That Was Ugly

By every single statistical measurement the Bucs should have won today's game. Instead the Bucs committed a litany of mistakes and gave the game to an inferior Lions team. Let's count the way things went wrong.
  1. Fumble by Jeff Garcia which was fortunately reversed
  2. Lions block Josh Bidwell punt
  3. Garcia fumbles AGAIN, this one was not over turned
  4. Garcia fumbled a third time, this time at the goal line
  5. Bucs defense allows Calvin Johnson to run 30 yards on reverse for a TD
  6. A total of 6 penalties on the offensive line including 3 on Jeremy Trueblood
It's painful to focus on the Calvin Johnson play since he was so close to being a Buc but that 30 yard run touchdown really stands for me as the difference between the Lions and the Bucs. Obviously if Megatron does not get that touchdown the Bucs win the game but more imporantly it points out the lack of play makers on the offense for the Bucs. With the exception of Mr. Grey Beard aka Joey Galloway the Bucs don't have an offensive weapon who can turn the game around a la Calvin Johnson. Chris Collinsworth commented on NBC's over produced Football Night in America that the Bucs reminded him of the Jets, a team that dinks and dunks but does nothing outstanding. (Tiki Barber disagreed with that sentiment but then again as Eli Manning pointed Tiki's opinions aren't worth the paper they're printed on.) Garcia has been effecient but with the loss of Cadillac, Michael Pittman, Alex Smith and now Michael Clayton the Bucs don't have a lot of play makers left on the offense.

+ Earnest Graham making a surprising showing as a receiver w/ 13 receptions for 99 yards
+ Ike Hilliard, whom the Lions went w/ the unusual strategy of leaving uncovered
+ the Bucs D which did well limiting the Lions offense to 23 points
+ on side kick #1: 1st time i've seen that kick formation and surprisingly it worked

- everything i listed above
- where was Joey Galloway? only 5 catches for 46 yards

I'm heading down to Tampa for the Jaguars game next week, a matchup I'm not feeling at all confident about the Bucs chances to win.


T.K. said...

I'm not nearly as down as you are on our chances next week against Jacksonville, Ski. Jacksonville's offense is the twin terrors at running back and a whole lot of nothing after that. The game's in the Ship so we'll at least be able to feed off the energy of the crowd, and I have a feeling Jacksonville will be prime for a letdown after getting jacked for Indianapolis in their house tomorrow night (and hopefully winning; Jacksonville destroyed them at home last year with essentially the same offense).

Still, you're absolutely right; this is one of those games that might kill us at the end of the year if we're in a nitty-gritty race for a playoff spot. By all accounts we should not only have won but run the Lions out of their stadium. I bet Gruden will work them extra hard on ball security this week.

(And BTW, I wouldn't even blame Garcia for all the fumbles. The tuck-rule INC on the first one was the correct call because the rule doesn't mention anything about the intent of the quarterback. The second fumble was Graham's fault; it's his responsibility to secure the ball. You might be able to blame Garcia for the third one, but the crack FOX team prevented us from getting a good look at it by not showing any good replays.)

Ski said...

Yep, you can prob blame Graham for that second fumble which speaks to the importance of having a runningback who is comfortable with the quarterback and vice versa. Before about four weeks ago I doubt Graham has received many snaps with Garcia and the rest of the first team.

Read on the St Pete Times blog that after the game John Wade took the blame for that third fumble at the goal line. But Garcia also took blame so it's somewhat comforting to see both guys step up.

Good point, traveling on a short week is never easy even if it's only traveling down state. And it helps the Jags will be coming off the biggest game of the season for Jacksonville. The Bucs match up poorly against power running teams like the Jags though and MJD is just finding his mojo so this weeks game could be a repeat of the Titans game where it will come down to a few lucky plays.

Anonymous said...

I read Jeremy Trueblood had severe flu and was very ill. Might be why he was not up to his best!

T.K. said...

Well, it hopefully just got easier next week.

Garrard may miss up to a month

Note to Monte Kiffin: Stacking the box against this team would be a good idea. ;-)

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