Bucs Game Grades

September 15 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers downed the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, 25-0. Which players fared well? Which players didn't? PewterReport.com has distributed grades based on the Buccaneers' outstanding performance against the Ravens on Sunday.

QUARTERBACKS
Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson started the game 8-of-8 on pass attempts. But his first incompletion was a costly one. It stalled a drive on Baltimore's 45-yard line. Johnson was pressured some by Baltimore's defense, but he was given enough time to throw throughout the day. Johnson made some very accurate throws, but he and the offense failed to get into the end zone against the Ravens and had to settle for three field goals instead. Johnson completed 24-of-31 passes for 211 yards. He didn't throw any touchdowns, but he managed to avoid throwing any interceptions for the second consecutive week.

Tampa Bay's offense had the ball for 35:31 on Sunday. Baltimore had the ball for 24:29.

GRADE: B+


RUNNING BACKS
Bucs RB Michael Pittman showed some impressive power by taking a pitch from Brad Johnson on third-and-7 and getting a first down. He rushed to the weakside in Baltimore territory and gained nine yards on his next carry. The play put the Bucs on the Ravens' 18-yard line and allowed K Martin Gramatica to drill a 36-yard field goal two plays later. Pittman hauled in a pass for a 12-yard gain on Tampa Bay's second drive of the game. Pittman caught another pass on that drive, which picked up a first down and put the offense on the 50-yard line. His third reception of that drive was on a screen-play. He did a nice job of catching the ball, which was thrown high by Johnson. Perhaps Pittman's biggest catch of the game came in the middle of the second quarter on third-and-9. He hauled in Johnson's pass and he showed some great moves on the way to Baltimore's 35-yard line. It went for a 24-yard gain. Pittman was carted off of the field in the middle of the third quarter with cramps. He didn't return to the game. Pittman rushed 13 times for 37 yards (2.9 average). He was much more effective in the passing game, where Pittman led the team with six receptions for 58 yards.

Bucs backup RB Aaron Stecker replaced Pittman. He hauled in a pass for a nine-yard gain on his first play in the game. Stecker had a first down run negated for a holding penalty on Joe Jurevicius. Stecker rushed five times for 15 yards (3.0 average). Stecker also caught three passes for 11 yards.

Tampa Bay fullback Jameel Cook hauled in a pass on the first drive of the game. It went for a 14-yard gain and moved the Bucs into Baltimore territory. It was the only time Cook touched the ball on Sunday.

Bucs FB Mike Alstott wasn't very effective at the beginning of the game, but he did haul in a couple of passes for big gains in the second quarter. The "A-Train" rushed 11 times for 23 yards (2.1 average). He caught five passes for 25 yards, including a 16-yarder.

*Tampa Bay rushed for 74 yards and averaged just 2.5 yards per carry.

GRADE: B-


WIDE RECEIVERS:
Tampa Bay WR Keenan McCardell started. He had missed some practice time with a quadriceps injury. McCardell hauled in a eight-yard pass from Johnson in the first quarter. He caught another pass for a first down on the next play. McCardell ran a nice slant pattern and hauled in big catch on third-and-9 with just over 6:00 remaining. That play gave the Bucs' offense the ball on Baltimore's 25-yard line. McCardell's fourth catch of the game was across the middle of the field for a 16-yard gain. It put the offense on Baltimore's 15-yard line. McCardell caught four passes for 38 yards against the Ravens.

Bucs WR Keyshawn Johnson caught a pass across the middle of the field for a 20-yard gain on the first drive of the game. His catch put the Bucs on Baltimore's 25-yard line. His second catch of the game came in the second quarter when he hauled in a pass for a short gain, but it gave the offense a first down. Johnson ran a nice post route to haul in a 21-yard pass from Johnson in the third quarter, which gave the Bucs the ball at Baltimore's 25-yard line. Johnson caught three passes for 47 yards on Sunday.

Bucs WR Joe Jurevicius made a clutch catch at the beginning of the second quarter. He hauled in a pass for a first down on the sideline to give the Bucs a first down instead of having to punt from their own end zone. Jurevicius was flagged for holding toward the end of the third quarter, which negated a first down run by Aaron Stecker. Jurevicius caught two passes for 18 yards on Sunday.

*Tampa Bay's offense was 6-of-14 on third-down conversions against Baltimore.

GRADE: B


TIGHT ENDS:
Tampa Bay tight end Ken Dilger left the game in the first half with an elbow injury. Todd Yoder started in his place and Marco Battaglia served as the team's second tight end. Yoder was penalized for a false start, which moved the offense out of the red zone in the third quarter. Yoder didn't catch any passes and isn't known for his blocking ability, but he filled in well for Dilger. Battaglia dropped the only pass thrown to him on Sunday.

GRADE: C+


OFFENSIVE LINE:
Bucs right tackle Kenyatta Walker and right guard Cosey Coleman returned to the starting lineup, which apparently helped this unit. They were able to provide QB Brad Johnson with much more time to throw than last Sunday, which allowed Johnson to complete his first eight passes of the game. Tampa Bay's offensive line played well against Baltimore's 3-4 defense in terms of pass protection, but they had trouble opening up holes in the running game.

Bucs left guard Kerry Jenkins was flagged for a false start in the third quarter, which set up a third-and-goal from the 17-yard line.

*Tampa Bay's offensive line only allowed Johnson to get sacked one time against Baltimore's 3-4 defense. But they did allow Johnson to get hurried too often and struggled to open up holes in the running game.

GRADE: C


DEFENSIVE LINE:
Tampa Bay right defensive end Simeon Rice nearly intercepted QB Chris Redman on a screen-pass on the Ravens' first drive of the game. But Rice lost his balance and couldn't hold onto the ball. The defensed pass did, however, cause the Ravens' offense to go three-and-out and punt. Rice jumped offsides toward the end of the second quarter, which moved the Ravens into field goal range. Rice recorded one tackle on Sunday.

Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp was penalized 15 yards for picking up RB Jamal Lewis and slamming him to the turf after the whistle had blown with under 1:00 remaining in the first quarter. The Ravens were able to work their way into Tampa Bay territory after that penalty, but Sapp did a good job of tackling Lewis on a draw play on third down, which caused the Ravens to punt instead of attempting a field goal in the second quarter. Sapp recorded two tackles against the Ravens.

Bucs nose tackle Anthony McFarland had a fantastic game. He pressured Redman often and recorded a sack with 6:00 remaining in the third quarter. McFarland recorded two tackles on Sunday.

Tampa Bay backup defensive end Ellis Wyms showed some impressive speed when he won a one-on-one matchup in the trenches and sacked QB Chris Redman with just under 4:00 remaining in the second quarter. Wyms recorded two tackles against the Ravens.

Bucs left defensive end Greg Spires was flagged for a fasemask penalty in the fourth quarter, which moved Baltimore's offense into Tampa Bay territory. Spires recorded two tackles on Sunday.

*Tampa Bay's defensive line held Baltimore RB Jamal Lewis to rush for 53 yards on 17 carries (3.1 avg.). This longest run of the game was for eight yards. The Bucs' front four also pressured QB Chris Redman often and recorded three sacks.

GRADE: A-


LINEBACKERS:
Tampa Bay strongside linebacker Al Singleton dropped an interception toward the end of the second quarter. He was called for holding on the second play of the fourth quarter, which gave Baltimore a first down at midfield. Singleton did, however, lead the team in tackles with 10 on Sunday.

Singleton, MLB Shelton Quarles and WLB Derrick Brooks played excellent run defense. Brooks made a nice pass breakup on a third-and-9 with just under 10:00 remaining in the fourth quarter. That play stalled a drive that was moving into Tampa Bay territory. Not only did Brooks reserve the shutout with 1:00 remaining in the game by picking off a pass thrown by Redman, but he returned it 96 yards for a touchdown, which put the Bucs up 26-0. Brooks recorded four tackles. Quarles recorded six tackles on Sunday.

*Baltimore was 4-of-15 on third down conversions.

GRADE: A


SECONDARY:
Bucs CB Ronde Barber nearly intercepted QB Chris Redman on the Ravens' opening drive, but he couldn't hold on. If Barber would've held onto the ball, he would have returned it for a touchdown. Barber made another nice pass breakup on Baltimore's second drive of the game. Tampa Bay's defense caused Baltimore's offense to go three-and out again. Barber had a fantastic open-field tackle on RB Jamal Lewis on a screen-play with under 1:00 remaining in the second quarter. Barber made several pass breakups in the second half, which prevented big plays downfield by Baltimore. Barber had a phenomenal game and recorded five tackles and six passes defensed.

Bucs SS John Lynch almost picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, but he couldn't handle the ball so it went out of bounds in the end zone, which gave Tampa bay two points (safety). Lynch played extremely well against the run and in the secondary and recorded six tackles.

Bucs FS Dexter Jackson recorded four tackles on Sunday.

Bucs CB Brian Kelly was flagged for an illegal hands to the face penalty, which gave the Ravens' offense a first down with 7:30 remaining in the third quarter. Kelly was involved in Ravens WR Brandon Stokley's 21-yard reception, which put Baltimore on Tampa Bay's 26-yard line. Stokley had separation and made a nice catch. Kelly put himself in position to get an interception toward the end of the fourth quarter, but he couldn't haul the pass in while diving for it. Kelly recorded three tackles against the Ravens on Sunday.

Tampa Bay's defense only allowed QB Chris Redman to complete 16-of-38 passes for 141 yards. The Ravens gained just 173 yards of total offense against the Bucs' defense.

GRADE: A-


SPECIAL TEAMS:
Tampa Bay punt returner Karl Williams had a nice 56-yard punt return for a touchdown with 2:00 remaining in the first quarter. He made some nice moves, but also received some key blocks from CB Corey Ivy, CB Ronde Barber and RB Aaron Stecker, which allowed "The Truth" to run to the end zone. The punt return for a touchdown, which was set up by Tupa's corner punt and the defense's ability to make the Ravens' offense go three-and-out, gave the Bucs a 10-0 lead.

Tampa Bay kicker Martin Gramatica drilled a 36-yard field goal after the Bucs' opening drive stalled on Baltimore's 18-yard line. His ensuing kickoff was short and gave the Ravens the ball at their own 30-yard line. Gramatica kicked his second field goal of the game toward the end of the second quarter. It was a 30-yarder. His third field goal of the game came in the third quarter when he drilled a 28-yard field goal. That put the Bucs up 18-0.

Tampa Bay punter Tom Tupa pinned the Ravens' offense on its own three-yard line with a 41-yard punt in the first quarter. The punt was perfectly placed down the sideline.

Ellis Wyms and Chartric Darby blocked Baltimore's 55-yard field goal attempt with :03 remaining in the first half. Bucs DE Simeon Rice picked the ball up and returned it deep into Ravens territory, but was tackled with no time remaining. If he would've seen SS John Lynch running behind him, he could have pitched it back to him and Lynch probably would have scored a touchdown.

Dwight Smith was called for a personal foul penalty when he ran out of bounds and came back in bounds in the third quarter. The penalty put the offense on its own eight-yard line. Smith did, however, make a nice open-field tackle on a punt return toward the end of the third quarter.

Bucs DT Warren Sapp blocked on the extra point/field goal blocking team against Baltimore on Sunday.

Tampa Bay CB Corey Ivy was outstanding on punt return coverage.

*The Bucs held the Ravens to under 20 yards per kick return on Sunday.

GRADE: A


Click here to discuss this topic and more with other PewterReport.com Club Insiders on the Pewter Message Boards.

Click here to ask one of the Pewter Report editors about this topic on the "Ask The Insiders" Message Boards.

All PewterReport.com photos are courtesy of Pewter Report director of photography Cliff Welch unless noted otherwise. Click here to visit Welch's web site.


Copyright 2002 Pewter Report/PewterReport.com

This story is intended to be read only by PewterReport.com Club Insiders only and TheInsiders.com. Sharing of the Club content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.

Get more analysis, inside information and expert commentary by subscribing to Pewter Report or by calling 1-800-881-BUCS(2827).

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


Bucs Blitz Top Stories