As good as the offense played in the game, the Bucs got too conservative at times and it really killed momentum ala the Rah-Rah Raheem days. Look, I get it, teams aren’t expecting a draw play on third and long — wait, EVERY team in the NFL is prepared for a draw or screen on third and long. The difficulty is in the execution and the Bucs were too conservative in that aspect as well.
One of the major frustrations a lot of people I know have (and I’m talking Vikings fans here) was when Brad Childress was the head coach, it was almost a certainty that on third down, Toby Gerhart would get the ball on a draw play to basically set up a punt. I’m not saying the Bucs are that bad but it did bring up that memory.
Particularly on a late 4th-and-1 play that saw Schiano end up sending out Michael Koenen rather than Josh Freeman. That’s one thing you have to credit Raheem Morris with: he was bat-crap crazy enough to end out Josh Freeman and his big frame and either use a hard count or try and draw the defense offsides (see: the win at home against the Falcons last year) or send Freeman out to use his big frame to push the ball over for a first down.
There’s not many things at all that Raheem did well, but that was one thing I wish I had seen on Sunday. Had the Bucs converted, they would have kept the ball in a tie game and could have set up a Connor Barth field goal. If they had failed, the Giants likely would have scored as they did anyways after the punt, only there may have been more time on the clock at the end.
This team is still gelling together, and there will be growing pains as Schiano gets his footing in an NFL style of offense. And I understand Mike Sullivan wasn’t running QB sneaks with Eli Manning, but you have to at least consider the option in those situations. Being too conservative helped do the Bucs in on Sunday, and although they shouldn’t go Wild Wild West with the offense, I’d trade an end-around for a QB sneak on 4th-and-1 any day of the week in terms of maximum trick plays.