For the last 21 hours, I have been trying to process the feelings that I have from yesterdays game. There were certainly positive signs from the game, and the increasingly normal questionable coaching calls from Raheem “Radio” Morris.
For starters, Josh Freeman was fantastic. 20 for 29, 250 yards and 2 TD’s. He had 1 fumble that he regained and no interceptions. He showed the ability to roll to the opposite side of his body and throw on the run, which thus far he looks quite comfortable doing (a really hard pass to make). He is also so big that he can scan the field quite well for a guy so young. He has a big arm that resulted in some big throws down the field early in the game. Best game as a pro thusfar for Freeman. He still has some issues with touch passes on screens and short routes, that I think are more attributable to his accuracy as a whole, but once again, great game from Josh.
Coaching once again though was awful at best. 8 penalties for 52 yards, untimely decisions to try some trickery, poor clock management and poor time out management have things that have plagued Radio all year, and he doesn’t really seem to be improving on them whatsoever. The clock and the timeout management things are fundamental problems that most regular couch watching fans can see as problems. Our offensive game plan also seems to completely change in the 2nd half of the game. I’m not sure whether this is Radio trying to be conservative (but then trying a fake punt?) or Greg Olsen getting conservative in the 2nd half, but regardless, these are game plan changes and they are not changing for the better. Freeman was throwing the ball downfield with his big arm in the first half, and we seemed to completely abandon that approach, even though it was working in favor or a short yardage, bubble screen, wideout screen approach that doesn’t properly utilize the obvious strengths that Freeman has.
Raheem the Dream taking over the defense seemed to have some good results, mainly in the first half as the Bucs were fired up and generated a good pass rush against a banged up Falcons defensive line. Stylez G White and Tim Crowder both were beastly accounting for 4 sacks between them. The 3 linebackers led the game with 26 tackles between them, and both Geno Hayes and Quincy Black looked much more comfortable playing in a Tampa 2 style defense that fits them both much better. Sabby Piscatelli, while making one nice play on some deep coverage still seems like a liability in the Cover 2 to me. He does not turn and pivot well enough to adjust his routes to make enough plays in the Deep Half of the field he is assigned.
It all boils down to wins and losses though, and once again, we blew a game in the waning moments and lost. My depression levels rises once again.