Grading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Performance against the Arizona Cardinals


Sep 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) reacts as he walks back to the locker room after the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium. Arizona Cardinals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now 0-4 after another game-losing field goal moment, this time against the Arizona Cardinals. But how did the team actually perform on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals? Let’s take a look at each unit of the team and give them their own grades.


(Spoiler warning, they get an F.)

The offense for the Buccaneers was absolutely embarrassing on Sunday, and that’s because it was so easily defended. Tampa Bay was starting a quarterback who had no experience and a slow dropback, and needed to rely on the running game to get things going and set up the offense.

So what does a smart defensive coordinator do? Get guys in the backfield! The Cardinals sent pressure after the run and the pass all game long, particularly by attacking the middle of the Buccaneers’ line, and that ruined the Bucs’ offense on every level.

According to Pro Football Focus, Mike Glennon was 5 of 15 while under pressure on Sunday. That means he was 19 of 28 on throws that weren’t under pressure, but for only 160 yards. So the offense didn’t stretch the field at all, and that kept men in the box to stop Doug Martin.

Martin ran very well, but finished with 45 yards on 27 carries. He simply had nowhere to go. But he hurt his team with a fumbled QB/RB exchange and some missed pass blocks.

In the first half, Mike Williams was chewing up Jerraud Powers, beating him on routes over and over and getting open for his rookie quarterback. But as the game progressed, the Bucs didn’t look to the short routes as often, and Williams had fewer opportunities to get open. On the other hand, Vincent Jackson was locked down by Patrick Peterson for most of the first half, and then in the second half when Glennon tried to force the ball to his best receiver, it ended in disaster with two interceptions.

Overall, the offense was not good enough, and was extremely easy to defend. Teams will allow Kevin Ogletree, Tim Wright, and Erik Lorig to beat them by locking up Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams and rushing the passer and stacking the box against the run.

Grade: F


Let’s start with the bad news: The Buccaneers struggle to get consistent pressure on the quarterback when not sending blitzes. This is especially true of their defensive ends, who rank in the bottom six in the NFL in Pass Rushing Productivity according to Pro Football Focus. Pass Rushing Productivity compares the amount of hurries, hits and sacks a player gets while rushing the passer against their amount of plays spent as a pass rusher, and clearly Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Adrian Clayborn aren’t succeeding in this area.

Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) runs onto the field before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

But Clayborn has done well when he’s had his moments to get into the backfield, and he’s also played well against the run. But his contributions pale in comparison to Gerald McCoy’s.

McCoy has been unstoppable so far this season, bursting through the middle of offensive lines and getting after quarterbacks and running backs with ease. He was held and mauled all day by the Cardinals, and still made a huge impact on the game. If it was possible for a defensive tackle to win a game for his team, McCoy would have done that on Sunday. He’s an incredible player who Bucs’ fans should be proud to say is a member of their favorite team.

The linebackers continue to play well, led by Lavonte David who flies across the field making plays. Mason Foster has definitely improved his pass coverage abilities, and continues to stop the run well.

The defensive backs did a very good job as well, with the exception of Ahmad Black who was caught out a couple of times in his deep zone coverage. But Darrelle Revis, Johnthan Banks, and even Leonard Johnson had solid games locking down the top three receivers for Arizona, with Revis probably playing the worst simply because he allowed a touchdown.

Grade: B+

Special Teams

Eric Page is a very good punt returner, and should stay in that role until further notice.

Jeff Demps is a talented athlete, but he needs to be reigned in. His decision to bring kicks out of the back of the end zone hurt his team, as it set the Cardinals up with good field position in a crucial moment in the fourth quarter.

Rian Lindell made a field goal! And Michael Koenen continues to do his thing, which is boom kickoffs out of the end zone while also being a mediocre punter at best. Full credit to him for avoiding the Cardinals’ talented return men for most of the day, as that was clearly a point of emphasis.

Grade: C


Darrelle Revis was primarily lined up against Larry Fitzgerald, but it was on the moments where Fitz got free from Revis in the second half where he did most of his damage. Still, the Bucs’ did a better job of using Revis on Sunday.

The defense was generally good, so they receiving passing grades for yet another impressive performance there.

But the offense was not good, and some of that has to fall on the coaches. Mike Glennon was placed at quarterback under the premise that he was a game manager who could help the team win. But all Glennon’s presence under center did for the Buccaneers was make them easier to defend, as the Cardinals kept everything in front of them and forced Glennon to throw the ball short.

The offense did get a bit creative in how they used Jeff Demps, but other than that it was a story of a reasonable first half with lots of short passes for Mike Glennon followed by a second half where Glennon was asked to throw the ball deeper, which he struggled to do.

Considering that the Mike Glennon switch was a coaching move, and it did nothing to help the offense, that will earn the coaching a low grade for the day despite a solid defensive performance.

Grade: D