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Grading the Best and Worst Buccaneers from Sunday's Win at Pittsburgh

This episode of "Three up, three down" features a returning hero, an unheralded star, and more.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a football game! That alone is cause to give a pat on the back and a helmet sticker to everyone in the locker room, but the reality of Sunday's win paints a different picture. The Bucs still struggled in multiple phases of the game, while standing out in others.

So let's name the best and worst Bucs from Sunday's win, beginning with the bad news.

Three Down

Anthony Collins - The Bucs' left tackle, brought in to provide stability at a position where Donald Penn struggled a year ago, proved to be a huge letdown against a beat up Pittsburgh defense. Collins allowed pressure on Mike Glennon all day, something he rarely did during his time with the Bengals, where he faced the Steelers often.

Collins cannot become a liability for the Buccaneers if they hope to succeed, especially if Mike Glennon remains the quarterback the rest of the way. Glennon will never have the athleticism to escape pressure, and taking constant hits from defenders is no way to develop a young quarterback.

Dane Fletcher - Go back through former Buccaneer Stephen White's Twitter timeline, and you'll see a shared frustration over the play of middle linebacker Dane Fletcher. Mason Foster's backup did not make the right reads and fill the right gaps in run defense all afternoon, and it could have cost the Bucs in the end had Pittsburgh been more assertive with their running game.

Mason Foster may be a liability in pass coverage at times, but he makes big plays to compensate, and is a stellar run defender. Fletcher is a versatile player who is an ace on special teams, but after one week, he seems a bit outmatched in the middle of a 4-3 defense.

Leonard Johnson and the safeties - It's a bit unfair to name four or five guys for the third "down" of the week, but they all failed in their attempts to cover Heath Miller all day, and it should have cost the Bucs a chance at a win. The veteran tight end could have caught 20 passes on the afternoon were he targeted more often, as he had acres of space up the seam on nearly every play.

Other Pittsburgh receivers found plenty of room to work over the middle of the field, as well, which means nickelback Johnson and the safeties (who were a rotating cast of characters due to injury) were largely to blame. Outside corners Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner didn't have a good day, either, but the middle of the field was particularly prone to breakdowns on Sunday.

Three Up

Gerald McCoy - Remember this guy? Playing with a broken hand that the FOX sideline reporter described as causing him quite a bit of pain, the face of the Bucs franchise did his job against the Steelers, getting a sack, batting down a pass, and generally being a huge pain to the Pittsburgh offense.

McCoy is a special athlete, and his absence against Atlanta may have had a bigger impact than any other factor leading to that blowout loss. As his hand heals and he is able to resume his every-down duties (he sat out a handful of snaps on Sunday), he'll provide an even bigger impact on the Bucs defense.

Michael Johnson - It appears as though the ankle injury for Johnson was a legitimate excuse for his Week 1 performance, as Johnson was much more effective, while still limited, in his first game back in the rotation after sitting out with an ailing lower leg. He didn't get consistent pressure, but when he did, he made it count, picking up a forced fumble and two sacks.

Like many aspects of the Tampa Bay roster, many overreacted to Johnson's debut in pewter and red, and began to speculate that he may have been a waste of a free agent paycheck. But as he returns to health, he has a chance to prove those doubts wrong, and he got off to a great start against an old division rival.

Demar Dotson - I'm going to keep talking about how good Demar Dotson is until he becomes a household name. The huge, yet surprisingly athletic right tackle for the Bucs puts in as good of a day's work as anyone on the roster, and rarely gets praise. That needs to change.

Dotson kept a clean sheet in pass protection this weekend, a stark contrast to his colleague at left tackle, Anthony Collins. He has always been a solid blocker in the running game, as well, although he is hampered by Patrick Omameh at right guard, who isn't an effective run blocker, and as a result the Bucs tend to run to the left with more frequency.