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The Bucs' special teams looked much improved in week one

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a very good start to the season on special teams -- much better than most expected.

Kick offs

Part of the appeal of kicker Roberto Aguayo was his ability to do mortar kicks. Mortar kicks sounds exactly what it should sound like -€” kicking the ball high, but shorter than the end zone to mitigate large gains on the kick return in hopes of pinning the opposing team deep in their own territory. Let us look into what transpired in the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kickoff Stats
Game 1, Atlanta
Att Yards Touchback LOS LOS Ret
1 72 19 19
2 65 1 25
3 65 1 25
4 65 1 25
5 69 21 21
6 70 29 29
Average 67.7 24 23
Note: 65 yards is the goal line.

There were no mortar kicks by design here as most mortar kicks would fall before the goal line, or the 65 yard length in the kicking distance. I did a separate column when the opposition did decide to return the ball out from the end zone. The average of the three resulted on the 23 yard line, two yards shy of the designated 25 yard line touch back rule. It appears as though our coverage team got worse with each kick return opportunity.


I really did not pay much attention to the whole special teams stats in previous years. When ESPN did their metric on extra added points (EPA) for special teams and had us ranked last for the previous season, maybe there is something here worthwhile looking into.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Punting Stats
Game 1, Atlanta
Att TB LOS Punt Return Opp LOS IN 20 Ensing Opp Drive Result
1 32 45 13 36 Punt
2 9 52 0 39 FG
3 33 52 0 15 1 Punt
4 12 57 9 40 FG
5 50 41 0 9 1 Downs
LOS = Line of Scrimmage; Opp = Opposition

Punter Bryan Anger deserves some praise for his work in this game. Twice were the Bucs were forced to punt deep in their zone and both times Anger booted over 50 yards. Also, Anger pinned the Falcons inside the 20 yard line twice, including Atlanta's last possession that started them at the 9 yard line. That means the Falcons had to traverse 91 yards in 1:44 with no time outs due to Anger's leg.

Although it was Gerald McCoy and company who thwarted the Falcons' offense for the win, it was Anger who pinned the Falcons offense so deep into their zone for that added cushion.

Field Goals and Extra Points

Roberto Aguayo was 1 for 1 in field goals made and 4 for 4 in extra points. The field goal attempt was a 43 yards field to help the Bucs start the scoring. Maybe there is some truth as to who is holding the football when Aguayo kicks for points?


Aguayo was perfect in scoring for the Bucs. The kickoff coverage seems suspect. Anger's work might have gone amiss with the splash plays of Jameis Winston,  Gerald McCoy, Kwon Alexander, or Lavonte David, but he bailed out our offense a couple of times for the inability to get out from the 20 yard line as well as forcing the Falcons to cover 91 yards in their last gasp for a comeback.