Bucs Game Grades

November 11 – Tampa Bay tamed Detroit through the first three quarters of Sunday's game at the Pontiac Silverdome, but the Lions came roaring back to score 10 points in the fourth quarter and tie the game at 17. Bucs QB Brad Johnson and the Bucs offense engineered a 63-yard drive to set up K Martin Gramatica's 35-yard game-winning field goal with just :04 left in the game. Buccaneer Magazine hands out position grades based on Tampa Bay's performance in their 20-17 win over Detroit.

QUARTERBACKS:

QB BRAD JOHNSON: Completed 20-of-37 passes for 188 yards and threw one touchdown. Johnson had an inconsistent, yet effective day against the Lions. Johnson's lone touchdown pass was a 12-yard toss to RB Warrick Dunn near the end of the second quarter. Johnson came up big when the Bucs needed him most by engineering a 63-yard drive with 1:45 left in the game. Johnson's biggest completion of the game came when he threw a perfect strike to WR Keyshawn Johnson for an 18-yard gain. Johnson did a terrific job of keeping his feet in bounds, but B. Johnson did a good job of placing the ball perfectly on the sideline. Johnson also made a huge pass to RB Warrick Dunn, again, right after the K. Johnson catch. B. Johnson's pass to Dunn went for 23-yards and set up K Martin Gramatica's game-winning field goal. Johnson refused to throw into coverage and just threw the ball away when he felt heat from Detroit's defense. Johnson was consistently provided time to throw. Johnson threw the ball in bad spots for K. Johnson, which nearly resulted in K. Johnson being decapitated on three different occasions. Johnson had a perfect pass dropped by WR Reidel Anthony in the end zone on a first quarter drive. The 79-yard drive stalled on the five yard line and a snap on the field goal attempt was botched, so the Bucs came away with zero points.

*Johnson led the Bucs 63-yards down the field to set up K Martin Gramatica's game-winning field goal.

GRADE: B

RUNNING BACKS:

RB WARRICK DUNN: Dunn rushed for 51 yards on 17 carries (3.0 avg.), but he made his biggest impact in the passing game. Dunn hauled in five passes from B. Johnson for 60 yards. Dunn took one of those passes and sprinted up the field 12-yards for a Bucs touchdown at the end of the second quarter. On the touchdown play, Dunn first picked up a Detroit blitz, and then stepped out of the pocket and awaited Johnson's pass. Dunn came up huge again on the last drive of the game when he caught a pass from B. Johnson and scooted 23-yards up the field to set up K Martin Gramatica's game-winning field goal.

FB MIKE ALSTOTT: The A-Train rushed eight times for 28 yards (6.0 avg.). A good chunk of Alstott's rushing yards came on the drive that eventually led to Gramatica's first field goal of the game. For whatever reason, offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen chose not to call his number too many times after that. The A-Train also contributed in the passing game, where he caught three passes for 16 yards, including a 5-yard sideline catch on the last drive of the game. Like K. Johnson, Alstott did a good job of keeping both feet in bounds. The catch also stopped the clock.

Alstott and Dunn combined for 99 yards rushing and for 175 yards of total offense.

GRADE: B

WIDE RECEIVERS:

WR KEYSHAWN JOHNSON: Johnson caught seven passes for 72 yards. Johnson made some huge catches against Detroit, but none of them were as big as his 18-yard sideline catch with under 2:00 to go in the game and both teams tied at 17. Johnson hauled in a pass from B. Johnson on the sideline and miraculously kept both his feet in bounds. Johnson showed tremendous toughness by taking three hard hits after B. Johnson threw the ball to him in bad spots. Johnson dropped a couple of passes. They would have been tough grabs, but Johnson just could've pulled them in.

WR REIDEL ANTHONY: Anthony caught two passes for 19 yards. If we graded players individually, Anthony would receive a D for his effort, or lack there of. His failure to block CB Todd Lyght almost led to WR Keyshawn Johnson getting his head ripped off on a screen play. Anthony later dropped a wide-open touchdown pass in the end zone. That drive stalled on the five yard line after Anthony dropped the ball and a bad snap on the field goal attempt would cause Tampa Bay to come away with no points after driving 79 yards.

*Tampa Bay converted 5-of-12 third down conversions.

GRADE: B-

TIGHT ENDS:

TE DAVE MOORE: Moore caught two passes for 14 yards. Moore did a good job of blocking on the offensive line for the most part, but he did fail to pick up a couple of key blocks in the running game.

GRADE: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE: Tampa Bay's offensive line provided QB Brad Johnson a substantial amount of time to throw against Detroit. Johnson was sacked twice on Sunday. LG RANDALL McDANIEL failed to pick up a defender off of a stunt, which led to the first sack. The line also opened up some nice holes for Alstott and Dunn in the first half of the game, but in the second half, they weren't able to.

GRADE: C+

DEFENSIVE LINE: The Bucs defensive line had one of their best games of the season. DT WARREN SAPP recorded four tackles and two consecutive sacks against Detroit. Sapp would later leave the game with a leg contusion in the fourth quarter. DE SIMEON RICE had a very effective game, recording one tackle and pressuring Lions QB Charlie Batch all game. Rice's one tackle came when he sacked Batch for a 3-yard loss. Rice also hit Batch's arm on two different plays to nearly cause fumbles and cause incompletions. DT CHARTRIC DARBY recovered a QB Mike McMahon fumble caused by LB Derrick Brooks in the second quarter. The fumble recovery would later lead to Dunn's touchdown. Darby also recorded one sack. DT JAMES CANNIDA recorded five tackles and played well in place of injured DT Anthony McFarland. DE MARCUS JONES recorded two tackles and got good penetration on the line of scrimmage. Jones was called for a bogus personal foul penalty when he knocked QB Charlie Batch out of bounds. The penalty moved the Lions 15-yard up the field and Detroit later scored a touchdown.

*Tampa Bay's defense held Detroit to a total of 52 net yards rushing and sacked Batch five times.

GRADE: B+

LINEBACKERS: MLB JAMIE DUNCAN recorded eight tackles against Detroit, including one sack. Duncan had a chance to intercept a QB Charlie Batch pass out of the end zone, but the ball tipped off of his fingers and out of bounds. Duncan and Tampa Bay's defense played very well in the first half, but in the second half, the linebackers had trouble dropping back into pass coverage. LOLB SHELTON QUARLES was injured early in the game and was replaced by LB AL SINGLETON, who recorded one tackle. Quarles recorded two tackles. ROLB DERRICK BROOKS still appears to be hampered by his foot injury, but that didn't stop him from recording eight tackles (four solo) and forcing rookie QB Mike McMahon to fumble the ball while scrambling. The fumble led to Tampa Bay's first touchdown of the game. Brooks did, however, miss a few tackles and was called for holding in the end zone in the fourth quarter. The Bucs linebackers' biggest debacle came when they allowed RB Lemont Warren to haul in a pass in the middle of Tampa Bay's zone defense and sprint up the field for a 36-yard gain.

*Tampa Bay's defense had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but allowed Detroit to erase it and tie the game at 17 with 1:45 left in the game.

GRADE: B-

SECONDAY: Tampa Bay's secondary played a solid game in the first half, but started to allow Batch and Co. to drive on the Bucs defense in the fourth quarter. CB RONDE BARBER had a phenomenal game against Detroit. Barber stalled two Detroit drives in deep in Bucs' territory by picking off QB Charlie Batch both times. Batch's interceptions came in the second on the Bucs' 20 yard line and in the fourth quarter on Tampa Bay' 11-yard line. Barber also returned a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter, but the play was reviewed and the officials determined that the ball was down before the fumble occurred. Barber recorded seven tackles and was also effective when defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin blitzed him. SS JOHN LYNCH created one of Barber's interceptions when he blitzed and forced Batch to throw early. Lynch recorded five tackles. CB COREY IVY played in place of CB Donnie Abraham and was picked on in the second half by Batch when he hooked up with wide receivers Bert Emanuel and Johnnie Morton often. CB BRIAN KELLY recorded two tackles and was flagged for pass interference on Emanuel, which moved the Lions 18-yards up the field.

*Tampa Bay's defense held Detroit QB Charlie Batch to 239 yard passing.

GRADE: B

SPECIAL TEAMS: Bucs K MARTIN GRAMATICA made 2-of-2 field goal attempts, including the 35-yard game-winning kick with :04 left in the fourth quarter. Gramatica's could have made three field goals, but LS SEAN MCDERMOTT snapped the ball too low for P MARK ROYALS to place and the kick never took place. Gramatica tried to throw the ball into the end zone to TE Dave Moore on the botched snap, but the pass fell incomplete. Royals had a fantastic day punting. He averaged 45.6 yards per punt on seven punts. Royals' longest punt was a 61-yarder, which the Bucs downed on Detroit's two yard line. PR KARL WILLIAMS let the Lions back in the game in the third quarter when he muffed a punt and allowed Detroit to recover in Tampa Bay territory. The turnover led to Detroit's first touchdown of the game. But just when Williams was starting to look like he might be the goat of the game, he took a Detroit punt 84-yards up the field for a touchdown. Williams made some nice moves and made a handful of Lions miss him on his way to the end zone. Earlier in the game, Williams added a creative wrinkle to the Bucs' punt return scheme when he fielded a punt and then threw the ball across the field to FS Dexter Jackson, who ran up the field for a 22-yard gain. KR AaRON STECKER averaged just 17.7 yard per return on three attempts. Stecker was stopped short of the 20 yard line on two of those returns. This unit did a near-perfect job of containing KR/PR Desmond Howard. Tampa Bay received critical tackles and coverage from CB DWIGHT SMITH, S JOHN HOWELL, RB/FB RABIH ABDULLAH and S DAVID GIBSON. This unit had to burn a timeout on a Detroit field goal attempt because they had 12 men on the field.

*This unit held Desmond Howard to just 19.8 yards per kickoff return on four attempts.

GRADE: B+


Copyright 2001 Buccaneer Magazine/BucMag.com

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