Bucs Game Grades

November 24 - Tampa Bay downed Green Bay Sunday, 21-7. With the win, the Bucs now own a 9-2 record, which is the best in the NFL. The Pewter Pirates also own a two-game over the Saints in the NFC South Division. Which players fared well? Which players didn't? PewterReport.com has distributed grades to the Pewter Pirates based on their performance against the Packers on Sunday.

QUARTERBACKS
Bucs QB Brad Johnson got raked in the right eye on the team's first drive and was replaced by backup QB Rob Johnson. Rob Johnson had one of his passes picked on the first drive deep inside Green Bay territory. Rob Johnson drove the offense into Green Bay territory again on the team's second drive, but he took a sack after motioning CB Mike McKenzie right to him. Then, on third down, Johnson pulled the ball down and scrambled due to pressure, but he failed to locate a few open receivers downfield, which caused the team to punt. Rob Johnson completed 3-of-5 passes for 33 yards and he threw one interception. One could say the Bucs probably wouldn't have won this game if Rob Johnson had stayed in the game.

Brad Johnson returned to the game with 10:04 remaining in the second quarter. Brad Johnson made very good decisions with the football and although his pass protection was inconsistent, Johnson stood in the pocket and delivered some nice passes throughout the evening. He showed some guts by scrambling five yards for a key first down late in the second quarter. Johnson was flagged for intentional grounding, which pinned the offense back five yards in Green Bay territory in the middle of the third quarter. But K Martin Gramatica still drilled a 51-yard field goal to make the score 7-6. Johnson completed 15-of-25 passes for 134 yards and he tossed two touchdowns and no interceptions. He would have put up even better numbers than these, but he had several passes dropped by his receivers.

*Tampa Bay converted just 2-of-11 first downs (18 percent) against Green Bay.

GRADE: B


RUNNING BACKS
Bucs RB Michael Pittman took his first carry of the game and swept to the weakside for a 19-yard gain. Pittman came up with a huge 23-yard reception in the middle of the third quarter. The play moved Tampa Bay into Green Bay territory. Pittman had 13 carries for 50 yards (3.8 avg.), including a long of 19 yards. He also caught two passes for 23 yards.

Bucs FB Mike Alstott got most of his carries at the team's tailback late in the third quarter. He helped pound the ball into Green Bay's red zone. Alstott finished the game with nine carries for 30 yards (3.3 avg.). The "A-Train" caught one pass for eight yards.

*The Bucs rushed for 93 yards and averaged 3.7 yards per carry. Although the running game didn't really get going, it did help Brad Johnson deliver some nice throws on play-action fakes.

GRADE: C


WIDE RECEIVERS:
Rob Johnson's intercepted pass was intended for WR Keyshawn Johnson, who had definitely seen better days as a Buc. The ball popped out of his hands and was intercepted. Johnson dropped another pass across the middle of the field with 8:31 remaining in the first half. The pass was on third down and if Johnson would've caught it, the Bucs would've gotten a first down. But Johnson came up huge with :30 remaining when he hauled in a pass from Brad Johnson across the middle of the field and broke a tackle down to Green Bay's 20-yard line. It set up a 33-yard Martin Gramatica field goal. The score at halftime was 7-3 Packers. Johnson was flagged for illegal motion in the third quarter, which moved the offense back five yards. Keyshawn Johnson came up big again when he slid in the end zone and caught a pass to give the Bucs a 2-point conversion after Jurevicius' score in the third quarter. Keyshawn Johnson caught two passes for 48 yards, including a 39-yarder at the end of the first half.

Bucs WR Karl Williams caught a pass for a short gain in the flat, but he made a nice spin move to pick up 16 yards on Tampa Bay's second drive of the game. It was Williams' only catch of the game.

Tampa Bay WR Keenan McCardell was called for a false start late in the second quarter. McCardell had three catches for 18 yards.

Bucs WR Joe Jurevicius came up with several key catches. He dropped a short pass late in the second quarter that would have given the offense a first down. Jurevevicius' biggest catch in the game came with 5:00 remaining in the third quarter when he hauled in a pass in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The play was originally ruled incomplete, but the Bucs challenged the play and won as the replay showed Jurevicius getting both of his feet down on the ground before going out of bounds. The score put the Bucs up 12-7. The score was set up by CB Brian Kelly's interception. Jurevicius led the team with five receptions for 41 yards and he scored one touchdown.

GRADE: C+


TIGHT ENDS:
Bucs TE Rickey Dudley dropped a pass across the middle of the field while he was wide open on third down. Instead of getting the offense a first down in Green Bay territory, the Bucs were forced to punt. Dudley didn't catch a pass against Green Bay.

Bucs TE Ken Dilger also dropped a pass in the flat in the middle of the third quarter, but the drop wasn't nearly as costly as Dudley's. But Dilger made up for the mistake with 7:24 remaining in the game when Brad Johnson play-action faked on a third-and-goal and hit a wide open Dilger in the flat for the touchdown, which put the Bucs up 21-7. Dilger's score was set up by FS Dexter Jackson's interception. Dilger caught three passes for 17 yards and scored a touchdown. Dilger also continued to display solid blocking ability on the offensive line.

GRADE: B-


OFFENSIVE LINE:
Tampa Bay's offensive line was somewhat inconsistent in its pass protection on Sunday. But the offensive line only allowed two sacks, both of which were taken by backup QB Rob Johnson. Bucs C Jeff Christy was called for a personal foul after Rob Johnson's pass was intercepted. The penalty moved Green Bay up onto Tampa Bay's 30-yard line and the Packers eventually scored a touchdown. Bucs LG Kerry Jenkins struggled in pass protection. Overall, the Bucs' offensive line provided Brad Johnson with enough time to make plays in the passing game. The offensive line didn't, however, play as strong in the running game, but it did do well on sweeps to both the weakside and strongside of the field.

GRADE: B


DEFENSIVE LINE:
Bucs defensive tackle Chuck Darby recorded the team's first sack of the game with 12:00 remaining in the second quarter. The play set Green Bay up with a third-and-18 and eventually caused the Packers to punt. Darby recorded four tackles and stepped up to the challenge of RB Ahman Green pounding the ball right at him.

Bucs DE Simeon Rice threw a tremendous block on CB Brian Kelly's interception return in the middle of the third quarter. Kelly returned the pick 31 yards to Green Bay's 18-yard line. Rice put pressure on Favre throughout the game, but recorded his first sack late in the fourth quarter. Rice recorded his second sack of the contest on the last play of the game. Rice recorded two sacks and five tackles on Sunday.

Bucs DT Warren Sapp made a tremendous block on Kelly's interception, too. His block knocked Packers LT Chad Clifton out of the game. Sapp didn't record a tackle against the Packers.

*Tampa Bay's defensive line was able to put pressure on Green Bay QB Brett Favre throughout Sunday's game and they sacked him three times.

GRADE: A-


LINEBACKERS:

Bucs MLB Shelton Quarles left the game with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter. He immediately went into the team's locker room with what looked like a pulled hamstring. But Nate Webster took his place and filled in well for him. He recorded one tackle. Quarles returned to the game and recorded 10 tackles on Sunday. Quarles was solid against Green Bay's running game.

Bucs WLB Derrick Brooks delivered some hard hits and led the team 12 tackles. Brooks was also a big reason why Green Bay's running attack never took off.

Tampa Bay LB Al Singleton recorded four tackles.

*The Bucs' defense held Packers RB Ahman Green to 56 yards on 18 carries (3.1 avg.). Green Bay rushed for 96 yards on 23 carries (4.2 avg.).

GRADE: A


SECONDARY:
Bucs SS John Lynch made a critical tackle on a reverse in the first quarter. The play went for a 16-yard gain, but it could've been a lot worse. Lynch recorded six tackles.

Bucs CB Brian Kelly had a fantastic game. He started off shaky when he jumped QB Brett Favre's pump fake in the first quarter, which allowed WR Donald Driver to separate from Kelly in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The score came off of Rob Johnson's interception and put Green Bay up 7-0. But Kelly came up big when he intercepted Favre with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter. The pick really changed the momentum in this game. He returned the pick 31 yards to Green Bay's 18-yard line. Kelly grabbed another one of Favre's passes for his second interception of the game. The pick came near Tampa Bay's own goal line and kept the Packers from scoring points. Kelly recorded three tackles.

Buc CB Ronde Barber, who was playing with a broken thumb and a cast on his left hand, made two key pass breakups. And he came up even bigger late in the third quarter when he picked off QB Brett Favre on the Packers' 21-yard line. Barber used his cast to deflect the ball into his good hand. The pick stalled Green Bay's drive, which was moving towards Tampa Bay's end zone. Barber recorded three tackles.

Tampa Bay nickel CB Dwight Smith made a great play on a deep ball thrown by Favre in the second quarter. He displayed great awareness and speed and broke up a potential big play. Smith recorded three tackles.

Bucs FS Dexter Jackson made a nice open-field tackle on RB Ahman Green in the third quarter, which set up a second-and-19 for Green Bay. Jackson came up huge with 8:42 remaining in the fourth quarter when he intercepted Favre on a deep pass across the middle of the field. Jackson returned the ball 58 yards to Green Bay's 2-yard line. Jackson recorded seven tackles.

*Tampa Bay only allowed Green Bay QB Brett Favre to complete 20-of-38 passes for 196 yards. Favre threw one touchdown and four interceptions.

GRADE: A+


SPECIAL TEAMS:
Tampa Bay CB Ronde Barber was called for holding on a punt return late in the second quarter, which set Tampa Bay's offense up at their own 6-yard line.

Bucs punter Tom Tupa was brilliant in terms of landing punts inside the 20-yard line. He placed four of his punts inside Green Bay's 20 and averaged 43.6 yards per punt.

Bucs kicker Martin Gramatica drilled a 31-yard field goal attempt with no time remaining in the first half. He came up huge with 7:33 remaining in the third quarter when he drilled a 51-yard field goal, which cut the Packers' lead to 7-6.

Bucs FS Dexter Jackson was called for 15-yard line facemask penalty on PR Karl Williams' return with 10:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.

GRADE: B+


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