Josh Freeman

Bucs Are Over .500 In November

November 13, 2012 at 12:10am by Scott   •  13 Comments »

chargers2012

Well, what do you know. The Bucs can win even without Doug Martin running for a dozen touchdowns with the whole team on his back. This time with Martin running just enough to keep everyone out of his quarterback’s grill, Josh Freeman did it with efficient passing and a whole lot of help from the defense and special teams and Philip Rivers.

I have heard some criticism of the defensive line over this game, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. According to Gerald McCoy, the line was being asked to do too much stunting in the first half. When McCoy asked the coaches to let the line go up the field more, they said yes and the whole dynamic of the game changed. Rivers was under pressure for most of the second half, causing his passer rating to drop by almost 50 points from the first half. After the defensive line clamped down, the Bucs took the game over.

Part of the credit goes to the linebackers, too. I say this every week, but Lavonte David was everywhere and did everything. Sadly, Quincy Black was having his best game of the year before he sustained a neck injury and had to be carted off. And while Mason Foster did give up a touchdown in coverage, he got after Rivers quite a bit, sacking him once and also notching a tackle for loss.

The secondary continues to suck for a good portion of the game, then has a couple splash plays to make it all seem okay. It’s not all okay. E.J. Biggers gives up at least one touchdown every game. I think he’s a solid backup right now but not starting material. He has had good games, but not recently. Leonard Johnson is really starting to make a name for himself with three interceptions in three games. And that’s all well and good, but let’s not pretend yesterday’s interception was a great feat of coverage. He hauled in a desperation pass that Rivers just chucked up for no good reason. Remember Larry Brown picking off Neil O’Donnell? Yeah, that’s what happened. Johnson was the beneficiary of being where he was supposed to be, and that’s better than the alternative. But before we go crowning him Johnson Island (which would be a great name for a gay reality show), let’s let him play a few more games. But so far, so good. Do you want to know how little faith the Bucs have in Myron Lewis? LeQuan Lewis was put in instead of Myron and looked pretty sweet in his first action as a Buccaneer (besides fumbling a kickoff in the endzone). One interception (a better one than Johnson’s, even though the pass was underthrown) and another pass broke up in relatively limited playing time. Even Ronde Barber played some corner instead of putting Myron back on the field. Ahmad Black missed a couple tackles, Mark Barron was beaten for a couple completions… it just wasn’t consistent.

Mike Sullivan has just about given up the charade that he has any other running backs besides Martin. LeGarrette Blount had one run for 3 yards and D.J. Ware botched a direct snap that lost a yard. That’s it. Martin was everything else on the ground, with 68 rushing and another 51 receiving. Not as impressive as his last couple games, but it was enough to remind the Chargers who he was and that they needed to respect the run.

Josh Freeman was excellent. He only threw the ball 20 times (completing 14), but 2 of them went for touchdowns, none of them were picked and he ended the day with a passer rating of 137.5. With a productive running game, that’s all he needs to be. He’s more than a game manager, of course, but I think he is identifying his strengths (the long ball with a solid pocket) and playing to them. That’s the mark of a mature quarterback. He may not have thrown for 400 yards yesterday, but I really thought it was one of his best games as a pro.

And hats off to Dekota Watson and Adam Hayward for that blocked punt. There are fewer things more satisfying than seeing a punter get laid out on a perfectly legal play. They flop and draw so many bogus penalties so much, it’s nice to see one just get hammered every now and then. I know he looked hurt and he started staggering and shit, but he was well enough to continue punting and holding, so he’s fine. If you put on a helmet and take the field, you’re a target.

Awesome game. The Bucs have 7 more of them. The Panthers, Rams and Eagles should be wins. If they can beat New Orleans (which they have done even when the Saints were a better team and the Bucs were a worse team) and get just one of the Falcons games, that’s a 10 win season. Whether or not that makes them a playoff contender is anyone’s guess right now. But if you had heard that a 10 win season was a real possibility back in March, you’d be ecstatic. Props to the players, coaches and management for making this happen in such short order. There’s a long way to go, but I’m much more impressed than I thought I’d be at this point.

13 Comments to “Bucs Are Over .500 In November”

BaldBuc4055

BaldBuc4055 (November 13, 2012 at 12:42am:

I don’t mean to sound like I’m jumping the gun, but I think we’re seeing the dawning of a new era in Bucs football. One in which the offense makes every game winnable. For decades, this team was largely anemic on offense.

But what made me realize things are changing is that I didn’t panic after the Chargers went up 7-0 on that 80-yard TD pass. My reaction was, “Meh, we’ll get it back, I’m not worried.” And sure enough, they got it back on the next drive. I have never had that reaction as a Bucs fan. NEVER. And you know what? It was a great feeling to have. Now about that secondary…….

HAGEN205

HAGEN205 (November 13, 2012 at 01:39am:

my thoughts exactly baldbuc4055 i alwayys paniced even about 3 ponts but now we can be down 14 and i dont think we are going to win but i at least think we could fire back

JV

JV (November 13, 2012 at 09:49am:

I can certainly see 8-10 wins. NFC wins(not necessarily NFC South because the division win is not likely)will matter most. I think the key is 3 of the 4 remaining division games + Eagles & Rams……it all starts this weekend. No matter, it’s going to be fun to watch.

Mark S

Mark S (November 13, 2012 at 11:03am:

This was a solid effort and an affirmation of Schiano’s approach to the game. What worries me is that in some game we will not get the blocked punt nor the interceptions. Is the team ready to win in those situations? Also, we clearly are not ready to beat elite QBs. Brees will shred us, Ryan will have the chance to cement his place among the elite. Depending on when Wright’s suspension starts, we could be without him against the Saints and one or none of the Falcon’s games.
We could use some of this sites fans on the in-game chat sponsored by the St. Pete Times. Go to the Bucs Blog and just click. Seriously you would not believe the negativity that this team has to overcome in its own fan base. The targets have been Freeman, McCoy and Martin. Not to mention all of the coaches. One guy said that all of our defensive picks have been a bust. I pointed out that McCoy, Miller, Clayborn, Bowers, Foster, David, and Barron have played well and maybe what he really meant was our CB picks have bombed. Can’t argue against the CB picks bombing. Talib was picked under Gruden, so doesn’t help or hurt Dominick. The next best pick is Biggers and Scott has weighed in enough to count him as a bust. He was expected to be a competent starter not just a good backup. So, please come over and add your wisdom to the conversation.

FireThemCannons

FireThemCannons (November 13, 2012 at 11:12am:

I’m not tryin to toot my own horn…ok maybe I am just a little bit…But I was probably the biggest Lavonte David advocate there was going into the draft, the kid is a tackle MACHINE. Also, Turf Smurf is now Doug Martin’s nickname…literally don’t even care if he likes it…

Louie

Louie (November 13, 2012 at 11:31am:

Another win! I had them winning 6-7 games this season and as Scott mentioned, 10 wins is a possibility (Tom Jones’ negative article earlier this season on Schiano is looking REALLY ignorant now). I think this team is 2 corners away from being a legit Superbowl contender.

The upcoming draft is going to be fun to see which corner(s) the Bucs are able to pick up. Scott, you got any thoughts on college corners (besides UT’s Waggner)?

Louie

Louie (November 13, 2012 at 11:36am:

Correction, I had Bucs winning 5-6 this year. So, they’re already there and will likely add to it against the lowly Panthers.

And, can anyone please tell me how Myron Lewis is still on the team? Does he have pictures of Dom or something? That guy is a stiff!

BaldBuc4055

BaldBuc4055 (November 13, 2012 at 11:55am:

Mark S, you won’t see me going over to that chat room. Fans like that just can’t be reasoned with, as some people just like to be negative. Not to mention, anything hosted by a newspaper is going to attract the casual, bandwagon, fair-weather crowd that doesn’t know that much about football. I do everything in my power to avoid those people.

Scott

Scott (November 13, 2012 at 12:06pm:

I mostly keep up with the SEC at this point in the season, and right now it looks like Johnthan Banks (Miss. State) and then everyone else. Outside the SEC, Jordan Poyer (Oregon State) has consistently improved since his freshman year and may turn out to be a first rounder. I don’t consider this a very deep cornerback year. DT and OT/OG is where it’s at this year.

JV

JV (November 13, 2012 at 12:09pm:

Maybe Dominik can dig up another gem in the draft or maybe a FA signing.

BaldBuc4055

BaldBuc4055 (November 13, 2012 at 12:28pm:

DeMarcus Milliner from Alabama and Xavier Rhodes from Florida State look like possibilities in the first round as well, but they could be gone by the time the Bucs pick. I have to agree with you Scott, this doesn’t look like the strongest draft class for corners.

jampersands

jampersands (November 13, 2012 at 02:16pm:

Ha…Johnson Island…Ha.

The Chargers dominated time of possession because we scored two of our 4 TD’s on Defense/Special Teams. There just weren’t as many opportunities (possessions) for the Bucs on offense, so I’m not worried even if we had a bit of a drop in total offense from Freeman/Martin.

I bet Dom goes CB/CB in Rd 1-2 in this years draft…

manbearpig

manbearpig (November 14, 2012 at 10:47am:

I hope lavonte David starts getting some national attention. I’ve been watching him specifically when the team is on defense and that kid is absolutely incredible. He is around the ball every play. For a smaller guy hit is thumping people. If he starts getting some interceptions I won’t be too hesitant to start comparing him to another weak side linebacker that was pretty popular.

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