Before kickoff, it was pretty clear that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would struggle offensively.
They were already playing the Baltimore Ravens - one of the league’s best defensive teams - at home. To make things worse, the weather decided it would play defense on Sunday as well.
To say that the Bucs struggled in the cold, wind, and rain would be an understatement.
Let’s break it all down in this week’s final grades.
So yea, about that offensive performance.
At 241 total yards, this was the Bucs’ lowest offensive output of the season. Jameis Winston finished with just 157 yards through the air and 64 of those came on the long pass to Mike Evans.
It’s not like his receivers helped him much, either. Chris Godwin dropped a potential touchdown on the first drive of the game and Evans dropped a couple that would’ve moved the chains as well.
The Ravens were able to control Winston on the ground as well. He had carried the ball 17 times for 119 yards (7.0 ypc) in the previous three games. He had two carries for zero yards on Sunday.
Tampa Bay finished the game with 12 first downs, went 3/10 on third down, and held the ball for just 22 minutes. They did score a touchdown on their one red zone opportunity, though.
The lone bright spot was Peyton Barber. He kept the Bucs in the game and even helped dictate game flow in the first half. With just over 12 minutes to play in the second quarter, he had 11 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Tampa Bay led 6-0 at that point. Coincidence? I think not.
What raises eyebrows is the fact that he finished with 19 carries for 85 yards. So, over the course of the remaining 42 minutes of the game, he received just eight carries.
We’ll get to that later in the coaching section. But it boggles the mind that Barber didn’t continue to receive a steady flow of carries.
The offensive line played OK. The were able to open some running lanes and only gave up one sack, but Winston was pressured on close to 25% of his drop backs.
The worst offensive output of the season usually gets the worst grade and rightfully so.
Final Grade: 0.5 (F)
The best way to think about Sunday’s defensive performance is this: imagine stepping in front of a Mack truck over and over again, except you think you can stop it from splattering your puny body all over the interstate.
That’s what happened to Tampa Bay.
Baltimore was blanked in the first quarter and held the ball for just six minutes. But things fell apart from the second quarter on. The defense allowed the Ravens to go on scoring drives of 8:10, 4:57, and 7:11. Baltimore held the ball for 31 of the final 45 minutes.
The Ravens destroyed them on the ground to the tune of 242 yards - easily the worst total of the season.
It doesn’t stop there, either. Tampa Bay gave up 12 plays of 10 yards or more and allowed the Ravens to go 9/16 on third down. They also allowed four straight drives that ended with a either a field goal or a touchdown.
The field goal right before halftime was a killer as well. Chunk plays were handed out on the drive and it culminated in a 10-9 deficit entering halftime. Allowing that field goal became an even bigger deal after the Ravens came out and immediately scored a touchdown on the first drive of the second half.
Tackling was also an issue. There were plenty of instances where the Bucs had a bead on a Raven, but couldn’t bring him down.
But it wasn’t all bad. They were able to take down Lamar Jackson twice, force two turnovers, and put consistent pressure on Jackson a lot. Lavonte David was all over the place and made one of his best tackles of the year on Jackson inside the five-yard line.
Bonus morning clip - Lavonte David playing disciplined football against a runner in the open field. Start-Stop-Shuffle-Tackle. Reminiscent of the great Derrick Brooks vs. Michael Vick. Great work. #Bucsfilm2018wk15 pic.twitter.com/8S7j5mxwU0— Steven Cheah (@CHEAH_SAY) December 19, 2018
Nevertheless, it was a poor performance overall.
Final Grade: 1.5 (D)
Things got off to the absolute worst start for this unit after Garrison Sanborn’s snap ricocheted off of Bryan Anger’s hands during the Bucs’ only extra point attempt of the game. Baltimore was able to chase down the loose ball and recover it to prevent Tampa Bay from converting.
But they recovered pretty well after the debacle. Cairo Santos hit both of his field goal attempts with ease.
There was another instance where Tampa Bay allowed a 32-yard return on a kickoff in the third quarter.
The botched snap and the big return is enough to sink this unit, but the two made field goals allows it to keep its head above water for the week.
Final Grade: 2.0 (C)
I really don’t know what in the hell this staff was thinking for 3⁄4 of the game.
As mentioned earlier, the Bucs completely abandoned the running game from the second quarter on. Of the eight carries that Barber received over the remaining course of the game, four of those came on the drive after the Ravens scored to make the game 20-12.
Oh, and he was the only running back to record a carry for the Bucs in this game. So that means the Bucs ran the ball just eight times over from the second quarter until the end of the game.
That alone is enough for a failing grade. The running game was obviously working and the Bucs never trailed by more than one score throughout contest’s entirety.
Another confusing coaching situation was Mark Duffner’s strategy before halftime. He had the defense just sit back in zone and it allowed Jackson to drive right down the field and take the lead back. There were multiple instances where he was clearly out-schemed by the Ravens offensive staff.
Not all of the blame goes toward the staff, but most of it does.
Final Grade: 1.0 (D)
Overall Grade: 1.25
It was a performance that was as dreary as the weather. But that’s to be expected from this team at this point. Now it’s just a matter of where the Bucs will pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.