The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line has been a source of concern for years and years and years. In fact, I can remember exactly one year in which it was not a cause for concern (2012) — and a year later, that line had completely collapsed as well.
So it is now, so it forever will be, perhaps. On Sunday, though, the Buccaneers offensive line had a pretty solid game. Per Pro Football Focus:
The Bucs offensive line had arguably their best game of the season, allowing just 7 total QB pressures on Sunday. However, LT Donovan Smith still allowed 2 QB hurries, maintaining his league lead in total QB pressures allowed at 29. His 22 QB hurries allowed are tied for 3rd most in the NFL this season.
Even on a good day, Donovan Smith has his struggles. I thought he mostly played well after re-watching the game, but there are always a few plays in every game where he gets beat — which is not all that special, that’s true for most left tackles, really.
Part of the reason why the Bucs had such a good game running the ball was Luke Stocker. The veteran tight end returned after missing a couple of games with injury, and ended up on the field for 55% of the team’s offensive plays. He’s the strongest blocker the Bucs have at tight end or fullback, though he’s also the least likely to do any damage as a receiver.
Another thing that helps: sixth lineman Gosder Cherilus got a whopping 20 snaps, 27% of the total offensive plays. That’s some commitment to running the ball, but also a pretty big help for the line’s protection and run-blocking issues, of course.
Overall, though, we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from this one game. After all, the 49ers defense is, to put it mildly, absolutely, horrifyingly awful and not at all a benchmark for anyone’s play.