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Buccaneers-Falcons Drive Analysis

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Cliff McBride

After nine games, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still a one win team. The officiating was off, extending a drive for the Atlanta Falcons with a phantom penalty. The same officiating that had prime vision of Bucs' rookie wideout Mike Evans' well-controlled reception and adamantly declared Mike Evans clearly did not catch the ball in bounds. Oddly enough, recall how safety Dashon Goldson had a reputation for high hits and when he had a big, legal hit, the officials would then call the legit hit a penalty. Well, I believe cornerback Johnthan Banks might have had that reputation follow him after doing it once, late in the New Orleans Saints game.

Note: All stats from ESPN.com.

Defense

The Bucs' defense faced off with a flailing Atlanta Falcons team this past Sunday.  They too are mired in mediocrity as the Falcons have lost five straight after pummeling the Bucs in their first meeting.  Let us see the progress in drives and scores:

Opposing Offenses vs TB 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

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

Cle

13

68

329

22

1

2

0

0

1

0

4

Atl

10

64

317

27

1

1

1

1

1

0

5

Totals

104

627

3559

249

8

7

9

6

9

1

40

Avg

11.56

69.67

395.4

27.67

0.89

0.78

1

0.67

1

0.11

Percent of drives over total number of drives

7.7%

6.7%

8.7%

5.8%

8.7%

1.0%

38.5%

From the look of things, it appears as though the Bucs' defense is getting worse as there were more points scored and more long drives. There is a caveat for points because the special teams once again botched a punt, which led to a field goal attempt. Yet, allowing more long drives against a beleaguered Falcons team does not reflect improvement. In fact, the trend for the defense is that they are trending worse since the Minnesota game.

Another trend the defense is becoming known for is blowing a fourth quarter lead.  I have a chart for that.

Opposing Offenses vs TB Defense

Blown Fourth Quarter 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 yard drive (FG)

Cle

22

Hoyer

Vet Starter

16

Loss

Yes - 35 yard drive (TD)

Atl

27

Ryan

Vet Starter

7

Loss

Yes - 65 yard drive (TD);

Totals

250

Avg

27.78

The fourth quarter failure has one common thread - they all were long drives. For the New Orleans game, the defense had a double digit lead, but allowed the Saints to tie the game to take it into overtime. I did not include the 80 yard touchdown drive in overtime. Let us hope that the organization can find personnel that can fix that dilemma.

Now let us look at this particular game, against the Falcons the second time around.

Falcons Offense v TB Defense

Qtr

Drive

Plays

Yards

Result

40 + yard Drives

50 + yard Drives

60 + yard Drives

70 + Yard Drives

80 + yard Drives

1

1

11

78

TD

1

2

2

12

42

FG

1

3

3

2

Punt

4

6

33

FG

3

5

10

56

FG

1

6

3

0

Punt

4

7

10

65

TD, 2pt

1

8

5

36

FG

9

3

6

Punt

10

1

-1

End Game

Total

10

64

317

27

1

1

1

1

0

Each long drive lead to a score. Four out of ten drives were 40 yards or more. Five out of the ten drives, the Falcons scored. While it is great that the defense did force four field goals, it is the fact the Falcons drove for that many scores is what is frightening. Now, considering the Falcons were milking the clock with drive 9 and just ended the game with drive 10, there were only 8 drives where the Falcons' offense pressed for more. This is, for the lack of a better word, bad.

After the Bucs took the lead early in the fourth quarter, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, affectionately known to some as ASJ, gifted the Falcons a 15 yard celebration penalty. Yes, it was 15 yards, but giving up 65 yards for the touchdown as well as giving up a 2 point conversion is not on ASJ.

Offense

Quarterback Josh McCown was re-inserted into the starting lineup to help change the fortunes for the Bucs' offense.  The team still found itself with another loss.  Let us discover if there is a trend.

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

Cle

12

65

375

17

2

0

1

0

1

0

4

Atl

9

76

334

17

2

0

0

1

1

0

3

Totals

100

549

2745

153

7

4

7

5

7

1

32

Avg

11.11

61

305.00

17.00

0.88889

0.44444

0.77778

0.5556

0.77778

0.111

Percent of drives over total number of drives

8.0%

4.0%

7.0%

5.0%

7.0%

1.0%

32.0%

The Atlanta Falcons' defensive pass and rush rank are 32nd and 24th, respectively.  That is correct, the Falcons rank worse than our defensive pass rank, by being last and us being second to last.  With that premise, the offense did not produce in longer drives or yards when compared to the Cleveland game production.  Yet, it did manage to put the same amount of points as well as give the team the lead in the fourth quarter.

TB Offense vs Atl Defense

Qtr

Drive

Plays

Yards

Result

40 + yard Drives

50 + yard Drives

60 + yard Drives

70 + Yard Drives

80 + Yard Drives

90 + yard Drives

1

1

17

47

FG

1

2

3

7

Punt

2

3

6

22

Punt

4

8

86

TD

1

3

5

10

44

Fumble

1

6

8

34

TD

4

7

8

0

Punt

8

9

76

Int

1

9

7

18

Int

Total

9

76

334

17

2

0

0

1

1

0

After scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Bucs' the lead, the offense was stopped in its track on the ensuing drive.  It could not respond to Atlanta scoring a touchdown to regain the lead.  McCown produced 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and 62.7% passes completed for 301 yards.  In the last game, Glennon produced 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and 51.5% passes completed for 260 yards.  The averages per catch for McCown was 7.0 and Glennon was 7.9.  Atlanta's pass defense ranking is 32nd.  Cleveland's pass defense ranking is 12th.

We know from the defense section above that Atlanta scored on all if its long drives.  The Bucs' offense managed to only score on two out of the four long drives, only had two scoring opportunities.  I say scoring opportunities because last week the offense had four long drives (40 + yards) and scored one three of them.  The fourth long drive had a scoring opportunity, but the 31 yard field goal was blocked.

Conclusion

Defensively, we regressed.  Offensively, we regressed.  Special Teams still maintains its mediocrity.  The referees also regressed in this game.