Week 16 game and went for the Buccaneers as they took another loss on the chin. Dirk Koetter gave one of the most questionable answers as to why he chose to let the team take a delay of game in team history and the Buccaneers turned the ball over twice to more than do themselves in against the Cowboys. We’ll catch up with some day after reactions on the offense, defense and questionable coaching, yes again, that took place on Sunday.
Despite a return of the air attack, the offense had little to show for their efforts.
Jameis Winston had some success through the air against Dallas thanks to some help from Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and captain checkdown, Jacquizz Rodgers. The three combined for 224 yards receiving on 23 catches (29 targets). Winston was under duress for a good part of this game. The Cowboys sacked Winston three times in the ball with one resulting in a fumble. Ali Marpet was beat badly on one particular sack and Donovan Smith played a role on another. The offensive line was abused and it’s beginning to look a lot like the Buccaneers will need to upgrade two if not three offensive line positions. Smith has looked far from a starting caliber left tackle in the league for the better part of this season in what is a contract year for him. Caleb Benenoch arguably shouldn’t be sniffing a starting line up let alone an active roster and Demar Dotson is aging and showing it. Winston himself did have some poor throws in this one, none that stick out more than a deep ball to DeSean Jackson who had the defensive backs beat but the ball was under thrown and nearly intercepted as a result. Winston would later be charged with a second fumble on what should have been an easy hand off to Bobo Wilson who muffed the transition.
The running game was non existent and in turn, did nothing to compliment the passing attack. Barber and Rodgers worked split duty and despite combined for 10 receptions and 68 yards, the two did nothing on the ground at all. Barber ran behind a dreadful line for 43 yards on his 17 carries with a long run of 8. Barber had a great run called back in the 2nd half for, you guessed it, offensive holding. The offensive line shot this team in the foot multiple times in this ball game. The truth is, no running back is going to have success consistently when they are met at the line or in the backfield with defenders and that is exactly what Peyton Barber deals with on a weekly basis.
The defense came to play, led by the line.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib each had big plays in the backfield despite not recording sacks in the game. Vita Vea balled out and managed to make it home twice, with one of the sacks being negated by a face mask penalty. Overall, Dallas only ran 50 total plays to Tampa Bays 75 but it didn’t matter thanks to Dallas scoring on two Tampa turnovers. Jaylon Smith returned a fumble for a touchdown in the 1st quarter and never looked back as they maintained the lead throughout. The second Dallas touchdown came against the Buccaneers defense, again following a turnover, that saw Dallas start at the Tampa Bay 4 yard line. Two plays later and they were in the end zone. Brent Grimes struggled in this game both against the pass, giving up an important third down catch uncontested in the 4th quarter and again as he lost containment on a run by Ezekiel Elliott. Sticking with the Buccaneers pass defense, in total they allowed 80% of Dak Prescott’s passes to be completed. Prescott ran for one touchdown and threw for another in the ballgame.
The Buccaneers run defense did a good job overall keeping the Cowboys under 100 yards on the ground. When all was said and done, Dallas ran the ball 24 times for 80 yards. Vita Vea, Carl Nassib and Jason Pierre-Paul all made stops in the backfield while Jordan Whitehead held down the next level with 7 solo tackles.
Overall, the defense played well. Carlton Davis was lined up across from Amari Cooper for most of the afternoon and did exceptionally well as Cooper finished with 4 catches for 20 yards. Brent Grimes had another mediocre to potentially poor game which has been the norm for him since late last season. Andrew Adams did an admiral job as he was tied for the team lead with 7 tackles. What Mark Duffner has managed to get out of this defense, the same defense that many claimed was talent-less under Mike Smith, has been a pleasant surprise.
The head ball coach has earned his ticket out of here.
Dirk Koetter had an awful game as head coach... again. Questionable calls have been a staple of Dirk Koetter’s game management and play call decisions. This ball game can be summed up coaching wise with two delay of games, one of which was saved by a Dallas delay of game, and a 2 and 12 screen hand off to Bobo Wilson who was on the practice squad not long ago but is now being schemed into the game play more often than DeSean Jackson it seems. We’re going to center my disdain for this staff around Dirk Koetter’s response to why he allowed the team to take a delay of game inside the 3 yard line late in this match up. “I did think about a timeout and I saw the clock. We were gonna throw it anyway, I just didn’t know about using the timeout and sometimes being back further gives you more route options anyway, so...I also thought we were gonna get the ball snapped so...”, end quote. You read that right, Dirk Koetter said they were going to throw it anyway so let’s take the yards back and open up space. REALLY DIRK? REALLY? How about line it up and get creative like the other NFL teams do week in and week out from inside the 5? Not the Buccaneers though. Why get creative when you can take a penalty and give your offense more yards to work with? How about this Dirk, take several penalties and back it up so we can run another 4 wide time consuming drop back so Jameis can get sacked again while no receiver gets open quick enough? Dirk Koetter has earned this loss yesterday. He has also earned a one way ticket home out of this town... for good. Folks, your teams head coach is in over his head and has been. The time has come, one more game and this team can rinse itself clean of Dirk and his antics. Good riddance.