Each week, Bucs Nation reviews the game film of the Buccaneers previous game to give you insight and observations on some things we may have missed in the excitement of the action.
Hey there everyone! So its an exciting time for After Further Review as we actually get to review the real coaches film, thanks to NFL Game Rewind. Gone are the horrible television feeds that cut off half the field. As we review the Bucs' 16-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, we were surprised by some of the things that changed our mind on some of the performances in the ballgame.
Here are some of those opinions:
- Throughout the first quarter, Josh Freeman had superb pass protection on passing plays. Only once was Freeman remotely pressured, as he had plenty of time to run through his progressions. Things got a little more dicey the rest of the game as each of the offensive linemen (including Carl Nicks) had plays they'd like to have back.
- Speaking of reading the defense, Freeman was excellent at this in this ball game. Freeman would rapid fire go through his reads to find the open man. Not once did he stare down a receiver in the first quarter.
- Freeman made only a couple questionable decisions. For the most part he played it safe and took the sure bet rather than go for the feast or famine deep ball.
- Vincent Jackson gets open - A LOT. Freeman had a couple opportunities to hit him but either checked down to the safer throw or had to scramble and couldn't see him down field.
- The running game was a bit hit and miss as the holes were there but Carolina Safety Charles Godfrey was terrific at filling the hole. Martin couldn't shake Godfrey's last line of defense.
- On the play Blount went down, Jeremy Trueblood whiffed on his block, allowing the defender to crash down and hit Blount. It appeared their helmets collided in the impact and after the play Blount looked a little disoriented, fell to the ground then began grabbing his hammy. Strange.
- Man, the Bucs have some exotic blitzes. On the play in the 2nd quarter where they knocked Cam's helmet off, Tampa Bay brought SEVEN - four downline, two linebackers and a corner. Four got in the backfield so fast it ruined Newton's toss pitch and they just converged on the QB. A few other times in the game, the Bucs blitzed two corners out of the dime formation.
- Freeman's play action was unbelievable effective throughout the ball game. Several times you saw the Panthers crashing in, only to realize the quarterback still had the ball and was about to make a play.
- On the touchdown, Carolina safety Nakumura bit on Freeman's play action charging in, Mike Williams beat Chris Gamble's jam at the line and raced alone into the void Nakumura left. Freeman looked toward Jackson, then back to Williams and fired a laser into the end zone.
- The Bucs defensive line were mostly quiet for the majority of the first half but turned it up in the last two minutes. For the rest of the game, it was simply dominant.
- On the big pass play to Steve Smith (where Mark Barron assaulted him), Mason Foster got lost in coverage and Smith ran wide open underneath the deep cover 2.
- On the touchdown to Lafell, Foster again blew the coverage, going down to cover Armanti Edwards who was already covered by both Eric Wright and Bryan MacDonald. Lafell split the safeties and was as wide open as you can get in the NFL.
- It was a shame Ted Larsen slipped and took down his defender with him on Freeman's scintillating 31 yd completion to Vincent Jackson. Freeman hit Jackson perfectly in stride and Jackson showed his speed and playmaking ability after the catch.
- As debuts go, Carl Nicks had a so-so game for the Bucs. In the running game he was dominant, but in the passing game, he got push into the backfield a few times, forcing Freeman to move around in the pocket.
- Ted Larsen did some good things, especially in the running game, but he also had some flubs. On some of his pulls he went to the wrong man and allowed Doug Martin to get hit in the backfield and he gave up the initial pressure that led to Freeman's second sack.
- On Freeman's first sack, Jeremy Trueblood got beaten like a red-headed step child.
- The interception by Ronde Barber was just a terrible decision by Cam Newton - he tried to force the ball in past three defenders.
- In 10 Things I mentioned that the Panther fans had a gripe on the second interception by Ahmad Black. I was wrong, Eric Wright had excellent coverage on Steve Smith, there was no pass interference.
- The Bucs blitzed Cam Newton repeatedly in the second half, forcing the young 2nd year quarterback to make quick choices. Most of the time, it resulted in an incomplete pass or a moderate gain. However, Newton did have his moments where he beat the blitz for big gains.
- On Newton's 51 yd bomb to Louis Murphy, the Bucs just rushed four and Cam was well protected. Murphy was one-on-one with Aquib Talib and beat him. Barron was late getting over in coverage, allowing for the big play.
- How many times did we see Cam Newton terrorize the Bucs with the Quarterback Draw near the goalline?Not this week. It was if Ronde Barber had hacked into Cam's Coach-to-QB receiver. Barber, up in the box from his safety spot kept one eye on his coverage responsibility and the other on Newton, as soon as Cam broke for the end zone - Barber was a blur - meeting the Panthers QB almost immediately. Barber knocked Newton off balance and then waited as his buddies converged to finish him off. It was a thing of beauty for the Bucs' defense.
- One of Freeman's poorer throws of the day came on that crucial 3rd and 3 with 2:28 left to play. Freeman kind of sidearmed the pass to Jackson, taking Jackson toward the coverage and nearly into a break up. Luckily, the All-Pro receiver hauled in the pass for the crucial first down and the Bucs were able to run out the clock.