Bucs Game Grades

December 16 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were simply unbearable on Sunday in en route to their 27–3 loss to the Chicago Bears. Turnovers, the deep ball and a drained defense, which all killed the Pewter Pirates in their Nov.18 meeting against the Bears, proved to be their downfall again. Buccaneer Magazine hands out grades based on the player and position performances in Sunday's loss to Chicago.

QUARTERBACK:

QB Brad Johnson: Johnson completed 18-of-40 pass attempts and threw for just 191 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Johnson was heavily pressured by Chicago's defense. He had passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, and he also had passes dropped by his receivers. Johnson made some bad decisions in the short amount of time he had to make them. Johnson threw an interception in Chicago's end zone on a bomb in the second quarter after Tampa Bay started the drive off with great field position. Johnson threw his second interception of the game in the fourth quarter when the Bucs were trailing, 27-3. Johnson fumbled at the end of the second half after he was sacked near the Chicago 30-yard line.

*Tampa Bay's offense was just 2-of-14 on third down conversions.

GRADE: C-

RUNNING BACKS:

RB Warrick Dunn Dunn rushed 10 times for just 27 yards (2.7 avg.). His longest run was a nice 12-yarder, but it came late in the fourth quarter. Dunn was a non-factor in the running game and put Tampa Bay's offense bad positions in terms of yards-to-go for a first down. Although Dunn was more of a factor in the passing game, he wasn't that big of a element. Dunn caught four passes for 28 yards. Dunn had a hard time catching passes and when he did catch them, Chicago's linebackers brought him down almost immediately.

FB Mike Alstott: Alstott rushed seven times for 23 yards (3.3 avg.). Alstott's longest run was a 9-yarder. Alstott was somewhat effective in the running game, but once again, Tampa Bay's coaching staff abandoned the A-Train and continued to run Dunn. Alstott also had three catches for 12 yards.

*Tampa Bay's offense rushed for just 61 yards on 18 attempts (3.4 avg.). Both Dunn and Alstott struggled behind a woeful offensive line performance.

GRADE: D

WIDE RECEIVERS:

WR Keyshawn Johnson Johnson was the only effective offensive weapon for Tampa Bay. Johnson caught seven passes for 119 yards. His longest reception was a 47-yarder, but Johnson fumbled the ball on Chicago's six-yard line and killed his fine effort.

WR Karl Williams: Caught two passes for 18 yards.

WR Jacquez Green: Did not have a single catch against the Chicago Bears.

GRADE: C

TIGHT ENDS:

TE Dave Moore: Moore hauled in two passes for 14 yards against Chicago, but he and the offensive line struggled to block Chicago's defense.

GRADE: C

OFFENSIVE LINE: Tampa Bay's offensive line was dominated by Chicago's defense. RT Jerry Wunsch did not have a good outing, as he had a false start penalty and also allowed QB Brad Johnson to get sacked at the end of the second quarter, which resulted in a fumble and ended Tampa Bay's drive. The rest of the offensive line did not fare any better. They allowed just one sack as a unit, but allowed Chicago to relentlessly rush Johnson throughout the game. The O-line also struggled to open up holes in the running game.

GRADE: D

DEFENSIVE LINE:

DE Simeon Rice: Rice had a very productive game. Although he and the defensive line had a hard time stopping the run in the second half, Rice recorded six tackles and two sacks. One of Rice's sacks came on third down and forced Chicago to kick a field goal instead of having a pass attempt reach the end zone.

DE Marcus Jones: Jones recorded six tackles, but his biggest play of the game came when he drilled Bears QB Jim Miller, which caused his pass to fall short of the intended receiver and into the arms of a diving CB Donnie Abraham.

DT Warren Sapp: Recorded six tackles and sacked Miller one time. Sapp was double-teamed throughout the game. Sapp injured his shoulder at some point in the game and didn't return in the fourth quarter.

DT Anthony McFarland: Recorded six tackles. McFarland and the middle of Tampa Bay's defensive line had a hard time stopping the run in the second half.

*Tampa Bay's defensive line allowed Chicago to rush for a whopping 207 yards, and sacked Miller three times.

GRADE: C

LINEBACKERS:

ROLB Derrick Brooks: Recorded 12 tackles against Chicago.

MLB Jamie Duncan: Recorded 10 tackles against the Bears. Duncan accidentally got in the way of CB Ronde Barber on an underneath reception by WR Dez White, which resulted in a 26-yard gain.

MLB Nate Webster: Shared time with Duncan, but didn't record a tackle.

LOLB Shelton Quarles: Recorded six tackles.

*Tampa Bay's linebackers couldn't help stop Chicago's running attack in the second half. Bears RB Anthony Thomas rushed 31 times for 173 yards (5.6 avg.) and one touchdown.

GRADE: C

SECONDARY:

CB Ronde Barber: Recorded 18 tackles and had a shaky outing. Barber was called for a late hit, which gave Chicago's offense a first down. But Chicago could only get a field goal. Barber also had a disappointing day tackling. Barber couldn't get his footing in the end zone on a QB Jim Miller bomb, which allowed TE Fred Baxter to leap up in the air and haul in the touchdown pass.

CB Donnie Abraham: Recorded 12 tackles. Abraham intercepted QB Jim Miller in the second quarter, which led to Tampa Bay's only 3 points of the game.

FS Dexter Jackson: Jackson recorded 18 tackles and was beat deep by Bears WR David Terrell in the second quarter. Jackson did a good job of tackling Terrell on the 2-yard line after gaining 62-yards, but the Bears eventually got in the end zone anyway. Jackson was in on the bomb by Miller in the end zone too, where both he and Barber tried, but could not get their footing on the wet grass in Soldier Field. The play resulted in a touchdown.

SS John Lynch: Recorded 14 tackles, and played a big part in stopping Chicago's running attack in the first half. Tampa Bay's defense grew tired from being on the field so long and it started to show in their play against the run in the second half.

CB Brian Kelly: Recorded four tackles against Chicago.

*Tampa Bay's defense only allowed QB Jim Miller to complete 48 percent of his passes, but Miller threw for 190 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

GRADE: C

SPECIAL TEAMS:

K Martin Gramatica: Gramatica did a good job on kickoffs and made a 25-yard field goal in the second quarter.

P Mark Royals: Royals had a busy game against the Bears. Royals punted eight times, and averaged just over 39 yards per punt. One of Royals' punts was a beauty. Royals pinned the Bears on their own 3-yard line, which set the Tampa Bay defense up in great position.

CB Dwight Smith: Smith downed Royals' punt on Chicago's 3-yard line.

KR Frank Murphy: Murphy was injured in the third quarter on a kick return. He left the game with a sprained ankle. Before he left with his injury, Murphy returned three kickoffs and averaged 24.3 yards per return.

FS Dexter Jackson: Jackson was called for holding on a good punt return by PR Karl Williams.

CB Ronde Barber: Barber was called for being offsides in the fourth quarter, which gave the Chicago offense a fourth-and-1. The Bears went for a first down, but didn't convert.

LB Shelton Quarles: Quarles was called for illegal leverage on a Chicago field goal in the fourth quarter, which gave the Bears a first down. A few plays later, Chicago scored a touchdown.

PR Karl Williams: Williams had a couple of nice punt returns, but one was called back on a penalty and on the others, Williams ran out of room on the sideline. Williams returned five punts and averaged 13 yards per return.

GRADE: B-


Copyright 2001 Buccaneer Magazine/BucMag.com

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