Bucs Game Grades

October 20 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were downed by the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, 20-10. Which players fared well? Which players didn't? PewterReport.com has distributed grades based on the Buccaneers' performance against the Eagles on Sunday.

QUARTERBACKS
Tampa Bay QB Brad Johnson completed 19-of-31 passes for just 124 yards and threw one interception. Brad Johnson had what was easily his worst game of the season against Philadelphia. He was obviously uncomfortable in the pocket from the start of the game and for good reason. The Eagles were relentless in terms of sending blitz packages at Johnson and Tampa Bay's quarterback didn't do a very good job of recognizing them. When Johnson did have time to throw the ball, he was inaccurate. He had a chance to hit WR Keyshawn Johnson for a touchdown on a bomb in the second half, but Brad Johnson threw an errant pass in the end zone. Johnson was knocked down after almost every throw and Bucs head coach Jon Gruden's play-calling had Johnson rolling out of the pocket to try to buy himself some more time to throw, but that strategy obviously didn't work since Johnson is immobile. Johnson had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with bruised ribs.

Tampa Bay backup QB Rob Johnson didn't fare much better than Brad Johnson when he came in during the fourth quarter, but his mobility did move Tampa Bay's offense down the field and into Philadelphia's red zone late in the game. Johnson completed 4-of-7 passes for 31 yards. He rushed for 10 yards on three carries.

*Tampa Bay was just 3-of-13 on third down conversions against Philadelphia.

GRADE: D+


RUNNING BACKS
Tampa Bay's running attack was nonexistent against Philadelphia, which was the main reason QB Brad Johnson was getting blitzed so much. Bucs RB Michael Pittman rushed 12 times for 49 yards (4.1 avg.). He also caught four passes for 15 yards. But Pittman fumbled twice against Philadelphia. One of them was recovered by G Cosey Coleman and the other was negated after a false start penalty called on RT Kenyatta Walker.

Bucs FB Mike Alstott fumbled after hauling in a pass in the first quarter. The turnover set Philadelphia up deep in Tampa Bay territory, but the Bucs' defense held Philly to a field goal. Alstott rushed five times for 14 yards (2.1 avg.). He also caught five passes for eight yards. Alstott saw action as a lead-blocker, but didn't fare well in that role.

*Tampa Bay rushed for 81 yards and averaged just 3.9 yards per carry on Sunday.

GRADE: D+


WIDE RECEIVERS:
Tampa Bay WR Joe Jurevicius hauled in three big passes for 35 yards against Philadelphia. Bucs WR Keyshawn Johnson also caught three passes for 38 yards. Bucs WR Keenan McCardell led the team in receptions with five for 32 yards. Philadelphia's relentless pass rush didn't allow Tampa Bay's quarterbacks to find their receivers as often as they would have liked.

GRADE: C


TIGHT ENDS:
Tampa Bay TE Ken Dilger quietly caught two passes for nine yards. He spent most of the game blocking on the offensive line. Bucs TE Rickey Dudley hauled in a 18-yard pass for a first down, but it was his only catch of the game. Dudley struggled to block against the Eagles.

GRADE: C


OFFENSIVE LINE:
Tampa Bay's offensive line was horrendous. They allowed QB Brad Johnson to get knocked down too many times and they failed to open up anything in the running game. The offensive line allowed six sacks on Sunday. Tampa Bay offensive guards Cosey Coleman and Kerry Jenkins both recovered fumbles. Bucs right tackle Kenyatta Walker was penalized for two false starts. The offensive line allowed Philadelphia defenders to come after Brad Johnson untouched on a few occasions, which just can't happen.

GRADE: F


DEFENSIVE LINE:
Tampa Bay's defensive line finally got to QB Donovan McNabb, which is why the team was able to the game close after being outscored 51-12 in their previous two playoff games. The Bucs sacked McNabb twice, one of which was by DE Simeon Rice, who forced a fumble, which allowed LB Derrick Brooks to grab the loose ball and sprint into the end zone for a touchdown in the first quarter. Rice recorded six tackles and one sack. Bucs DT Warren Sapp recorded three tackles and recorded one sack, which moved the Eagles' offense back nine yards. Sapp had to leave the game briefly after being poked in the eye. McNabb threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to WR Todd Pinkston while Sapp was sidelined. Tampa Bay DE Ellis Wyms recorded two tackles. Tampa Bay's defensive line played very well until late in the fourth quarter when they grew tired and probably realized their offense wasn't going to be able to score on Philly's defense. As a result, the Bucs allowed RB Duce Staley to rush for 152 yards on 24 carries (6.2 avg.), including a 57-yarder with under 2:00 remaining in the game.

GRADE: B-


LINEBACKERS:
Tampa Bay weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks scored his fourth touchdown of the season when Rice forced the fumble after sacking McNabb in the first quarter. Brooks returned the fumble 11 yards for the score, which put the Bucs up 7-3. He finished the game with five tackles. Tampa Bay middle linebacker Shelton Quarles had eight tackles. Strongside linebacker Al Singleton recorded three tackles. Tampa Bay's linebackers did a nice job of containing McNabb. Philadelphia's elusive quarterback was only able to rush for four yards on six carries.

GRADE: B


SECONDARY:
Tampa Bay SS John Lynch recorded eight tackles against Philadelphia. Lynch played the run extremely well. Bucs CB Brian Kelly had a solid game. He recorded five tackles, one interception and defended a career-high four passes. Tampa Bay FS Dexter Jackson had a costly mistake late in the second quarter. Two receivers got open deep down the field, which caused Jackson to hesitate for a moment. That slight hesitation allowed Eagles WR Todd Pinkston to haul in a 42-yard touchdown pass from McNabb, which put Philly up 10-7. Jackson recorded five tackles. It looked like he had intercepted a pass near Tampa Bay's own goal line in the second half, but CB Dwight Smith, who recorded one tackle, was called for pass interference on the third-and-goal play, which gave Philadelphia a first down and eventually led to a touchdown. Smith was also penalized for an illegal block on Kelly's interception return.

*Tampa Bay's defense only allowed McNabb to complete 12-of-25 passes for 127 yards.

GRADE: B-


SPECIAL TEAMS:
This unit easily had its worst outing this season against Philadelphia. They allowed KR/PR Brian Mitchell to give the Eagles' offense excellent field position throughout the game with long punt and kick returns. The tackling on special teams was appalling. Bucs rookie LB Ryan Nece was penalized for holding. Tampa Bay CB Corey Ivy was also penalized. Bucs K Martin Gramatica drilled a 48-yard field goal in the third quarter, but missed a very costly 29-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter. If Gramatica had made the field goal, it would have brought Tampa Bay within one score. Bucs long snapper Ryan Benjamin fared well on Sunday. Bucs P Tom Tupa averaged 42.6 yards per punt and punted seven times.

GRADE: F


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