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Game 3 Drive Analysis: A Kick Backwards

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to Houston, 9 - 19.  All three facets of the game faltered: offense, defense, and special teams. The offense went 1 -12 on third downs, the defense gave up two long drives for scores in the fourth quarter, and the special teams kicking department missed three field goals and an extra point. There is a positive to this:  zero sacks by the offensive line.

Game 1 Drive Analysis:  Tampa, We Have a Problem

Game 2 Drive Analysis:  What a Difference a Week Makes

Defensive Drives Against

Opposing Offenses vs TB Defense
2014 - 2015
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
2014 Avg Games 1 - 6 72.17 429.17 31.33 0.83 0.67 1.00 0.83 1.17 0.17 4.67
Bye Week
Games 7 - 16 67.60 329.70 19.80 0.80 1.40 0.70 0.50 0.50 0.10 4.00

Having last year's stats gives us Buc fans a standard when comparing this roller coaster ride of a season so far. Games after the bye week had the defense ranking top 10!

TB Defense vs Hou Offense
Qtr Drive Plays Yards Result Pts 40 + yard Drives 50 + yard Drives 60 + yard Drives 70 + Yard Drives 80 + Yard Drives 90 + yard Drives Totals
1 1 6 18 Punt 0
2 10 64 TD 7 1 1
3 9 34 Punt 0
2 4 9 30 Punt 0
5 1 0 INT 0
6 9 58 Missed FG 0 1 1
7 3 8 End Half 0
3 8 5 34 FG 3 0
9 3 -2 Punt 0
10 5 13 Punt 0
11 9 40 Punt 0
4 12 5 77 TD 6 1 1
13 14 76 FG 3 1 1
14 1 -1 End Game 0
Total 89 449 19 0 1 1 2 0 0 4

My prediction for this game was that it would be a low scoring affair due to good defenses and struggling offenses. Although 19 points given up is a great defensive feat, with the context the game was going to be a low scoring affair to begin with, then 19 points is actually a lot of points scored and probably be the team with a notch in the win column.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game was Bucs 9, Texans 10. The Bucs went on a 70 yard, 3 minutes and 53 second drive to miss a 33 yard field goal. The defense should be well rested. And with the ball on the Texans 23 yard line, the defense had a lot of the field to play with. Unfortunately, the defense let up and gave up a touch drive of 77 yards in a span of 1 minute and 42 seconds. Afterwards, on Houston's ensuing offensive possession, they drove 76 yards for a 19 yard field goal that consumed 6 minutes and 52 seconds.

Those two fourth quarter scoring drives scored 9 points (missed extra point) and took up 8 minutes and 34 seconds to seal the game. In both of those scoring drives, Houston converted 4 out of 5 third down conversions. The only one they did not convert was a third and goal from the two yard line. Of those five third down conversions, three of them were seven yards or longer (3rd and 8 in the TD drive; 3rd and 7, 3rd and 10 in the FG drive).

Finally, those two drives allowed Houston to accrue 70 yards rushing. SEVENTY yards rushing in two drives were allowed!

The defense allowing the opposition to score in the fourth quarter was the team's downfall last season as it blew six fourth quarter leads. It was the defense that gave up and did not give our offense the best opportunity to win.

Yet, it seems as though there is an easy fix. I doubt it because we are having the same problems as last year and it still is not fixed.  Here is a few quotes from Lavonte David from an ESPN article:

"It's small things, very small things that have to be easily fixed," David said Monday. "And we're going to get it fixed. It's that easy. Most guys understand and realize we can't let that happen anymore. We won't have another game like that again."

"We're playing fast, but sometimes, we're getting out of position," David said. "Once we add that playing fast [part], plus get in our position, I think we'll be a lot better."

"Once we get that situated -- it's a real easy fix, really, really, very, very easy fix -- it's going to be fixed right away," David said. "That's the thing you can look forward to."

I have one word about those quotes and consistency for the future:  Inconceivable!

Offensive Drives

TB Offense vs Opposing Defense
2014 - 2015
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
2014 Avg Before Bye 59.33 302.00 17.67 0.67 0.50 1.00 0.50 0.83 0.17 3.67
After Bye 60.70 268.80 15.00 1.10 0.40 0.20 0.70 0.70 0.00 3.10

The offense went from bad to worse last year.  And this event with Houston figured to be a low scoring affair, which it was. With the Bucs' offense averaging 20 points per game from the first two games, I hoped they could eclipse 20 points again, but my mind knows better.

TB Offense vs Hou Defense
Qtr Drive Plays Yards Result Pts 40 + yard Drives 50 + yard Drives 60 + yard Drives 70 + Yard Drives 80 + Yard Drives 90 + yard Drives Totals
1 1 5 9 Punt 0
2 4 24 Punt 0
2 3 6 40 FG 3 1 1
4 3 -2 Punt 0
5 2 26 TD 6 0
6 6 21 Punt 0
3 7 4 21 INT 0
8 5 21 Punt 0
9 5 21 Missed FG 0 0
10 3 6 Punt 0
4 11 9 70 Missed FG 0 1 1
12 3 5 Punt 0
13 5 41 Missed FG 0 1 1
Total 13 60 303 9 2 0 0 1 0 0 3

The special teams left 10 points off the board, one extra point and three missed field goals. To be fair, the last field goal attempt was a desperation act from 57 yards out from a kicker already struggling.

As for drives, there was only one drive that went over 50 yards. But that drive failed to punch it in from the red zone as well as missed a chip shot field goal attempt from the 23 yard line. That was early in the fourth quarter as the score was Bucs 9, Texans 10.

The offense had a chance to tie the game, but kicker Brindza missed an extra point. Then he proceeded to miss two more field goals. So why many field goal attempts? A lack of third down conversions made.

TB vs Houston
3rd down Description
3rd down Yards to go Convert Pass Run Comment WR
1 15 1 Vjax
2 6 1 Evans
3 14 1 Myers caught ball for 10 yards Myers
4 12 1 Shepard
5 10 1 1 Vjax
6 10 1 Evans
7 7 1 INT Evans
8 8 1* 1 Inc Pass.  Def Penalty gives Bucs a first down. Vjax
9 6 1 Evans catch and fumble REVERSED. Evans
10 6 1 Vjax TD Reversed. Vjax
11 4 1 Evans
12 7 1 Evans
13 5 1 Evans
Average 8.5

The average yards to make a first down is 8.5 yards.  That is probably a magnanimous reason why converting third down was made inept.  Was third down conversion rate always bad this season?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Offensive, 3rd Down Conversions
Game Team Made Attempts Pct
1 Tenn 3 14 21.4%
2 NO 5 14 35.7%
3 Hou 1 12 8.3%
Total 9 40 22.5%

After week three, the Bucs' offense ranks tied for 30th in 3rd down conversions made. As for the conversion rate ranking, the Bucs' offense ranks 31st in the league. This finding is demoralizing.

Penalties

There were 14 penalties called. The breakdown of the 14 penalties called is as follows:  offense - 4 , defense - 10, and ST - 0.

TB Bucs
2015 Penalties Breakdown
Game Team Off Def ST
1 Ten 10 3 1
2 NO 7 4 0
3 Hou 4 10 0
Total 21 17 1

The offense is reducing the number of penalties called against it. Undisciplined play is what the defense produced recently.

TB v HOU, TB PENALTIES
Qtr # Drive Off /Def /ST Location Down Yards to go Penalty Yards Comment
1 1 2 Off TB 12 1 10 -5 LG Mankins.  False Start.
2 2 Off TB 26 1 10 -10 WR Evans.  Offensive PI.  Negated a 30 yd Evans Catch.
3 2 Off TB 16 2 20 -5 QB Winston.  Delay of Game.
4 5 Def TB 49 3 14 -5 DE Smith.  Def Holding.  Negated a GMC forced fumble and DE Smith fumble recovery.  Automatic first down.
2 5 7 Def Hou 25 3 7 0 CB Jennings.  Def Holding. DECLINED.
6 10 Off Hou 22 2 6 -10 C Hawley.  Off Holding.
7 11 Def TB 45 1 10 0 CB Jenkins.  Def Holding. DECLINED.
3 8 15 Def Hou 45 1 10 -15 S Conte.  Face mask.  Added an extra 15 yards to a 14 yard run.
9 21 Def Hou 38 1 10 0 DE Gholston.  Def Offsides.  DECLINED.
4 10 23 Def Hou 23 2 10 -5 Neutral Zone Infraction.
11 23 Def Hou 23 1 10 -15 S Conte.  Face mask.  Added an extra 15 yards to a 30 yard pass.
12 23 Def TB 20 1 10 0 CB Moore.  Def Holding.  DECLINED.
13 25 Def Hou 49 3 10 -9 CB Verner.  Def PI.
14 25 Def TB 42 1 10 -5 Def Offsides.
Total Penalty Yards -84

The statistical information just gets worse. The Bucs' are tied first overall with a total of 33 Penalties (that were enforced, not declined). They ranked 3rd most in yards accrued from those penalties with 271 yards, roughly 90 penalty yards per game.

Conclusion

Where last week good play everywhere, this week a lot of bad play had shown up across the board. Still, the team was in the game in the fourth quarter as it made a 70 yard trek with hopes of regaining the lead on a 33 yard field goal attempt as the score at the time was Bucs 9, Texans 10. But little cuts throughout the game had transpired as it all fell apart after the missed field goal. The failed third downs and the kicking game gone awry were two of the three components needed to fulfill the disastrous troublesome trifecta. The defense failing in the fourth quarter sealed the fate of the Buccaneers from the opportunity to snatch a win.

I have not touched about kicker Kyle Brindza. He saved the Bucs against the Saints. Against the Texans, he helped ruin the chance at winning. How can he become so inconsistent?  It could be the field the Texans play on. In Houston's first home game against the Kansas City Chiefs, there were complaints about the grass field. Houston's own kicker, Randy Bullock, missed an extra point opportunity versus the Chiefs. Then Houston decided to go artificial grass. In a Buccaneers Live pre-game report, Scott Smith denoted how he can still see seems all over the field that they were standing upon. Bullock missed an extra point and a field goal in this game facing the Bucs. This is the same game that Bucs' kicker Brindza missed three field goals and an extra point.

Let us all hope it was just the field at Houston that affected Brindza, otherwise we need a new kicker.

There are a few positives to this game. The pass protection and Winston helped not to have a statistic in sacks for the game.  We were in the game in the fourth quarter. Doug looked productive still, but was phased out of the game due to a single high defense recognition by OC Koetter and wanting to get as many explosive plays going the route of passing. Yet the team will need even more offense generated as I fear the defense may collapse once again like it did quite a few times last year.