Bucs Game Grades

December 29 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers downed the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night, 22-10. Tampa Bay's defense intercepted Baltimore QB Elvis Grbac twice and sacked him five times while their special teams unit blocked a punt. Both units turned in impressive performances, and set Tampa Bay's offense in favorable situations. Buccaneer Magazine hands out grades to the Bucs players based on their gutsy performance on Saturday night.

QUARTERBACK:

QB BRAD JOHNSON: Completed 13-of-29 passes for just 90 yards and scored one touchdown. Johnson did not have a great night against the Ravens, but he did score Tampa Bay's first touchdown of the game in the second quarter on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Johnson threw high often and missed some open receivers. But Johnson managed to not turn the ball over in a game that turnovers were playing a big part in.

*Tampa Bay was able to convert just 2-of-13 third down conversions.

GRADE: C

RUNNING BACKS:

FB MIKE ALSTOTT: The A-Train rushed 14 times for 80 yards (5.7 avg.) against the Ravens. Alstott's biggest run came with just 2:00 left in the game when he took B. Johnson's handoff and bulled his way 34-yards up the field for a touchdown. Alstott also caught two passes for eight yards.

RB WARRICK DUNN: Dunn rushed 13 times for 47 yards (3.6 avg.). Dunn's longest run of the game came at the end of the second half when he found a hole and moved 15-yards up the field for a first down. Dunn caught two passes for 14 yards.

*Tampa Bay rushed for 123 net yards against a solid Baltimore defense.

GRADE: B

WIDE RECEIVERS:

WR KEYSHAWN JOHNSON: Johnson hauled in four passes for 29 yards. Johnson threw a huge block up field on Alstott's 34-yard touchdown. Johnson also did a nice job of breaking up a couple of potential interceptions. At one point, K. Johnson caught two-straight passes while Ravens CB Chris McAllister was defending him, but Tampa Bay's offense didn't go back to what could have been a mismatch.

WR JACQUEZ GREEN: Green saw WR Karl Williams start in his place as Tampa Bay's No. 2 receiver and had a quiet night. But Green caught two huge passes for 18 yards against Baltimore. Green did a nice job of coming back for a pass that was underthrown by B. Johnson. Green also caught a huge pass to give Tampa Bay's offense a first down in the fourth quarter. Green was also running open downfield on a few occasions, but B. Johnson had trouble finding him.

*Tampa Bay's offense began five possessions in Baltimore territory, but they were only able to come away with two field goals and a touchdown that was set up by LB Derrick Brooks interception that he returned to the Ravens 1-yard line.

GRADE: B-

TIGHT ENDS:

TE DAVE MOORE: Moore caught three passes for 21 yards, including an 11-yard reception. Moore did a nice job of blocking on the offensive line as well as coming up with a couple big receptions.

GRADE: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE: For the second week in a row, Tampa Bay's offensive line did not allow a sack and played a huge part in having their rushing game accumulate over 100-yards rushing. Bucs RG Cosey Coleman and LT Kenyatta Walker had very impressive performances against the Ravens. Coleman and Walker did a nice job of holding off a persistent Ravens rush, as well as nice up-the-field blocking. The entire Tampa Bay offensive line deserves kudos for providing B. Johnson time to throw and not allowing him to get sacked.

GRADE: B+

DEFENSIVE LINE:

DT WARREN SAPP: Sapp led the defensive in with four sacks and recorded .5 sack when he and Bucs DT Anthony McFarland brought down Grbac. Sapp and Co. did a nice job of sustaining consistent pressure on Grbac.

DE SIMEON RICE: Rice recorded two tackles, and his one sack in the game dropped Grbac for a 14-yard loss. Rice nearly had another sack later in the game, but ran passed Grbac.

DE STEVE WHITE: Recorded two tackles and dropped Grbac for a 6-yard loss in the fourth quarter. White replaced DE Marcus Jones in the first quarter after Jones suffered an injury.

DT ANTHONY MCFARLAND: "Booger" recorded two tackles and split a sack with DT Warren Sapp.

*Tampa Bay's defense sacked Baltimore QB Elvis Grbac five times and held their running game to 90 net yards on the night.

GRADE: B

LINEBACKERS:

ROLB DERRICK BROOKS: Brooks led the defense in tackles with 15, but his biggest contribution came in the second quarter when he intercepted a Elvis Grbac pass and returned it 53-yards to Baltimore's 1-yard line. This led to Tampa Bay's first touchdown of the game. Brooks also made a huge tackle late in the fourth quarter on fourth down. Ravens QB Elvis Grbac completed a pass to his receiver under the first down marker, and Brooks was the only player standing in the way. But Brooks made a solid open field tackle to halt the Ravens at their own 32-yard line and put the game away.

MLB JAMIE DUNCAN: Was second on the defense in tackles with eight. Duncan dropped a potential interception in the first quarter, but it bounced off of Duncan's knee and into the hands of CB Ronde Barber for the INT.

LOLB SHELTON QUARLES: Quarles recorded four tackles and had good coverage against the pass.

GRADE: B+

SECONDARY:

CB RONDE BARBER: Barber recorded his 10th interception of the season (a franchise record) in the first quarter when a pass by Grbac went off of MLB Jamie Duncan's knee and into Barber's hands. Barber also recorded five tackles and had a phenomenal game in pass coverage.

FS DEXTER JACKSON: Jackson recorded seven tackles, including two huge sacks. Jackson's second sack came in late in the fourth quarter with the Ravens trying to drive up the field for the go-ahead touchdown. Jackson did a brilliant job of disguising his blitz and came in and crushed Grbac unblocked. The sack put Baltimore's offense in a second-and-long situation and eventually proved to be too much for them to overcome.

CB DONNIE ABRAHAM: Abraham was in on Ravens WR Travis Taylor's 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but it looked like Taylor pushed off on Abraham in the end zone. Abraham also had an interception fall in his hands in the first quarter, but he couldn't hold onto it. In the second quarter, Abraham dove for a Grbac pass and appeared to intercept it, but the play was challenged and the refs determined that the ball hit the ground. Abraham recorded six tackles.

CB BRIAN KELLY: Kelly recorded two tackles and had a chance to intercept Ravens QB Elvis Grbac in the first quarter on a deflected pass, but couldn't quite get to the ball before it hit the ground. Kelly had a solid game in terms of pass defense and made a touchdown-saving tackle on RB Terry Allen at the end of the third quarter. After this play, Tampa Bay's defense would make a huge goal line stand and eventually make the Ravens settle for a field goal.

*Tampa Bay's secondary held Baltimore QB Elvis Grbac to just 205 yards passing.

GRADE: A-

SPECIAL TEAMS:

CB DWIGHT SMITH: The Bucs rookie cornerback was responsible for pinning Baltimore's offense inside their own 5-yard line three times on Saturday night. In the first quarter, Smith was pushed down while trying to cover a punt, but he managed to get to his feet and leap up in the air and bat the ball out onto the field before it landed in the end zone. Bucs RB Aaron Stecker downed the ball. Smith later downed a Mark Royals' punt on a tough bounce. Smith was, however, penalized for roughing the punter on a punt block attempt, which gave the Ravens a first down.

P MARK ROYALS: Royals punted seven times and averaged just 34.9 yards per punt, but he pinned Baltimore's offense inside their own 20-yard line four times. Royals shanked his first punt of the game, but turned in a solid effort after that.

TE TODD YODER: Yoder blocked a Ravens punt in the second quarter, which led to a Tampa Bay field goal. Yoder could have blocked three punts on the night, but he was held and the Ravens were penalized.

K DOUG BRIEN: Brien filled in for Bucs K Martin Gramatica, who sat out of the game with a sore hamstring. Brien filled in admirably by drilling 3-of-4 field goal attempts. Brien was successful on attempts from 24, 38, and 42-yards out.

KR AARON STECKER: Stecker returned just one kickoff, but for 35-yards and was just one player away from going the distance. Stecker downed the tipped ball by CB Dwight Smith in the first quarter.

WR KARL WILLIAMS: Williams returned two punts and averaged 23 yards per punt return.

GRADE: A-


Become an insider today with a subscription to Buccaneer Magazine or the BucMag.com Insiders Pass. Sign up for the Insiders Pass by clicking here or and call 1-800-881-BUCS(2827) to subscribe to Buccaneer Magazine.

Looking for the largest selection of Bucs merchandise on the internet? Check out BucsStore.com.


Bucs Blitz Top Stories