The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a major step backwards on Friday night and got trounced by the Tennessee Titans 30-7 in their preseason home opener.
We went back and watched the game again and here is what Buccaneers101.com came away with in regards to the offense:
After near perfect games in Miami, quarterbacks Josh Freeman and Dan Orlovsky were brought back down to Earth against Tennessee's defense. Freeman wasn't accurate at all but that's probably because he was scrambling for his life on nearly every dropback. Still, when he had time in the pocket, Freeman wasn't sharp and nearly had a lameduck throw intercepted early in the game. The Bucs starter finished just 4-of-10 for 21 yards with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams in the first quarter.
Orlovsky was abysmal. After going 8-of-8 last week, the backup signal caller completed just 1-of-5 passes for a measly six yards. Like Freeman, Orlovsky had pressure in his face most of the night, but he was careless with the football and coughed it up twice (one interception and one fumble on a strip-sack). He has to do a better job of protecting the football when defenders are on the attack.
This unit provided the biggest plays of the game, if you even want to call them that. LeGarrette Blount got the start again, but found little room to run behind Tampa Bay's ineffective offensive line. It was hard for Blount to get any momentum going when he was being hit at the line of scrimmage on nearly every carry. He had eight carries for just 11 yards before leaving with a groin injury in the second quarter.
Rookie first-rounder Doug Martin had a little more success than Blount. He ripped off a nine-yard carry early in the game and also had a 16-yard scamper that was called back due to a holding penalty. Martin had 23 yards on seven carries and for the second straight week showed off his agility and ability to break tackles.
Seventh-round pick Michael Smith broke off a 17-yard carry in the second half and finished as the team's leading rusher with 31 yards on seven carries. He also handled the kickoff return duties and averaged 26 yards per return with a long of 30. His productivity so far has kept Mossis Madu at bay and Smith looks like he will be the No. 3 back on opening day.
The Bucs only had 38 receiving yards as a team against Tennessee so there isn't much to write home about. Vincent Jackson was targeted right out the gates. He was open on Tampa Bay's first play, but Freeman's pass missed badly. Jackson's first and only catch of the night gained eight yards and a first down to keep the Bucs' opening drive alive.
Mike Williams scored Tampa Bay's only points in the first quarter when he caught a jump ball in the end zone with a cornerback draped all over him. Williams shook off the defender and snagged the ball out of the air for a 2-yard touchdown. It was his only catch of the night.
No other receivers made a catch and they got little separation in order to help out their quarterbacks.
For the second week in a row, the tight ends did very little. Backup Danny Noble was lined up in a number of different spots and caught two short passes; one where he was lined up in the backfield. Drake Dunsmore and Zack Pianalto each caught a pass, but once again didn't do much to help out the offensive line in the run blocking department.
It was a very rough night for Tampa Bay's boys up front. They struggled with the Titans defensive line and didn't give Freeman much time in the pocket to go through his progressions. They also struggled to open up holes in the run game for Blount and Martin and when they did, it was because someone was holding a defender.
The second unit struggled even more and allowed Orlovsky to get sacked four times. Overall, the O-line wasn't stout at the point of attack and got pushed around way too much. Things will likely get better, but it was definitely a poor performance by a group that has big expectations.
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