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Game 2 Drive Analysis: What a Difference a Week Makes

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Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

What once seemed like the end of the world for the Buccaneers and the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, now seems like something promising rising from those ashes left behind in Raymond James Stadium.

For this article, I will cover defensive drives against, offensive drives, and penalties. Since the sample points are quite limited, I will post last year's averages to give us fans perspectives - especially defensive perspective since it is the second year of a Lovie Smith defensive program.

Game 1 Drive Analysis:  Tampa, We Have a Problem

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

The bye split averages show improvement from last season. The first game of 2015 against Tennessee and rookie QB Marcus Mariota did limit the yards accrued, but gave up several long scoring drives. Let us peer into the second game of the season against division rival New Orleans Saints and QB Drew Brees.

TB Defense vs NO 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 8 45 Punt 1 1
2 4 -5 Punt 0
3 6 8 Punt 0
2 4 5 9 Punt 0
5 7 58 TD 7 1 1
6 1 -1 End half 0
3 7 5 14 INT 0
8 4 28 Fumble 0
9 14 80 TD 6 1 1
4 10 4 1 Missed FG 0 0
11 2 30 TD 6 0
12 1 9 Fumble
13 9 53 End Game 1 1
Total 13 70 329 19 1 2 0 0 1 0 4

This game is similar to how the defense played after the bye week.  Notice the yards accrued and points allowed. Those stats run akin to last year's defensive production after the bye week, which would have ranked in the top 10. The score would have been worse if the Bucs' offense did not fumble later in the game, giving the Saints some life.

Please note how only six points, not seven points, were scored after New Orleans scored a TD. After the 80 yard TD drive was given up, the special teams prevented a 2-point attempt. On the 11th drive where the Saints scored after a Doug Martin coughed up the ball on the New Orleans' 30 yard line, the Saints scored a TD, but the extra point attempt was blocked. While it just seemed like a meaningless point or two, those missing points paved way for a seven point cushion for the Bucs.

Comparing the two games of 2015.

TB Offense vs Opposing Defense
Team Drive Plays Yards Off Scoring 40 + yard Drives 50 + yard Drives 60 + yard Drives 70 + Yard Drives 80 + Yard Drives 90 + yard Drives Total
Ten 10 50 307 35 0 2 1 0 1 0 4
NO 13 70 329 19 1 2 0 0 1 0 4
Totals 23 120 636 54 1 4 1 0 2 0 8
Avg 11.50 60.00 318.00 27.00 0.500 2.000 0.500 0.000 1.000 0.000
Percent of drives over total number of drives 4.3% 17.4% 4.3% 0.0% 8.7% 0.0% 34.8%

Outside of the offensive scoring allowed, things look relatively the same with the first game.

Tennessee Offensive Play Calls:   Pass 16, Run 32

New Orleans Offensive Play Calls:  Pass 38, Run 27

The Bucs' defense also created 3 turnovers against the Saints whereas it created only one turnover facing the Titans. Adding to the joy, there was a pass rush to be praised as DE Jacquies Smith had three sacks and DT Gerald McCoy had one sack.

There were a lot of good things that happened at the Dome.

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. The offense this year seemed to have started where it left off from the previous season, but the offense was forced to deviate from its original game plan of relying on the run game when the defense kept allowing the Titans to simple score at ease drive after drive.

TB Offense vs NO 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 7 49 Punt 1 1
2 5 4 FG 3 0
2 3 3 8 Punt 0
4 7 20 Missed FG 0 0
5 6 69 TD 7 1 1
3 6 4 80 TD 7 1 1
7 10 31 FG 3 0
8 5 57 FG 3 1 1
4 9 3 5 Fumble 0
10 1 -2 Fumble 0
11 8 14 Punt 0
12 5 21 FG 3 0
Total 64 356 26 1 1 1 0 1 0 4

This chart makes me shed a tear of happiness as the offense increased plays, yards accrued, scoring, and long drives compared to the 2014 - 2015 season's lack of production. And to think the offense left points on the field.

TB Offense vs Opposing Defense
Team Drive Plays Yards Off Scoring 40 + yard Drives 50 + yard Drives 60 + yard Drives 70 + Yard Drives 80 + Yard Drives 90 + yard Drives Total
Ten 12 63 225 14 1 0 1 1 0 0 3
NO 12 64 356 26 1 1 1 0 1 0 4
Totals 24 127 581 40 2 1 2 1 1 0 7
Avg 12.00 63.50 290.50 20.00 1.000 0.500 1.000 0.500 0.500 0.000
Percent of drives over total number of drives 8.3% 4.2% 8.3% 4.2% 4.2% 0.0% 29.2%

Tampa Bay Offensive Play Calling vs. Tennessee: Pass 33, Run 26.

Tampa Bay Offensive Play Calling vs. New Orleans: Pass 21, Run 35.

The offense was able to flip the way it called the plays, and a huge kudos to the defense. Watch OC Dirk Koetter's interview on the Buccaneers' official website discussing about the offense as I left a link in the next section.

Penalties

There were 11 penalties called. The breakdown of the 11 penalties called is as follows: offense - 7, defense - 4, and ST - 0.

From the Buccaneers official website, I liked what OC Koetter said about certain offensive penalties, "It's one thing to get a hustle penalty... but the two holdings on the screens...  that's not a hustle play, that's a senseless play."

TB v NO, TB PENALTIES
Qtr # Off /Def /ST Location Down Yards to go Penalty Yards Comment
1 1 Def TB 40 1 10 -5 DT McDonalt, Encroachment
2 Def NO 12 2 5 -5 CB Jennings, Def. Holding
3 Off NO 40 1 10 -10 LT Smith, Off Holding.
4 Off NO 37 3 7 -10 TE Sefarian-Jenkins, Off Holding.  Negated Sims Catch-Run for 12 yards. (Pen 3 and 4 still scored 3 pts from 55 yd FG)
2 5 Off NO 39 1 10 -10 TE Sefarian-Jenkins, Off Holding
6 Off TB 37 2 10 -5 LT Smith, False Start
7 Off NO 33 1 10 -5 LG Mankins, False Start
3 8 Off NO 19 1 10 -10 WR Evans, Holding.  Negated Martin run for 2 yards.
9 Off TB 26 3 20 -10 C Hawley, Tripping.  Negated Martin pass run for 16 yards.
10 Def NO 24 1 10 -15 DE Smith, roughing the passer.
11 Def NO 50 1 10 -5 DE Smith, Def Offsides.  Negated a fumble recovery by S Conte (but the fumble was caused by DE Smith).
Total Penalty Yards -90

Conclusion

Good play everywhere. The offense was able to dictate its own play calling as opposed to become one-dimensional due to the score. The special teams was special as it prevented a 2-point conversion, blocked an extra point, and kicker Kyle Brindza not only scored 14 points, but limited the run backs on kickoffs. The defense produced pass rush, turnovers, limited scoring, and held onto a lead in the fourth quarter. Recall, last season the team had six games where the defense blew fourth quarter leads.

The ability to shut down an opposing offense and holding onto a lead at the end of the game was the biggest concern with me from last season. Knowing the defense can achieve that aspect of the game gives confidences not only to the players, but a fan like me who noticed the terrible trend last year.