Josh Freeman

If You’re Bitching About This Loss, Go Home

November 08, 2010 at 11:59am by Scott   •  14 Comments »

Micheal Spurlock on the 66-yard return that somehow got him benched for the next kickoff.
Gah! The Bucs lost! I knew it! I knew they would choke because they suck so bad! This team sucks and has always sucked and will always suck for time eternal!

There, you can just read that and not have to wade through the local papers this week. It’s all going to be the same shit. “We knew the Bucs couldn’t compete with the real best teams in the NFC” and “Raheem Morris shouldn’t have shot his mouth off and given the Falcons bulletin board material.” None of it is true, of course. Once again, the Bucs had horrible stats but were still less than a yard from pulling yet another victory out of their asses. An interception here, a drop there, a missed blitz pickup — if any of those mistakes aren’t made, we may be talking about a whole different outcome. We all knew the Bucs weren’t going to go 14-2 this season, so anyone who is upset about this loss needs to check the plan and realize that they’re still way ahead of it.

Josh Freeman followed up a great game against the Cardinals with a pretty bad game against the Falcons. He had two interceptions, both of which were squarely on him. Even though the one at the top of the third quarter was tipped, he never should have thrown that ball in the first place. Taking a sack is not a capital crime. Sometimes you just have to eat the ball and live to play another down. And the announcers described the second pick perfectly. Freeman never once looked away from the receiver and Brent Grimes just read his eyes and stepped in front of the pass. He also had a couple of his trademarked overthrows and a couple other passes that could have easily been picked off if the defense had been paying attention. But it’s not all bad. Freeman laid a beautiful pass into Arrelious Benn for a touchdown, hit a couple nice first down passes and scrambled 19 yards on one busted play to keep a drive alive. The stats have him at exactly 50% completions with a 72.0 passer rating. Not great, but the good news is that Freeman is smart and a hard worker and will learn from all this. He won’t be nearly as likely to stare down a receiver again next week.

So I guess now we know why Cadillac Williams gets so much playing time despite the fact that he can’t run anymore and even his best runs look like they happened by accident. LeGarrette Blount, in for a passing play in the first quarter, stood stationary like he was playing freeze tag and watched Mike Peterson run by him and sack Freeman. It’s a shame the Bucs don’t have a running threat that can also pass protect, but all this means is that Blount is also on a learning curve along with every other Buccaneer. He’s just going to have to develop his blocking skills with experience and practice. In the meantime, Cadillac will continue to get reps to keep Freeman clean and will get carries that go nowhere. Seriously, his average yesterday was 1.6 YPC. Blount wasn’t that great with a 3.5 YPC average, but at least he peeled off a long 21-yarder when the Bucs were backed up at their own 9. But I don’t understand why, on the last Buccaneer offensive play of the game, Blount didn’t get a full head of steam behind his fullback (defensive end Roy Miller, by the way) and grind out the half yard he needed instead of running laterally and stretching the play out. For that matter, I don’t understand why the Bucs’ huge quarterback didn’t just sneak it forward himself. It seems like one of the situations in which you love having a quarterback that big. Morris addressed it in his post-game press conference, basically stating that he’s always going to be second guessed and that he’ll trust Blount all day long to get an inch when he needs it. Which is fine, maybe it’s Blount’s fault. But for such a short distance to get a first down… I really, really didn’t get the playcalling at the goal line.

Mike Williams continues to make phenomenal plays and also pants-shittingly frustrating drops. There was one or two where the pass was too far above Williams’s head to reasonably expect him to catch it, but at least two were in his hands and dropped. Micheal Spurlock had a clutch grab (off a fantastic Freeman throw) to get the Bucs off their own goal line as well as a kickoff return for a touchdown and a 66-yarder that almost went to the house, too. What I have yet to hear an explanation of is why the Bucs had Preston Parker fielding a kickoff after Spurlock broke that big one in the second quarter. Maybe it was a medical thing, but Spurlock was fine when he ran for the touchdown later in the game. Parker got 12 yards on his kickoff return. The drive ended in a touchdown, so it didn’t matter, but it seemed like a really questionable personnel call to pull Spurlock from that situation.

Again, the offensive line looked pretty good in pass protection (Freeman was only sacked once and it wasn’t the line’s fault) but the running game didn’t go anywhere. I won’t put the last play of the game on the line because I think it was either a coaching decision or a mistake by Blount. Jeremy Zuttah on more than one occasion got tossed aside to allow a tackle for no gain. The good news is that the line had zero penalties all game. No false starts, no holding… nothing. Has that ever been done? And is it a coincidence that Jeremy Trueblood is injured at the same time?

The defensive line was pretty much the same as they have been in the last couple games. They’re not getting to the quarterback, but he’s feeling pressure and having to release the ball early. It didn’t result in any interceptions yesterday, but there were a number of incompletions because of that pressure. Matt Ryan got hit several times (the stat sheet says only three, but I know I saw more hits than that) but still no sacks. Gerald McCoy was the most active that I’ve seen him this season, but he also got flagged twice for being offsides. But as far as stopping the run, the line came up short again. The Falcons ran for 130 yards and Michael Turner had a solid 4.5 YPC average with only a 19-yard long.

Ronde Barber was burned by Michael Jenkins for a long gain and Tony Gonzalez had some frustrating catches and Aqib Talib let an interception slip through his hands, but overall the secondary wasn’t bad. None of the Atlanta receivers had a real huge game. But seriously, Michael Palmer?

One other thing: The onside kick was fucking great. Even if it didn’t work, I applaud Morris for going for the throat. Connor Barth came very close to pulling it off and now it gives other teams one other thing to think about during every Buccaneer kickoff. Maybe a half-second of hesitation on their part because of this will be the key to another kickoff return for a touchdown down the road.

As I said, this loss doesn’t bother me at all. The Falcons have been a strong team all season and the Bucs were only a couple yards from beating them. This is a hell of a lot better than the Steelers or Saints games and showed some real progress. A couple coaching decisions aside, fans should feel good about the direction the team is going.

14 Comments to “If You’re Bitching About This Loss, Go Home”

Slow Joe

Slow Joe (November 08, 2010 at 12:17pm:

We absolutely have to figure out how to get the fucking defense off the Goddamn field in the first half.

Other than that, I’m happy the Bucs played hard and almost beat an upper-echelon football team.

manbearpig

manbearpig (November 08, 2010 at 12:34pm:

Well said Scott. It was a loss and I’m bummed they didn’t get the win but I can see where this team is going and the upside is tremendous. The only thing that really pissed me off was the call on 4th and 1. The fake to the fullback (which was actually a tight end!?) took too long to develop. Like you said, have Freeman dive for it or run Blount straight up the gut. How about that slant Williams took the distance!? That kid has some wheels. (madden better give him better than 88 speed on the next roster update) Next week is Carolina, so hopefully they can get a division win. All in all stoked on what I see. I may be more excited for McCoys first sack than he will be. (whenver that time comes)

Zoocomics (November 08, 2010 at 01:21pm:

I also have to point out, and whether it was due to crowd noise, or just Josh doing too many adjustments on the line of scrimmage, but I felt like we were always on the brink of delay of game penalties, and it wasn’t on purpose… For me this was very noticeable all game.

cubsandbucsfan

cubsandbucsfan (November 08, 2010 at 01:26pm:

The loss yesterday sucks, but mostly because the win was there for the taking.

On the positive side, our record is better than Houston’s. I say this because dumping Derrick Ward opened the door for Blount. And I guess maybe the Bucs were interested in winning after all. It seems to me that wherever Ward ends up, his team seems to suffer. Maybe it’s him. But what the hell do I know?

Sander

Sander (November 08, 2010 at 01:41pm:

I feel so much better about this loss than I did about the losses to the Saints and the Steelers. The Falcons are a very good football team – and we hung with them and nearly won this game. That, to me, is very encouraging. The way we played this game makes me think we might actually be able to beat good teams as well this year. Which makes me think that there’s a very small chance we could win….a playoff game. Wow. Did I just write that?

@Zoocomics: that’s a good point. We took one when we were down at out own one-yard line, but the loss of half a yard doesn’t matter much. We were definitely close to the play clock all game, but Freeman’s been doing that all year as he’s constantly busy pointing out protections. It did feel like he was more hurried than usual though.

@manbearpig: The fullback was DT Roy Miller on that play.

mssembler

mssembler (November 08, 2010 at 01:53pm:

Great game and somehow they manage to keep staying close. When the D gets going they are pretty tough, and the offense is showing some great stuff as well.

One thing that killed me yesterday, like almost had a heart attack killed me. Why did Morris NOT challenge the spot on the third down carry near the goal line? We had a challenge and a timeout left, neither of which can get on the plane with you back to Tampa. Why NOT challenge the spot there? The replays seemed to indicate we may have it first and goal at the one, but even if the guys upstairs aren’t telling Raheem that, the situation still calls for a challenge. The worst case scenario is that you lose a timeout, which we did anyway because of that communication failure. Morris should have been challenging the spot as soon as the ball was marked, but DEFINITELY once they had to call the timeout. He should have pulled the red flag as soon as he saw Freeman have to run over to get the play call. The Bucs played a pretty good game, but their coach did not maximize their chance to win yesterday, which I found very frustrating.

Mark S

Mark S (November 08, 2010 at 02:11pm:

I am with you Scott. I thought they did very well. I saw a team that is progressing and can play with anyone. Given Atlanta’s quality of play against other opponents, I had predicted a blowout win by the Falcons. I apologize Bucs.

manbearpig

manbearpig (November 08, 2010 at 02:26pm:

@ sander. I didn’t see the game cuz I was thoroughly enjoying myself at a family reunion…..everything I read said they had a tightend at fullback. Thanks for the correction.

Slow Joe

Slow Joe (November 08, 2010 at 02:34pm:

@manbearpig: Did you get laid?

;-)

manbearpig

manbearpig (November 08, 2010 at 03:05pm:

Not this year.

Flatlander

Flatlander (November 08, 2010 at 05:00pm:

All this comparing Suh to McCoy..wonder if McCoy would swap records for stats? Bet not…GO BUCS!!

TheBrainStem

TheBrainStem (November 08, 2010 at 05:15pm:

Nice game, Freeman still has the ball sail on him from time to time. He should get more accurate in time. I love me a physical qb. I didn’t like the flag they picked up on his scramble. Turner didn’t get to 100 until late in the game, but 100 is still 100. They didn’t get buttraped though. The defense got to Turner in the backfield a few times but weren’t able to bring him down. Roddy white got injured and was not a factor which was a huge blessing too.

BamBamBuc

BamBamBuc (November 08, 2010 at 05:31pm:

Sad to lose, but what we’ve seen is more than promising enough to overshadow the loss. Over the past couple weeks, we’ve seen a team with the ability to pound the ball, run it down a teams throat, physical rushing. We’ve seen a team that can score in an instant, big plays, huge chunks of yardage. We’ve seen a defense that can get turnovers and score, that has shutdown capability (so far just in the 2nd half, but…). We’ve seen special teams that can be special when we need it most. And, we’ve seen all this with a huge majority of players that are in their first or second year in the NFL. Plenty to be excited about.

Meatmaster

Meatmaster (November 08, 2010 at 05:54pm:

@mssasmnbler: You’re right, we definitely had the 1st down on that 3rd down run. It wasn’t even close. I wanted to kill me an NFL ref at that point. But, all in all, I am more impressed every week. Raheem and Dominik have something special going here. And it was nice to see Benn in action. Between him, Williams, Blount, and Winslow we have a serious fucking offense. Now we just need some D ends and a little Oline help and we could be elite!

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