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The Bucs are Breaking Bad

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Breaking down the stats so far -- it's not good.

Cliff McBride

Defense

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Minnesota Vikings in overtime, 19 - 13. With the loss, the team was denied its second win for the season. From a quick glance, the defense held the opposing team to 13 points in regular time, breaking the trend of high points given up, and so the offense sputtering must be the reason for the loss. Bucs' head coach Lovie Smith and his defenses are known for close games, and this game against the Vikings fits into that mold despite what the offense does.

Opposing Offenses vs TB Defense

Offensive Scoring

Game

Team

Offensive Scoring

1

Car

20

2

StL

19

3

Atl

42

4

Pit

24

5

NO

35

6

Bal

48

7

Min

13

Totals

201

Avg

28.71

From a scoring perspective, the defense improved greatly!  Between games 3 - 6, the Bucs' defense had allowed 37.25 points per game.  Allowing the Vikings to only 13 points is a vast improvement.  That fact is a great thing to hang the defense's helmet upon!  So let us look into in depth of drives and see if there is improvement there, which there should be.

Opposing Offenses vs TB Defense

Drives

Team

Drive

Plays

Yards

Offensive Scoring

40 + yard Drives

50 + yard Drives

60 + yard Drives

70 + Yard Drives

80 + Yard Drives

90 + yard Drives

Total

Car

11

71

317

20

2

0

1

0

0

0

3

StL

8

64

343

19

1

0

1

1

1

0

4

Atl

13

67

570

42

1

1

1

1

2

0

6

Pit

11

75

375

24

0

0

1

1

1

1

4

NO

13

89

522

35

1

0

2

2

1

0

6

Bal

13

67

448

48

0

3

0

0

2

0

5

Min

12

62

338

13

1

0

2

0

0

0

3

Totals

81

495

2913

201

6

4

8

5

7

1

31

Avg

11.57

70.71

416.1

28.71

0.8571

0.5714

1.14286

0.71429

1

0.1429

Percent of drives over total number of drives

7.4%

4.9%

9.9%

6.2%

8.6%

1.2%

38.3%

Again, improvement here to allow only three drives of 40 + yards.  This performance is how the defense should be like against all of its opponents. And yet, the team lost... again. A famous basketball coach, John Wooden, said something to the effect of, "Don't mistake activity for achievement."  Everything looks good for this game, so is there a pattern here that we are still losing games?

Opposing Offenses vs TB Defense

Blown Leads

Team

Offensive Scoring

QB

Rookie, Back up, Veteran Starter

Off Pass Rank

Win/Loss

Blown Lead in fourth quarter

Car

20

Andersen

Back up

17

Loss

StL

19

Davis

Back up

19

Loss

Yes - 71 yard drive (FG)

Atl

42

Ryan

Vet Starter

7

Loss

Pit

24

Roethlisberger

Vet Starter

4

Win

NO

35

Brees

Vet Starter

2

Loss

Yes - 78 yard drive (TD);  34 yards (FG)

Bal

48

Flacco

Vet Starter

13

Loss

Min

13

Bridgewater

Rookie

31

Loss

Yes - 61 yards (FG)

Totals

201

Avg

28.71

In six losses, the defense has given up the lead three times.  And in those three times, we notice long drives have been given up.  For the New Orleans game, the offense had put the team ahead by 11 points early in the fourth quarter and why I put down two drives. Despite only giving up 13 points against the Minnesota Vikings, the defense still had blown a lead. Maybe the team should work on a two-minute defense because it is probable that the team would have four wins if the defense held.

It is quite possible that Lovie Smith needs another year to properly implement his defense considering how many games the defense had blown leads. That comment, though, does not take into account of getting blown out in two games, where one of those games we set a record of futility by allowing the most points in a half by a home team.

As of today, per ESPN, our defensive passing ranking is 30th and our defensive rushing ranking is 23rd.

Tampa Bay Bucs Defensive Rankings, 2012 to present

Year

Coach

Def Pass Rank

Def Rush Rank

Points Allowed

2012

Schiano

32nd

1st

24.6

2013

Schiano

17th

15th

24.3

2014

Smith

30th

23rd

31.9

The Tampa-2 defensive scheme is a lot of "bending, but not breaking", meaning it will allow a lot of yards, but limit scoring.  Presumably, we should be improving on defense considering the defensive FA acquisitions the team had done during the offseason with CB Alterraun Verner, DT Clinton McDonald, DE Michael Johnson, and S Major Wright.  Although only seven games have been played, the pattern suggests that the Bucs' defense has taken a step backwards.

20/20 hindsight, the Bucs' front office truly hurt themselves by not re-signing DE/DT Michael Bennett, who wanted to stay as a Buccaneer.  Many fans wanted Bennett to stay because he was our leading sack artist, but also to lure his brother to Tampa because we needed improvement at tight end.

Offense

After a bye week, there are expectations that the offense would come out blazing.  Instead, we were revealed a dud.

TB Offense vs Opposing Defense

Team

Drive

Plays

Yards

Offensive Scoring

40 + yard Drives

50 + yard Drives

60 + yard Drives

70 + Yard Drives

80 + Yard Drives

90 + yard Drives

Total

Car

11

55

279

14

1

1

2

0

0

0

4

StL

9

54

372

17

1

0

2

2

0

0

5

Atl

14

57

143

7

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Pit

10

66

365

27

1

0

1

0

2

0

4

NO

11

55

274

24

1

0

0

0

2

0

3

Bal

12

69

379

17

0

2

1

1

0

1

5

Min

12

52

224

13

0

1

0

1

0

0

2

Totals

79

408

2036

119

4

4

6

4

5

1

24

Avg

11.29

58.29

290.9

17.00

0.5714

0.57143

0.8571

0.5714

0.7143

0.14286

Percent of drives over total number of drives

5.1%

5.1%

7.6%

5.1%

6.3%

1.3%

30.4%

Two long drives...  that is it.  That is also pathetic coming out of a bye week.  The fact that we were still in the game is credit to the defense!  The offense did enough to give the team the lead, but the defense and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins fates are tied, both heroes and both goats of the game.

TB Offensive Drive vs Minnesota Vikings

Quarter

Drive

Plays

Yards

Result

Comments

1

1

3

32

INT

2

6

9

Punt

Penalty - False Start (EDS); 3rd and 12

2

3

3

6

Punt

Penalty - Holding (Gilkey); 3rd and 17

4

3

3

Punt

3rd and 7

5

3

4

Punt

3rd and 6

6

3

-2

Punt

Two sacks; 3rd and 7 (1:50 left in half)

3

7

3

-1

Punt

3rd and 11

8

6

24

Punt

Penalty - Holding (Collins); 3rd and 13 (sacked on 3rd)

9

5

15

FG

3rd and 6

4

10

7

53

FG

Sack; 3rd and 8

11

9

71

TD

3rd and 3 ... needed 4th on 1 for first down

12

1

10

Fumble

Total

12

52

224

13

0

Look at all those third and longs.  I have a feeling that the bye week had allowed Lovie to get his hands on our offense as opposed to keeping his hands off. In this game, it was the second highest run play-calling percentage of the year. The Bucs had 28 passing attempts to 23 rushing attempts. Lovie wants to establish a run game.  23 rushing attempts for 66 yards rushing is mediocre. Our strength is in the passing game.

On Drive 11, the touchdown drive, the offense threw 7 times to 2 runs. Those two runs gained only 3 yards: gained 2 yards on 3rd and 3 as well as gained 1 yard on the following play of 4th an 1, both in the red zone. A 71 yard drive when we rely on the arm of the quarterback.

The Minnesota game closely resembles that of the St. Louis game.  Both games were difficult to watch and both games we blew the lead. The big question about this game should be how to prevent the offense from being in the position of 3rd and longs.

TB Offense v Opposing defense, Def Rankings

Team

Drive

Plays

Yards

Offensive Scoring

Opposing Def Pass Rank

Opposing Def Run Rank

Car

11

55

279

14

18

28

StL

9

54

372

17

11

31

Atl

14

57

143

7

29

24

Pit

10

66

365

27

19

11

NO

11

55

274

24

31

10

Bal

12

69

379

17

22

7

Min

12

52

224

13

4

17

Totals

79

408

2036

119

Avg

11.286

58.286

290.86

17.00

Huh... it is simply sad to see that Minnesota is an average run defense and the Bucs' rushing offense could only muster 66 yards.  That offensive line is very deficient.  Just start using more screens and call those plays runs, that is how former OC Jeff Tedford would classify them.

Who is stifling the offense? This offense has shown the propensity to score "a plenty", but coming out of the bye week to score the second fewest points this season does not bode well for the future.

There are just so many things wrong at so many places that I have become numb and indifferent this season.  Although, I did get a chuckle thinking up the term "two-minute defense".