Most disappointing players in week 16

First of all, Merry Christmas, Bucs fans. Writing the most disappointing today feels weird on a day that has brought me so much joy, but alas, this is the Tampa Bay team we got to know this season. Still the Bucs brought a Christmas wish with a come-from-behind 19-16 overtime win against the cardinals.

It was, as you might expect, another sloppy game for the Bucs, but a win is a win. The team settles its fate at 7-8 and a win against Carolina next Sunday earns them the division crown. They will have to play much better against the sweltering Panthers than on Christmas Eve.

Tom Brady

Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

After starting the night by marching down the field using a defensive pass interference call, Brady missed a wide open Julio Jones in the third down end zone. Later he was under pressure but was hanging in the pocket to deliver a deep ball to Mike Evans when he was hit. The ball was thrown under and picked for his seventh interception in six games.

Brady then threw his second interception on the offense’s second drive at halftime. Marco Wilson came down with his second pick of the game by undermining a deep pass aimed at Evans, who broke open on the play.

Brady would find Rachaad White for his lone score of the night, finishing the game 32-of-48 for 281 yards, the touchdown, and his two interceptions. He was all too often off target that night, but to his credit he came through again in the clutch. He was perfect on the game-winning drive that set up Ryan Succop’s 40-yard field goal.

Punt teams

On the Cardinals’ first drive of the game, they went for it on a fake punt from fourth and successfully executed it. On the heels of a big third down stop, Arizona punter Andy Lee threw the ball to Kamu Grugier-Hill for a four-yard gain and another streak of downs. In the second half, the Bucs punt coverage team gave up a 28-yard return to put the Cardinals inside Tampa Bay territory.

Josh Wells

The big turnaround of the defense by Anthony Nelson gave Wells a false start penalty on the Bucs’ second drive of the game. It would prove costly as the Bucs would not convert in fourth place. On the Bucs’ third drive, Wells let JJ Watt split inside to break through for a tackle for loss. To be the night came to an unhappy and early endbecause he suffered a torn left patellar tendon and will miss the rest of the season.

Cade Otto

Otton had a big drop on a third down target that would have picked up a first down and sustained the drive. He was also called for an illegal shift that nullified a Julio Jones touchdown. The rookie later got his second penalty of the night after a false start on the offense’s second drive after the half.

Attacking play-calling

While the Cardinals displayed plenty of creative looks, made pre-snap moves, and even rushed in the middle of a drive, the Bucs were the same old song and dance. Facing a 2nd-and-1 early in the game, the Bucs ran the ball for no gain. On 3rd and 1 they did the same. And on 4 and 1 they did the same and actually lost a yard. Then, on the final drive before halftime, the team turned four straight for Leonard Fournette, including two runs through the middle that totaled eight yards.

Seemingly adamant about getting something on the ground, the Bucs executed it repeatedly with little success out of the half. Perhaps one of the biggest setbacks was the decision to call a point on 3rd-3 in the final two minutes when the team needed just a field goal to win. The Bucs had to kick the ball when a score could have won it under the rules.

Robert Haisey

Whenever the Cardinals fielded Watt against Haisney in the interior, he caused all kinds of trouble for the freshman starting center. On the Bucs’ third drive of the game, Watt bull-rushed the second-year pro to hit Brady as he threw.

Execute defense

The Bucs’ defense just isn’t what it used to be. James Conner provided the once acclaimed defense throughout the game. The Bucs gave up runs of 22 and 20 yards to Conner and Dortch and were maimed a total of 121 yards that night. Connor averaged 5.3 yards apiece on 15 attempts for 79 yards and a score. Meanwhile, Dortch scored 8.3 yards at a time on his three attempts.

With Greg Dortch

Cardinals Wr Greg Dortch and Bucs Fs Logan Ryan

Cardinals WR Greg Dortch and Bucs FS Logan Ryan – Photo by: USA Today

The Bucs had all sorts of problems with the young wide receiver. On the Cardinals’ first drive, Dortch had a three-yard end-around and grabbed a first down. In the same series, he took a catch from 23 yards deep in the field. He reeled in a short pass on Arizona’s second drive, which he spun nine yards onto the field.

Dortch broke loose for a 20-yard end-around in their third set. With only 28 seconds in the first half, he then reeled in a great sideline catch for 17 yards. He picked up a quick five yards on a catch and run to help improve the field goal position for the Cardinals to tie it at six before halftime. Dortch fired the Bucs for 10 receptions on 11 targets for 98 yards to go with his three carries for 25 yards.

Brandon Walton

Walton replaced Josh Wells at left tackle after suffering an injury and immediately allowed pressure from Cam Thomas. Thomas hit Brady, who had to get off the football quickly to avoid the sack. On the next play, Walton let his man, Trysten Hill, off his block to make the tackle on the ball carrier.

Cardinals CB Marco Wilson

Cardinals CB Marco Wilson – Photo by: USA Today

Walton was then charged with a big push from Thomas, which Brady hit as he threw his pass which was intercepted. In the second half, Walton had Watt blow him up and go through him for a tackle for a loss. He also received a major penalty for a false start in overtime, which sent the Bucs five yards back and out of the red zone. He held up much better in running protection, but gave several pressures on passes.

Mike Edwards

Edwards was part of two massive play swings for the Cardinals. The first was a deep pass to Hollywood Brown where Edwards got out of position during the play. Then the second led to six points when blocked from the game, allowing James Conner to score from 22 yards to improve Arizona’s lead to 16–6.

Mental errors and problems in the red zone

Wells was given a false start penalty for stalling a ride. Down in the red zone, Otton and Julio Jones were called on an illegal serve that nullified a Jones touchdown. On the next play, Tristan Wirfs right tackled a holding penalty that nullified Otton’s first downcatch. The Bucs did not want to convert and had to settle for three points. That’s a major set of errors.

The Bucs found the end zone in the fourth quarter with a touchdown catch by Rachaad White. A false start penalty sent the Bucs up five yards in overtime and out of the red zone. The Bucs finished with just five penalties for 30 yards, but several key flags kept the points off the board.

#disappointing #players #week

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