Setting the Stage
TB lost a squeaker in Seattle. They started fast but late OT rally wasn't enough. When the game went to "extra innings" following a last-minute TD run by Dare Ogunbowale, the young Buccaneers' defense couldn't quite hold up one last time vs. Russell Wilson. Wilson's 10-yard strike to TE Jacob Hollister capped a 75-yard drive on the first possession of OT to give Seattle a 40-34 victory.
The Bucs came up short for a second straight week after a narrow loss in Tennessee. According to HC(& former Cardinal HC Bruce Arians: "We've just got to grow up. "We're really, really, really young....
Last week the Cardinals surprised the pro football world by holding the Niners to a 3-point win in the desert. 3 points down with nearly 5:00 left to play in the 3Q, the Cardinal offense figured to have one more shot at pulling out a last-minute win, but the Niners played an effective brand of Keepaway and drained all the remaining time from the clock and won 28 - 25.
Most Recent Game
Bucs lost to Seattle in OT (in Seattle) 40 - 34. TB came out with guns smoking and opened up leads of 14 - 7 at the end of the first quarter and 21 - 13 at halftime. They maintained a 24 - 21 lead entering the 4Q, but couldn't stop Seattle from earning a 34 - 34 halftime tie. Seattle won the OT coin toss and scored the winning TD on their opening possession.
TD TB - R Jones II - 8 yd run - Bucs 7 - Seattle 0
TD Sea - Lockett - 19 yd pass from Wilson - Bucs 7 - Seattle 7
TD TB- Perriman - 15 yd pass from - Winston -Bucs 14 - Seattle 7
FIRST QUARTER SCORE: Bucs 14 - Seattle 7
TD - TB - Evans - 5 yd pass from- Winston - Bucs 21 - Seattle 7
TD - Sea - Hollister - 1 yd run pass fr Wilson (PAT failed) - Bucs 21 - Seattle 13
2ND QUARTER SCORE: Bucs 21 - Seattle 13
TD - Sea - LOckett - 2 yd pass fr Wilson (2 pt good) - Bucs 21 - Seattle 21
FG - TB - Gay - 41 yd FG Bucs 24 - Seattle 21
3RD QUARTER SCORE: Bucs 24 - Seattle 21
FG - Sea - Myers - 37 yds. - Bucs 24 - Seattle 24
FG - Sea - Myers - 22 yds -Bucs 24 - Seattle 27
FG - TB - Gay - 45 yds - Bucs 27 - Seattle 27
TD - Sea - Metcalf - 53 yd pass fr Wilson - Bucs 27 - Seattle 34
TD - TB - Ogunbowale - 1 yd run - Bucs 34 - Seattle 34
4TH QUARTER SCORE: Bucs 34 - Seattle 34
TD - Sea - Hollister - 10 yd pass from Wilson - Bucs 34 - Seattle 40
FINAL SCORE: Bucs 34 - Seattle 40
Tampa Bay in a Nutshell
Offensively,, it's the cannon arm of Winston throwing to Evans and Perriman. Nothing to rave about on the OL or defensively (which may simply mean, they have a lot of young guys who will be very good one day). They gave Seattle all they could handle.
QB ...03 Winston...04 Griffin
RB....25 Barber...27 Jones II...44 Ogunbowal...22 Logan
WR ...13 Evans...19 Perriman...83 Darboh
WR ...12 Godwin...10Miller...17 Watson
TE...84 Brate...88 Hudson...87 Leggett
......80 Howard...82 Auclair
LT.....76 D Smith...70 Hawkins...72 Wells
OC...66 Jensen...60 Trewyn
RG...65 Cappa...71 Watford
RT....69 Dotson...xx Wells
Defensive Interior Line
LDE - 97 Z Allen...90 Bullard...91 Dogbe
NT - 98 Peters, 92 Kerr
RDE - 95 Gunter, 93 McDonald
SAM - 55 C Jones, 50 Reed
ILB - ..59 Walker...43 Reddick,
MLB - 58 Hicks, 42 Gardeck...47 Z Turner
WILL - 56 Suggs, 54 Marsh Sr
RCB - 33 Murphy.....27 K Peterson
LCB - ...21 P Peterson...20 Brock.
SS - 35 D Thompson...38 Banjo
FS - 32 Baker...34 J Thompson... 28 C Washington... 40 Tillman*
Matchup: Buc Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Jameis Winston throws lasers through tight windows. He completed 59.3% of his passes (7.8 yds per attempt) for 16 TD's, 12 INTS and a QBR of 85.2. Top receivers are Godwin (54 catches and 6 TDs) ) and Evans (50 catches and 7 TDs). Their TE (Brate) caught 15 passes and scored 2 TDs). Evans (with a YPR of 16.8) looked unstoppable in Seattle. Godwin is averaging 14.2 YPC. A RB (Ogunbowale) is the Bucs' 3rd ranked receiving option.
The arrival of Patrick Peterson after his suspension proved to be underwhelming vs. SF. Hopefully it will just be a matter of playing him back into shape. He'll have his hands full with Evans. Overall, the matchups look favorable for the Cardinals "on paper," but Evans is capable of being the "Great Equalizer."
Key Matchups - Evans vs. P Peterson...Godwin and Perriman vs. Brock....Brate vs. D Thompson...Ogunbowale vs. Baker
Matchup: Buc Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Not much to get excited about - Jones is the leader with 381 yds (4.1 YPA) followed by Barber (277 yds/3.3 YPA). Winston can hurt us with his feet (99 yds/3.5 YPA).
Cards are kind of up and down defending against the run. Sometimes they quiet down the enemy running attack/sometimes they can't get off the field vs. 3rd down runs.
Key Matchups - Barber, Jones or Ogunbowale vs. Walker and Hicks...Cardinal Front 7 vs. Buc OL/TE...
01 Murray, 07 Hundley
31 D Johnson, 29 Edmonds, 41 Drake...36 Morris...22 Zenner.
WR - 11 Fitzgerald...89 Isabella,
WR - 13 Kirk....19 KS Johnson..
..14 Byrd...16 Sherfield...12 Cooper
TE - 85 Clay, 87 M Williams....81 Daniels
LT- ...74 Humphries...66 Miles,
LG - 67 Pugh
OC- 53 Shipley, 52 Cole
RG- 64 Sweezy, 65 Gailliard.
RT - 71 J Murray..
Not at the top of most minds when folks think about dominating defensive play. David leads the team in tackles with 62 (almost twice the number as runner-up (Hargreaves). Both starting Buc corners are in the top 4 in tackles - ether suggesting that (1) TB is lethal vs. the run or (2) otheroffenses throw a lot when facing the Buccos. TB has a legitimate pass rusher in Barrett (who leads the team in sacks and forced fumbles.
DE....93 Suh...79 O Connor
NT....50 Vea...91 B Allen
DE....92 Gholston...56 Nunez-Roches
OLB 94 Nassib...98 Nelson
ILB...45 D White...51 Minter...52 Dawkins
OLB..58 Barrett...90 Pierre-Paul
CB....33 C Davis...35 Dean...29 R Smith
CB...28 Hargreaves...26 Murphy-Bunting..36 MJ Stewart
S.....34 Edwards...39 A Adams
S.....31 Whitehead...24 D Stewart
Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Buc Pass Defense
Murray has grown into the "makes a few plays/makes fewer mistakes" phase. But he's not up to the "money in the bank" every single time" talent-level (but he is close). He has a deep arsenal of receivng weapons - ranging from "experienced and dependible" (Fitz) to jet-speed but raw" (Isabella) all kinds of flavors in-between (Kirk, Byrd, KS Johnson, Drake, D Johnson, Edmonds).
Buccos have two corners in Hargreaves and Davis who are top 4 on the roster against the run. David has almost double the number of tackles as the next defender on the TB roster. (Their safety (Whitehead) ranks 3rd. Although Suh has only 17 tackles, he's not exactly "chopped liver."(The emerging pattern here seems to be for each defensive player to be good at one dominating skill rather than be "jack of all trades."
TB pass rushers come at the QB from the outside Shaquil Barrett (10.5 sacks) is the Chandler Jones of the TB pass defense with the other outside backer (Nassib) next with 3.0 sacks.. Card blockers will have to keep both of them contained (or Murray must be nimble enough to outrun both of them to the outside.
K Murray vs. Barrett...Humphries vs. Barrett...Cardinal OL vs TB DL.. Fitz vs. Hargreave...Kirk vs. C Davis...Drake vs. Whitehead
Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Buc Run Defense
Drake was signed after David Johnson, Chase Edmonds and DJ Foster got injured and "surprised the world." He gained 100+ yds in his debut as a Cardinal. A (healthy) backfield of Drake, D Johnson and Edmonds will turn what looked like a thin position group into one with good depth.
Tampa Bay has two corners (Hargreaves and C Davis) who can hold up vs. the run. With Suh in the middle, TB may be hard to run against.
Drake vs. Davis. Pugh, Shipley and Sweezy vs. TB Front 7.
Bucs Special Teams
K ..09 Gay
P ..... 08 Pinion
H 08 Pinion
LS 97 Triner
KR 22 Logan
Cardinals Special Teams
P - ...02 Lee
K- ....05 Gonzalez
H - ...02 Lee
LS - 46 Brewer
KR -12 Cooper... 89 Isabella...
PR - 13 Kirk...14 Byrd....12 Cooper
Matchup Buc Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Gay has converted 9 of 11 FGs outside the 30. Pinion averages 5-yds per punt less than do opposing punters. Former Cardinal speedster, TJ Logan averages 21.6 yds per KO return and 12.8 yds per punt return. Opponentss average 2-yds more per punt return more than do the Bucs.
Lee and Gonzalez look more and more solid with time. Card coverage teams are also beginning to make their presence felt. Cooper and Kirk are OK (but not great) as returners.
Coaching / Intangibles
HC Bruce Arians...OC Byron Leftwich. DC Todd Bowles...ST: Keith Armstrong - Welcome to "Cardinals South." Arians (aka "the QB whisperer") was a former Cardinal head coach; with Bowles his DC.
Kingsbury is still on the rookie-coach "learning curve", but each week he gets a little better, and he shows both an ability and willingness to learn from his mistakes (& not be afraid to make them).
How to Beat Bucs
We've got to (1) shut down the Winston-to-Evans connection and (2) figure out how to avoid being vulnerable to "pone trick pony" defensive players' strengths while playing to their weaknesss.
"One paper" we should win this sucker, but both teams are young - and capable of either (1) playing above their potential or (2) stinking up the joint). We need the win. (So do they). Should be an interesting matchup.