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Game 1 Drive Analysis: Tampa, We Have a Problem.

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The second year of the Tampa 2 defense and the first year of a new offense under Dirk Koetter brought new hopes to a season ending in 2 - 14, tied for the worst record in the NFL in 2014. Let us look to last year to see where the bar ended before reluctantly looking at the stats for the first game of year against the Tennessee Titans.

Defensive Drives Against

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
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

The defense improved vastly after the bye week. That is the standard we should expect out of a second season of the Tampa-2. The differences are fourth-round rookie Kwon Alexander and Lovie Smith calling the defensive plays.

TB Defense vs Ten Offense
Qtr Drive Plays Yards Result 40 + yard Drives 50 + yard Drives 60 + yard Drives 70 + Yard Drives 80 + Yard Drives 90 + yard Drives Total
1 1 5 89 TD 1 1
2 6 63 TD 1 1
2 3 3 -15 Punt 0
4 9 56 TD 1 1
5 6 32 TD 0
3 6 6 54 TD 1 1
7 6 30 Punt 0
3 8 3 7 Fumble 0
9 3 -4 Punt 0
10 3 -5 Punt 0
Total 10 50 307 35 0 2 1 0 1 0 4

Despite holding the Titans to 307 yards, the game was virtually over in the first half. Out of five drives in the first half, four of them resulted in touchdown scores, or 28 points allowed by the defense. Three of the scoring drives were 50 yards or longer. Tennessee accrued 225 yards in the first half as well. That is abysmal defensive play. The very first drive, the defense gave up an 89 yard drive ending in a touchdown.

The first drive in the second half was similar to the first drive in the first half, a long drive that resulted in a touchdown.

Tennessee Play Calling: Pass 16, Run 32.

Last year, the Bucs' defense was ranked in the top 10 after the bye week. The second year in the Tampa-2 should maintain or improve on its play. I was not expecting the debacle. Lovie Smith was in charge of the defensive play calling. That is the biggest difference between last year and this year. I wholeheartedly believed the defense would be around the top 10 ranking - across the board, not just yards allowed.

Offensive Drives

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
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

2014 offense was putrid.  Can the offense improve?

TB Offense vs Ten Defense
Qtr Drive Plays Yards Result 40 + yard Drives 50 + yard Drives 60 + yard Drives 70 + Yard Drives 80 + Yard Drives 90 + yard Drives Total
1 1 3 7 INT- Ret TD 0
2 3 1 Punt 0
3 12 68 TD 1 1
2 4 4 9 Downs 0
5 4 26 INT 0
6 2 13 End of Half 0
3 7 4 -17 Punt 0
8 3 -6 Punt 0
9 3 0 Punt 0
4 10 8 72 TD 1 1
11 16 47 Downs, RZ 1 1
12 1 5 End Game 0
Total 12 63 225 14 1 0 1 1 0 0 3

Two interceptions in the first half, both lead the scores: one on a pick six and the other eventually lead to a Tennessee touchdown.  Those turnovers hurt and both turnovers were very avoidable.  Also in the first half, the Bucs were stopped on fourth and 1.  Tennessee's ensuing drive, again, lead to another touchdown.

For that fourth down play in the first half, it was Doug Martin running the ball.  Usually in short yardage situations, Mike James would be the guy.  James was inactive for the game.  Martin, who reportedly stands 5'9" and slimmed down, is put into a short yardage situation.  Charles Sims is 6 feet tall and supposedly added more muscle.  Bobby Rainey is utilized for returning kicks and punts.  The team needs a running back for short yardage situations.  Also with that no gain, the Bucs' offensive line has added to that stuffed ranking.

Tampa Bay Play Calling: Pass 33, Run 26.

The play calling is not what the Bucs probably wanted.  They probably wanted something similar to what Tennessee accomplished with the play calling.

With this first game, the offense performed worse than last year.  Yeah, I just wrote that.  I still cannot believe I wrote it.

Penalties

There were 14 penalties called, but only 12 penalties were imposed.  The breakdown of the 14 penalties called is as follows: offense - 10, defense - 3, and ST - 1.

TB v Tenn, TB PENALTIES
Qtr # Off /Def /ST Location Down Yards to go Penalty Yards Comment
1 1 Def Ten 11 1 10 -15 M. Wright, Unnecessary Roughness
2 Def TB 37 1 10 -5 Lansanah, Neutral Zone Infraction
2 3 ST Ten 25 4 25 -10 Banks, Illegal Block above the waist; Negated a Rainey run back to the Tenn 24, Enforced at the Tenn 43, and forced the Bucs to start at TB 47.  We were already in FG range without the penalty.  This was a 13 yard penalty due to where the penalty was enforced.
4 Off TB 38 1 10 -5 RT Cherilus, False start (near end of half - not important)
5 Off TB 33 1 15 0 LT Smith, Holding - OFFSETTING with coinciding Tenn Penalty (near end of half - not important)
3 6 Off TB 43 1 10 -10 RT Cherilus, Holding.  Negates Martin run for 8 yards.
7 Def TB 17 3 6 -16 CB Verner, Defensive PI.
8 Off TB 20 1 10 -10 LG Mankins, Holding.  Negated Martin run for 11 yards.
9 Off TB 2 1 10 -1 TE Sefarian-Jenkins, False start.
10 Off TB 1 1 11 0 RT Cherilus, illegal formation. DECLINED.  RB Lane ran for 0 (Zero) yards.
4 11 Off Ten 44 3 4 -5 Illegal Formation.  Negated RB Sims pass catch for 9 yards.  Did not prevent scoring on this drive.
12 Off Ten 7 4 7 -10 WR Vjax, Offensive PI.  Negated Vjax TD catch.
13 Off Ten 1 1 Goal -5 Illegal Formation.  Negated RB Rainey run of 0 (Zero) yards.  Pushed the team back from the touchdown line. Bad… very bad.
14 Off Ten 11 4 Goal -5 RT Cherilus, False Start.  We're going backwards… again.
Total Penalty Yards -97

97 negative yards are due to Tampa Bay penalties. To give perspective, with the 225 net yards on offense, 97 penalty yards represents about 43% of the yards of the net yards generated on offense.

Tennessee had 8 penalties called for 55 yards.

Conclusion

The defense were giving out touchdowns like they were candy for Halloween, the offense was thrown off its game of focusing on running game with Martin looking good 4.7 yards per attempt average, and penalties are devastating, especially to an offense needed a lot of help with a rookie at its helm. With the big hoopla surrounding about Lovie Smith taking full control over calling the defensive plays, it makes one wonder if Lovie deceived his own self and his capabilities.

I was completely wrong about the defense maintaining or exceeding its top 10 like performance this year from last year. Then again, I did not expect Lovie to ruin his own defensive creation all in one game. Yet, at the same time, I had complained why there was not a lot of vitriol on Lovie Smith for what transpired last year.

It was just one game. Is that like saying on the first Tennessee drive of the game that it was just one long 89 yard drive that concluded in a touchdown? Great. Our defensive guru Lovie Smith will make adjustments. Four drives later, the Titans score three more touchdowns on offense. To add insult to injury, Tennessee's first drive in the second half lead to another long drive and another touchdown.

Defense is supposed to be the staple to this Tampa team. Without that defense, new OC Koetter must be thinking he never left Atlanta and somehow muster a potent offense with a rookie QB. Winston is that - a rookie QB. That defense needs to help out the rookie QB and not spot the opposing team four touchdowns out of the first five drives it has; not the rookie QB trying to bail out a porous defense in the NFL. If our defense allows New Orleans to run up the score like Tennessee or worse, then Lovie needs to give the play calling back to Leslie Frazier.