Josh Freeman

Freeman Leads A Comeback (Except In Reverse)

December 06, 2010 at 11:09am by Scott   •  13 Comments »

You got your ass kicked by a dude wearing creamcicle orange.
For the fifth time this year, the Bucs lost to a team with a winning record, and for the third time in a row, they kept it close. That makes the loss hurt worse, but it’s still good news for the future. It’s nice not getting blown out anymore

Josh Freeman didn’t have a great game, although I thought it was better than Baltimore. He was off on a lot of passes (especially to Arrelious Benn, whom he evidently needs to develop better chemistry with) and made some bad decisions, one particular one being his decision to not just run a couple yards for a first down and instead throw the ball to Cadillac Williams who fell down while getting open. Can’t we learn anything from Brett Favre‘s playoff game last year? He missed Micheal Spurlock and missed Ryan Purvis and got picked a couple times (even though that one got reversed, it doesn’t make the decision to throw it any better). His receivers dropped a couple and he did make a couple nice throws, but in the end it was a second game where he looked human. A GIANT HUMAN WALKING THE EARTH. Also, I love it when a quarterback gets called for a personal foul. The game was essentially over at that point anyway, why not blast the guy who picked you off?

I made fun of the reporters who were comparing LeGarrette Blount to Mike Alstott after one game (remember the “B-Train”?), but every time he drags tacklers around for ten yards, you can’t help but see the similarities. Blount is still hesitant on some carries and lets the penetration get to him in the backfield, but that should go away with experience. Cadillac Williams is pretty much an afterthought in the running game now and spends the bulk of his snaps in pass protection. And Earnest Graham threw a touchdown pass, which I thought was awesome at the time, but then when the game was over I remembered that play and realized they probably couldn’t run it again this season and that it was kind of wasted on a loss. It was set up perfectly, too. There was no one on the right side of the field. Graham could have done The Worm into the endzone before anyone touched him down.

Mike Williams was targeted 14 times by Josh Freeman. He caught five of them for 59 yards, which is still a good day, but maybe, I dunno, spread that thing out a little more. Kellen Winslow, still the best receiver on the team, was targeted four times and caught three for 26 yards. I think other teams have figured out that Williams is the #1 receiver and are taking him away. Seven different receivers caught the ball and eight were targeted, but it just seems like Freeman is forcing it to Williams when there are other options on any given play. Maybe if Freeman had thrown better balls I wouldn’t be thinking this way.

Benn’s 28-yard run after the catch was brilliant. It’s no wonder they want to get the ball into his hands more. That kid has a long stride. It looked like he was covering five yards with every step. And Sammie Stroughter‘s catch while falling backwards was, no shit, one of the best catches of the season. It’s not going to be on a highlight reel because it wasn’t one-handed or a toe-tapper on the sideline, but it was brilliant.

The only problem I saw with the offensive line was when Ted Larsen got blown up by Jonathan Babineaux and Freeman got sacked. Otherwise, aside from some pressure here and there, they looked pretty good. Blount had a good day running the ball and Freeman stayed pretty clean (officially the Falcons had 3 QB hits). It was especially impressive since Jeff Faine went out for a while and had to be replaced by Jeremy Zuttah, which made Derek Hardman come in at right guard. Despite all the changes, there were no penalties called on the offensive line. I thought it was a good game up front.

Up front by the offense, I mean. Up front on defense seemed to be lacking. Gerald McCoy, specifically had a bad game. No sacks, no tackles, and a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty which took the Falcons out of 3rd and 17 to give them an automatic first down on a drive that ended with a touchdown. Matt Ryan wasn’t sacked at all. The best thing you can say is that Michael Turner only rushed for 88 yards (3.7 YPC), which is an improvement over the last Falcons game, but this game still felt like a step backwards for the defensive line.

If Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber don’t drop their interceptions, I think the Bucs win this one. That said, I thought it was a great game by the secondary except for Myron Lewis, who got beaten for a touchdown to Michael Jenkins even though it wasn’t a great pass by Ryan. After Talib went down, E.J. Biggers filled in for him and did an excellent job. The only real big play he let Roddy White have was a 25-yarder in the fourth quarter. Sean Jones got his first interception and had a nice runback while Corey Lynch filled in pretty well for Cody Grimm and even had an interception of his own. Ryan’s passer rating was 62.8, which is pretty bad for a guy as highly touted as he is.

Unless the rest of the NFC starts to fall apart, this game probably puts the nail in the coffin of the playoffs for the Bucs. They may go on a three game winning streak starting next week, but they have too much ground to make up and the tiebreakers don’t fall in their favor, either. I guess it could happen, but the Packers, Saints and Giants would all have to go on historic losing skids for the playoffs to be possible for the Bucs. The next few games are very winnable, though, and the Bucs could finish the season strong going into next year, which really helped them out this season. And the first person to start wishing for losses to get them a better draft pick in 2011 is getting kicked in the throat. You know it’s gonna happen.

13 Comments to “Freeman Leads A Comeback (Except In Reverse)”

Mark S

Mark S (December 06, 2010 at 11:31am:

I agree with everything you said Scott. Additionally, I thought they used the 3-3-5 alignment way too much. Freeman has been off for two games and I have to wonder if he is playing hurt.

I love Blount but he is no Alstott. For one thing he is not a short yardage back. In the chat yesterday, I said we should use Ernest Graham in short-yardage. They brought him in on the next play and Graham threw a TD. Talk about timing a comment. Totally fortuitous of course. Anyways I hope to see more Graham in short yardage.

PeaceDog5294

PeaceDog5294 (December 06, 2010 at 11:42am:

I still can’t get over that f-ing 102 yard kickoff return for a TD. Hard to believe it happened. Oh well.

Lots of shit can still happen over the last 4 weeks, though. The Eagles have a real tough go of it schedule wise, hopefully they pull the choke job. And I STILL can’t believe the Bears are where they are either.

Alas, once again I’m left hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

Louie

Louie (December 06, 2010 at 11:46am:

Yesterday was the first game the Bucs truely pissed away. The Bucs were up by 10 in the 4th quarter, AT HOME with all the momentum! The Bucs have their cleats on the bird’s throat and as Denny Green would say, “we let em off the hook”.

As shitty as the Bucs were last year, they were able to beat the Saints. With a better team this year, we can’t buy such a win. All we needed was one of those to make it to the playoffs.

Louie

Louie (December 06, 2010 at 11:54am:

…Correction: The Bucs beat 2 teams with a winning record last year. Green Bay was the other.

Darren47

Darren47 (December 06, 2010 at 12:28pm:

It was a heartbreaker, but I’m a bit more optimistic on the playoff front. We’re basically competing with the Gmen and Packers for the final spot – both those teams have significantly more challenging schedules than us and will have to face each other.

Packers have @ Lions, @ Pats, Gmen, Bears. Those are four dangerous games that could easily result in 2-2 or 1-3. Giants schedule isn’t great either – @ a better coached/playing Vikings, Philly at home, @Green Bay, @ Washington. I think they go 2-2.

We’re still alive and I expect the Bucs to play their best ball to close the season. 4-0 to finish isn’t out of the question…

Sander

Sander (December 06, 2010 at 12:39pm:

Why is everyone pretending the Saints game is an automatic loss?

Scott

Scott (December 06, 2010 at 12:45pm:

I don’t think it’s an automatic loss, I’m just not willing to put it in the category of “probably win” like I am the other three.

Crunchy4582

Crunchy4582 (December 06, 2010 at 12:53pm:

@Sander, I agree. I have it as a maybe, we’ll see how they play the next few weeks.

This season is going by really fast IMO. Probably bc last season felt like an eternity of fail.

Sander

Sander (December 06, 2010 at 02:38pm:

Well, everyone’s talking gloom and doom about the playoffs. But beat the Saints, and you’re likely in if you beat 2/3 in Washington, Detroit and Seattle.

TheBrainStem

TheBrainStem (December 06, 2010 at 02:51pm:

Why did the bucs have to call the 2nd timeout on defense early in the game? Did they have too many players on the field. There is steady improvement over the last couple weeks in stopping the run and they were already top 10 against the pass. Its an encouraging sign, but also a sign that “Consistency” 1 Year, “Legitimate Playoff Team” 2 years.

Louie

Louie (December 06, 2010 at 05:57pm:

Faine and Talib are lost for the season. Running the table just got that much harder.

Aesir_B

Aesir_Belgium (December 06, 2010 at 08:42pm:

@Brainstem: Looked like Talib of all people called that 2nd timeout, or he may have been doing it on someone elses behalf.

I was really optimistic and could definitely see us winning out. Lets face it, we OWN the Saints late season in the Superdome. However now with the double blow of Talib + Faine though, I’m not so sure we’ll even reach that hyped ten win total.

This many changes on the O-line is a minor disaster. Freeman has been just slightly off last couple of weeks, and you can’t tell me the game of musical chairs on the O-line isn’t partly responsible for that. Talib’s loss-> Biggers obviously has skills, but Myron Lewis is still raw.

We had that game won, it was ours we had them down for the count and we gave it to them. This one was fucking brutal and I hate seeing that team win. I just can’t stand and I loathe the Falcons on so many levels, the Denny Green quote and emotion is the perfect description of my sentiments about this loss.

Oh and for the record, I loved Freeman trying to take that butterfingered cheating little fuck’s head off.

cgi shark attack

cgi shark attack (December 07, 2010 at 04:25am:

1ST GAME I’VE BEEN ABLE TO WATCH ALL SEASON!!!!1

(end caps)

I look at Atlanta and I see what the future has in store for us. Not journeymen or mercenaries (on O, I’m speaking of)
but players that are still pretty young and have had that time to gel together.

We’ve had these assholes on the ropes both times this season, but this team is so young. The losses kill me, but when I actually see what these kids can do… gonna be some good years for the Buccos.

Also – Gotta give it up for Josh knocking the shit out of that Hines Ward wannabe. BEAST.

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