Bucs Game Grades

October 14 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game and send it into overtime, but fell short to the Tennessee Titans, 31-28. Buccaneer Magazine hands out player grades from Sunday's heartbreaking loss.

QUARTERBACKS:

QB BRAD JOHNSON: Completed 24-of-50 passes (48 percent) for 287 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Buccaneers offense failed to take chances down the field again, and some of the blame has to fall on the shoulders of Johnson. He chose to dump the ball off underneath the defense for minimal gains instead of taking chances down the field. Johnson finally threw his first touchdown pass of the year in the third quarter on a third down and 17 play. Johnson sold a screen play to RB Warrick Dunn and dumped the ball off to him. Dunn raced to the end zone for the touchdown. Johnson's two other touchdowns came in the fourth quarter and the Bucs trailing by 14. Johnson found WR Jacquez Green in the middle of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. This TD capped off an 80 yard drive and the score came with 5:09 to go. Johnson's third touchdown was a 5-yard TD pass to TE Dave Moore with just 59 seconds remaining. Johnson drove the Bucs 65 yards down the field on 11 plays in just 1:09 to tie the game and send it into overtime. Johnson had one of his passes intercepted by CB Andre Dyson when he threw into double coverage in the fourth quarter. Johnson threw another interception, but it was negated because of an offsides penalty.

*3-of-4 Bucs touchdowns came after fourth down penalties on the Titans

*The Bucs could only convert 4-of-15 first downs

GRADE: B

RUNNING BACKS:

RB WARRICK DUNN: Dunn rushed 10 times for just 16 yards against Tennessee, but one of his rushes went 5-yards for the Bucs first touchdown of the game. On his touchdown run, Dunn did an excellent job of stiff arming two defenders and then stretching the ball over the corner of the end zone for the score. With the exception of the touchdown run, Dunn was not really effective in the running game, but he played a big role in Tampa Bay's passing attack. Dunn hauled in seven receptions for 65 yards, including a huge touchdown on a third and 17 play. Dunn caught Johnson's pass on a well-designed screen play and received two nice blocks from WR Keyshawn Johnson and RG Cosey Coleman on his way into the end zone for a touchdown. Dunn's touchdown capped off a 13-play 97 yard drive.

The Bucs' running backs combined for 20 yards rushing on 15 carries against Tennessee's defense.

GRADE: B-

WIDE RECEIVERS:

WR KEYSHAWN JOHNSON: Johnson was Tampa Bay's most valuable offensive weapon against Tennessee. Johnson caught eight passes for 140 yards. Johnson played a big part in helping Tampa Bay convert on third downs and was a big contributor when the Buccaneers trailed by 14 with just 6:00 to go in the game. Seven of Johnson's receptions were for first downs. The majority of Johnson's catches came on the sidelines, but none were bigger than his 27-yard reception on fourth down and 10, which set up Moore's game-tying touchdown with :59 left in the game. Johnson contributed with his incredible down the field blocking as well. He threw in a nice block down the field on the Dunn screen pass touchdown in the third quarter.

WR JACQUEZ GREEN: Green caught six passes for 72 yards. Green caught several clutch catches that allowed Tampa Bay's offense to keep drives going. His longest reception was a 22-yard catch, but his most important grab came in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown score with just 5:09 to go. Green hurt the offense when he caught a slant and stopped 4-yards short of the first down on a third down play, but a fourth down penalty on the Titans gave the Bucs a new set of downs and bailed Green.

GRADE: A-

TIGHT ENDS:

TE DAVE MOORE: Moore only caught two passes against the Titans, but one of them was a 5-yard touchdown reception with just :59 remaining in the game. Moore's TD grab sent the game into overtime. Moore was spent a good portion of the game on the line of scrimmage, where he helped LT Kenyatta Walker and RT Jerry Wunsch block. Moore was called for a costly illegal formation penalty, which cost the Bucs a first down and led to a QB Brad Johnson interception two plays later. Moore also dropped two passes.

GRADE: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE:

LT KENYATTA WALKER: Walker allowed DE Jevon Kearse to pressure QB Brad Johnson several times, but didn't allow a sack. Kearse had beaten Walker on one play, but tripped over his own feet and fell short of Johnson. Walker was called for another penalty when he lined up behind the line of scrimmage and was called for illegal formation.

RG COSEY COLEMAN: Coleman made a great block down the field on Dunn's 22-yard screen-play touchdown play in the third quarter. Coleman was called for a false start, which turned a third down and 10 situation into a third down and 15.

*The Buccaneers offensive line allowed QB Brad Johnson to be pressured often, but only surrendered one sack.

GRADE: C

DEFENSIVE LINE:

DT WARREN SAPP: Sapp pressured QB Steve McNair all day and finally recorded his first sack of the season late in the fourth quarter. Sapp finished the game with one tackle.

DE MARCUS JONES: Jones recorded a sack against the Titans on a play in which he was double teamed. Jones brought McNair down with one hand. He finished with four tackles.

DT ANTHONY MCFARLAND: He has seven tackles and played solid against the run.

DE SIMEON RICE: Rice recorded seven tackles and had a few opportunities to bring McNair down for sacks, but failed to wrap him up on a number of occasions.

*Titans RB Eddie George rushed for 85 yards on 29 carries (2.9 avg.), but the defensive line's inability to get to McNair led to him rushing nine times 54 yards, including a 22-yards scramble in the second half.

GRADE: C+

LINEBACKERS:

LB DERRICK BROOKS: Brooks recorded three tackles and seemed to be slowed by his foot injury, but came up with a big interception wile the Titans were driving in Bucs territory in the fist quarter. Not only did Brooks' interception stop the Titans from scoring, but it led to the Bucs' first touchdown of the game.

MLB JAMIE DUNCAN: Duncan recorded 10 tackles against the Titans. He pressured McNair into throwing the interception to Brooks on a blitz in the first quarter.

LB SHELTON QUARLES: Quarles recorded four tackles against Tennessee.

MLB NATE WEBSTER: Webster filled in for Duncan against Tennessee and recorded seven tackles.

*The Titans' offense converted 6-of-8 third downs in the first half and the Bucs' defense allowed Tennessee to pick up 3 of their 31 first downs on quarterback sneaks. The Titans did not punt once in the first half.

GRADE: C+

SECONDARY:

CB DONNIE ABRAHAM: Abraham had a tough day against the Titans. On a third down and 10 play in the first quarter, the Buccaneers blitzed, which left Abraham covering Titans WR Justin McCareins one-on-one. Abraham was beaten 36-yards down the field, which set up the Titans on the Bucs 2 yards line. On the next play, Abraham was beat again, this time by WR Kevin Dyson for the touchdown. Abraham recorded three tackles against the Titans.

CB RONDE BARBER: Barber was called for a late hit toward the end of the first half, which put the Titans in field goal position and led to three points for the Titans.

CB BRIAN KELLY: Kelly had one of the worst games of his career. Kelly recorded four tackles, but gave up several big plays in the passing game. Kelly blew coverage on a 36-yard pass play on a third down. Kelly allowed a WR Kevin Dyson touchdown in the fourth quarter on third and 5, but head coach Tony Dungy challenged the play, saying Dyson stepped out of bounds before catching the ball. Dungy won the call, which bailed Kelly out. Kelly blew coverage on a two point conversion on the Titans last touchdown of the game.

SS JOHN LYNCH: Lynch whiffed on a sack attempt on McNair after Rice had missed him. Lynch led the team in tackles with 12 (nine solo).

FS DEXTER JACKSON: Jackson left the game early with a thigh contusion. He recorded three tackles against the Titans.

FS JOHN HOWELL: Howell filled in for Jackson and recorded three tackles. Howell had a tough time in pass protection

*The Bucs secondary allowed the Titans' offense to convert 8-of-16 third down conversions (50 percent) and earn 31 first downs. Tampa Bay's defense also allowed the QB Steve McNair to complete 15-of-23 passes (65 percent) for 230 yards and 1 touchdown.

GRADE: D+

SPECIAL TEAMS:

P MARK ROYALS: Royals had a rough day punting against the Titans. He punted six times, but averaged only 35 yards per punt. His first two punts set the Titans offense up with great field position. Royals was able to get off a good 45-yard punt from his own end zone in overtime, but Joe Walker returned the ball to the Bucs 46 yard line.

S JOHN HOWELL: Howell cost the Buccaneers offense big in overtime when he was called for holding on a kickoff return. The penalty pinned the Bucs back on their own 5 yard line and crippled the Bucs offense.

LS SEAN McDERMOTT: McDermott moved the ball before snapping it just enough to draw the Titans offsides two times. Both gave the Buccaneers first downs instead of having them give the ball up.

K MARTIN GRAMATICA: Did not attempt a field goal attempt, but made 4-of-4 extra point attempts. Gramatica's kickoffs were a bit short, but he did a good job of placing his kickoffs into the corner of the field.

CB DWIGHT SMITH: Smith averaged 27.3 yards per kickoff return. Smith had an impressive 44-yard return after a Titans' touchdown in the first half.

GRADE: C-


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