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Buccaneers went away from heavy personnel groups in loss to Saints

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to a decimated and struggling New Orleans Saints team on Sunday. And they did so despite having a pretty normal distribution of play counts -- essentially the same team that got them into playoff position lost them a good opportunity to actually make it to the postseason for the first time since 2007. Here are the main takeaways from the play counts.

Charles Sims and Doug Martin split snaps

For the first time in weeks, Charles Sims got nearly as many snaps as Doug Martin did. That was in part a result of the Bucs' inability to sustain drives early in the game, leading them to turn to a pass-first mentality in the fourth quarter -- which always entails more of Sims than Martin. But it was a problem early in the game, too, and the decision to go away from Martin probably contributed to the loss.

Donteea Dye and Adam Humphries

With Vincent Jackson lost to a knee injury early in the game, the Bucs needed their backups to step up. Donteea Dye and Adam Humphries got most of the snaps in his absence, but they didn't do too much with them -- and Dye dropped a crucial third-down pass late in the game.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins still limited

This week, Seferian-Jenkins got more snaps than any other tight end -- but that still amounted to just 25 plays, or 45% of the offensive playing time. It's not clear why the Bucs played their tight ends so little as they generally take an approach dominated by heavy personnel groupings. That has brought them a lot of success in the past, helping both the running game and pass protection, especially on deeper passes -- something we didn't see a lot this week, either.

Bruce Carter played everything

The Bucs turned to Bruce Carter at middle linebacker, and he managed to play all but three snaps -- the final three plays of the game, when he left with an ankle injury. It seems unlikely he'll be ready to play on Thursday night, meaning Danny Lansanah will have to take over. But it''s worth noting that Carter actually held up well at middle linebacker, especially in the passing game. Or at least he seemed to at first glance.

Offensive play counts

Name Position Offensive plays Percentage
L Mankins G 55 100%
G Cherilus T 55 100%
D Smith T 55 100%
A Marpet G 55 100%
J Winston QB 55 100%
J Hawley C 55 100%
M Evans WR 52 95%
D Dye WR 35 64%
A Humphries WR 29 53%
D Martin RB 28 51%
C Sims RB 27 49%
A Seferian-Jenkins TE 25 45%
C Brate TE 21 38%
L Stocker TE 21 38%
V Jackson WR 14 25%
R Shepard WR 13 24%
J Lane FB 5 9%
K Pamphile T 5 9%

Defensive play counts

Name Position Defensive plays Percentage
L David LB 82 100%
S Moore CB 82 100%
B Carter LB 79 96%
J Adjei-Barimah DB 79 96%
W Gholston DE 66 80%
H Jones DE 64 78%
G McCoy DT 61 74%
C Conte FS 53 65%
B McDougald FS 53 65%
M Wright SS 52 63%
A Spence DT 41 50%
D Lansanah LB 38 46%
K Brown DE 36 44%
A Verner CB 34 41%
H Melton DT 33 40%
T McDaniel DT 27 33%
K Tandy FS 16 20%
O Lemon LB 3 4%
J Banks CB 3 4%