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Buccaneers offense is finding a groove

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The offense put up the most points of the season in against the San Francisco 49ers with 34. In the previous game, they only managed 17 points. Is this game just an aberration or a part of a trend the Buc fans can hope to see in future game?

As with most trends we need to compile some stats from this year to depict a trend, if any.

Offensive Drives
Opposing Defense vs Bucs Offense
Gm Team Drives Plays Yards RZ Pts 40 + yard Drives 50 + yard Drives 60 + yard Drives 70 + Yard Drives 80 + Yard Drives 90 + Yard Drives Totals
1 to 4 Avg 13 72 342.3 2.5 18 1 0.25 0 2 0 0.25 3.5
5 Car 12 74 325 4 17 0 2 1 1 0 0 4

A caveat to the Carolina game is the offense went 0 for 4 in the Red Zone. The offense scored only 9 points in four red zone visits, missing one FG. It also missed another FG outside the Red Zone. The only touchdown scored was from outside the Red Zone.

SF Defense vs Bucs Offense
Qtr Drive Plays Yards Result RZ Pts 40 + yard Drives 50 + yard Drives 60 + yard Drives 70 + Yard Drives 80 + Yard Drives 90 + Yard Drives Totals
1 1 7 37 Downs 0
2 5 38 Punt 0
3 3 5 INT 0
4 11 94 TD 1 7 1 1
* 5 6 53 FG 1 3 1 1
6 8 77 TD 1 7 1 1
7 1 -1 Half 0
8 3 -1 Punt 0
* 9 5 17 FG 1 3 0
* 10 6 27 TD 1 7 0
11 10 59 Missed FG 1 1
12 6 77 TD 7 1 1
13 5 17 Punt 0
Total 13 76 499 5 34 0 2 0 2 0 1 5

Five long drives is an improvement of one longer drive than the previous game and 1.5 more than the 1st Quarter Report average. That is a very good trend to see. Scoring three out of five Red Zone opportunities is also a good improvement!

Although the offense did double the scoring between the two recent games, the offense missed several chances in the Red Zone to increase the scoring. These two games are similar except for the scoring output. Let us investigate the play calling.

TB Bucs
2016 Offensive Plays Breakdown
Game Team Plays
Total Pass Pass % Run Run % W/L
1 Atlanta 60 32 53.3% 28 46.7% W
2 Arizona 76 52 68.4% 21 27.6% L
3 LA 82 58 70.7% 22 26.8% L
4 Denver 66 35 53.0% 26 39.4% L
5 Carolina 69 30 43.5% 37 53.6% W
6 SF 73 30 41.1% 41 56.2% W
Stats retrieved on ESPN Team Stats per Game page

The table above shows an interesting pattern. When the Bucs run more, then they increase their chances to win. In the two recent games, the Bucs were able to get their starting running back to earn over 100 yards.

There was no panic when the Bucs went down 14 points because the running was showing up early in the game. Part of the 14 point lead was due to an interception by the offense deep in their own zone.

Explosive Plays

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Explosive Plays
Game 5, Carolina
Drive Run (12+ yards) Pass (16+ yards) Drive Result
1 Rodgers, 12 Punt
2 Evans, 31 Punt
4 A. Smith, 30 TD
5 Rodgers, 45 FG
Barber, 14
6 Brate, 17 TD
Shepard, 19
11 Rodgers, 16 Missed FG
Shepard, 20
12 Shepard, 20 TD
Barber, 44

Only 17 points were generated from explosive plays. That means 17 other points must have came from somewhere else. Drives 9 and 10 occurred after induced turnovers by the special teams and defense, respectively. A botched punt return catch resulted into a fumble recovered by the Bucs at the SF 36 yard line. The defense forced a fumbled on a blitz by CB Jude Adjei-Barimah and recovered by Gerald McCoy at the SF 27 yard line. Those two turnovers produced 10 points in short yardage situations for the Bucs' offense.

Top 4 Metrics

Koetter's Top 4 Metrics, T4M: (I have altered #3 to include TFL's as another aspect of OLine failures.)

1.  Reduce Turnovers:                   1 (1 INT)

2.  Create explosive plays:            Runs > 12 yards = 5 ; Passes > 16 yards = 6

3.  Reduce sacks & TFLs:              2 Sacks;  7 TFLs

4.  Be great on third downs:          6 -€” 14 (42.8% successful rate for the opposing team)

From the T4M, it seems only metrics 1 and 2 were met. Yet, enough explosive plays lead to long drives, which ate up the clock. Also, the defense and special teams forcing turnovers to give the Bucs offense a shorter field to score points helped to increase the scoring for the team.

Conclusion

Koetter has found the correct combination to put the Bucs offense in a position to where it can help win games as well as not shoot themselves in the foot. By limiting turnovers, the offense is not putting the defense between a rock and a hard place. In fact, the offense is relying on good defensive play that way the offense is a complement than a detriment to the team.

Run the ball and run the ball effectively. Allow young Jameis Winston to be the assassin than the savior. Winston needs to hone his special skills in the Red Zone, where the field is shorter and windows even much smaller.