The Tampa Bay Buccaneers throttled the Cleveland Browns on Friday night, 30-13. Many times when you watch a game live, your emotions and passion for the game may make you miss key moments. That’s why your old friend DLT is hear to help. This is After Further Review – where we let you know what we missed and what we got right from this week’s game.
So my fellow Bucs fanatics, that’s how you want to see your team performance in their last pre-season tune up, is it not? Sure, the Bucs have one more pre-season game to play against the Washington franchise and there is certainly plenty of guys that will be playing for their livelihood in that game – but for all intents and purposes, this was the last we see Jameis and the boys before Atlanta on September 11.
As is my custom, I’ve re-watched the game and can tell you there were some things that I missed during the heat of battle.
What I Got Right
Yep, Brent Grimes struggled as much as I thought he did. On Josh Gordon’s first long reception, Grimes bit hard on a double move and Gordon sped past him opening up as much as a 20 yard gap between receiver and the man who was supposed to be covering him. I still don’t know if Chris Conte was supposed to provide help over the top but once the play was over, Grimes didn’t appear to cast any blame Conte’s way.
Gordon’s touchdown reception was even more concerning as Grimes appeared to have tight coverage (better coverage than any corner in Lovie’s defense, I can tell you that), but Gordon just beasted him, tossing him aside like a rag doll, going up and making a play on the football. If you listened real close, you could hear Julio Jones screaming “Hell yeah,” from his palatial estate in the Atlanta suburbs. By the way, there could have been an offensive PI on that call as Gordon blatantly pushed off of Grimes but that kind of thing happens from time-to-time in the NFL.
It didn’t get much better for Grimes after Cleveland put in their second team. Taylor Gabriel, he of 64 career receptions, looked unstoppable until Grimes left the game with an injury.
Now, this isn’t to say I’m down on Brent Grimes. I still think he’s a good football player. He just had an awful night. Guys have that. Hopefully he got it out of his system in this last pre-season game and will be stronger in the regular season.
What I Got Wrong
I thought the Bucs had a so-so night running the football when I watched the game live but after re-watching the game – Tampa Bay actually did a pretty good job at toting the rock. The problem was, Jameis was so en fuego, Tampa Bay just had to keep slinging it around. When the Bucs did run the ball, they could expect 4-5 yards a carry (The Dougernaut broke off a nifty 14 yard scamper in limited action).
Needless to say, the Browns won’t make anyone forget the Denver Broncos defense, but it was good to see a running game that was stuck in neutral finally getting on track in their last real tuneup.
I guess Jim Nantz gave us a “What the Buc” when he saw Cleveland at Tampa Bay pre-season game on the CBS national schedule. We got Ian Eagle, whose a pretty decent play-by-play guy. Phil Simms did make the trip down to Tampa and while complaining about the heat, he did give us a few decent nuggets.
Simms talked about Jameis’ gunslinger mentality and how Dirk Koetter is a rare coach who doesn’t harp on turnovers. Per Simms, Koetter knows that to be aggressive and get the big plays in the passing game, you’re going to have mistakes. Lovie, as we all know, was the polar opposite.
CBS also had a very nice half-time feature on Bucs rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo’s family, who are Mexican immigrants.
The What the Buc Moment of the Game
This week’s WTB moment had to be when Jameis hit Mike Evans in perfect stride and Evans just kinda glided out of bounds when he had a clear path to the endzone. It didn’t look like a business decision, just Evans lost where he was on the field and before he realized it he trotted out of bounds.
Perhaps he was mezmorized by the ridonkulous jumbotron in the endzone. Yes Mike, as beautiful as those things are, they’re still not real time.
Runner up: Andy Lee making a business decision on Adam Humphries 72 yard punt return for a touchdown, then limping over to the coach like he had a cramp.
Around the Dirty South
Atlanta didn’t look very good against the Miami Dolphins. Matty Ice returned to his red zone turnover ways (thank the football gods for Kyle Shannahan) and the Falcons defense made Ryan Tannehill look like a capable NFL QB.
The Saints were the Saints. Defense was terrible and Drew Brees (or Boo Bees as Mean Gene Deckerhoff calls him) threw for a bunch of yards and touchdowns in a loss.
The Panthers looked absolutely disinterested in playing their pre-season game against the Patriots.
Were the Bucs as Good/Bad as They Looked?
Yes, the Bucs played a great game in all three phases. Dominant on defense, nigh unstoppable on offense (until Captain Checkdown came into the game) and the special teams contributed field goals and big returns to help the Bucs on the scoreboard.
Of course, it’s against Cleveland in the pre-season so we should all keep this in perspective. Cleveland dog slapped the Bucs 30-7 last year and went on to win a whopping 3 games.
The Bucs host their final Pre-season game of the season against Washington. Unfortunately, this game coincides with an out of town trip for me, so I likely won’t be able to do a re-watch until Monday…and by then no one will care. So the next After Further Review will come after the Bucs take on the Falcons with the bullets flying for real.
Photo credit to Cliff Welch / Pewter Report.