returners last year – gains nearly double that for the Carolina Panthers. Jackson did look a little better in the Bucs’ last game, but still took a nose dive into the grass on one return.

44 for 401 – The Bucs’ have committed 44 penalties for 401 yards, ranking 6th and 4th most in the league.

The Ugly Weird

We really should call this section the "weird" since some of these stats don't necessarily give "ugly" results to the Bucs, but then it just wouldn't sound right in the title, would it?

64.6 – Despite being 3-0 in the games he played from start to finish this year, Griese’s quarterback rating of 64.6 ranks 28th in the league. Although wins are obviously the most important thing in the end, I’m not sure how far the Bucs would’ve gone with the league’s 28th ranked quarterback. Of course, if Garcia ever loses a couple of games in a row, I might be whistling a different tune.

2 – Defensive end Gaines Adams has 2 interceptions so far this season – one he returned for a touchdown. This isn’t bad at all, but it is sort of weird consider Adams is the only defensive lineman in the league with multiple interceptions. He has looked pretty good when asked to drop back into coverage.