Buccaneers Stat Shot: Analyzing 2017 Week 11 vs the Dolphins
By Marc Magana
The Buccaneers got, what most would call, an ugly win on Sunday. The Dolphins played a terrible game and repeatedly shot themselves in the foot and still, the Bucs won by only ten (Seven of which came on the last play of the game.)
Looking at the stat line early on for the Buccaneers and Dolphins, one thing jumped out at me. Miami played a sloppy game. The Bucs defense has to be credited for sure, but make no mistake, seventeen penalties for 123-yards is pretty terrible. Tampa’s defense played well, but i just want to make it clear, they beat a bad team yesterday in Miami. A win is absolutely a win, but there are still plenty of flaws to address on this roster.
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The Buccaneers offense once again led by Ryan Fitzpatrick looked solid, albeit a little unspectacular.
In the first half they did a good job of converting the turnovers they got into points. O.J. Howard had a good game, Fitzpatrick didn’t turn the ball over and Mike Evans had almost 93 yards in his return to the field.
Doug Martin and the running game struggled once again, but that’s been par for the course this season. Martin isn’t to blame as much as people want to blame him, but that’s a topic for another day.
The Good: 17
The Bucs weren’t good in the red zone (40%), they weren’t good on third down (3-for-13 = 23%), but one area they did do well in, was scoring points off turnovers.
Jay Cutler and the defense did a great job creating turnovers for the offense and the offense turned those into points. If not for a missed field goal from Pat Murray, it would have been twenty points off of turnovers. Solid effort of turnovers, the flip side isn’t pretty though.
The Bad: 6
The Bucs only scored six points other than the points off turnovers. They managed only three points in the second half besides the defensive touchdown at the very end of the game. The offense is averaging 264-yards per game over the past three games. Granted, missing Jameis Winston (and Evans last game) was a big blow, but regardless the offense isn’t playing well.
Just like last year, the defense stepped up in a huge way to get the win. The field position was often flipped with the turnovers and the Buccaneers took advantage of short fields. Why does it seem like we can’t get the offense to click at the same time as the defense?
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With Kwon Alexander and Brent Grimes fully healthy again, Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy on another level and the pass rush showing signs of life, this unit is finally starting to look competitive. Last year towards the end of the year they started to look competent and it’s starting to come together for them in the same way this year.
They harassed Cutler and took advantage of his poor decisions. In the second half they weren’t as good, but then again, the whole team didn’t really show up for the second half. Good thing the kicker stayed locked in.
Bonus Stat: Robert Ayers has the most quarterback hits in the NFL with fourteen.
The Good: 5
Turnovers on defense are an easy stat to point to as a positive. The turnovers were good, but even better than the actual turnover was the way it occurred. The Robert McClain pick was a great play by him to be ready for the ball. The pick by Alexander came when Cutler was being rushed and he made bad decision.
The Justin Evans pick was pure athleticism from a player growing before our very eyes. The pass rush made a difference with seven quarterback hits and plenty of hurries to help force those turnovers.
Tampa’s defense was clicking on all cylinders, but perhaps none better than McCoy. The defensive tackle posted a sack, two quarterback hits and three hurries. He’s been dominant for the most part this season and nothing changed on Sunday.
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The Bad: 448
The Buccaneers allowed the fourth most yards in the NFL Sunday and had it not been for the Dolphins 123-yards in penalties, it could have been a lot more.
I know yardage isn’t the be-all-end-all stat, but nearly 450-yards? Sure seems a lot like the game against the Raiders last year, only difference was the Dolphins aren’t anywhere near the caliber team the Raiders are.
Against a better team this could have gone worse. The offense and defense both played sub par second halves and had it not been for late game heroics from Mr. Murray, they could have lost a game they should have very easily won. The final score doesn’t tell the whole story.
If you’d like to hear more Buccaneers discussion, be sure to check out the PewterCast’s InstantCast show for this week where several callers brought up the topic. Available on all major podcasting apps.