On Sunday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered their first loss of the season to the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing 38-13. Let’s take a look at whose stock is up, down, and neutral after the Week 3 loss.
RB LeGarrette Blount, the former Oregon standout famous for sucker punching Boise State’s Byron Hout made his NFL debut against a dominant Steelers run defense and impressed with 27 yards and his first career touchdown on six carries. Starter Cadillac Williams only rushed for 13 yards on six carries.
QB Josh Freeman. On paper his day doesn’t look great. 20/31 for 184 yards and an interception. But going up against a nasty Steelers passrush, Freeman looked poised and he even put together a few nice drives while not making any big mistakes. His only interception of the game was the product of a tipped ball after Sammie Stroughter failed to catch a screen pass. I was expecting Freeman to throw for around 120 yards with two or three picks, so he suprised me. He continues to make progress from his rookie year. Last year, those likely would’ve been his numbers.
QB Josh Johnson. He came in at the end of the game and faced some Steelers backups, but he still went 6/6 for 67 yards and led the only touchdown drive of the game. It gives you a little comfort knowing your backup can step in and do a solid job.
LB Quincy Black. I needed to give someone some credit on the defense, even though it was a disappointing day. Black was solid against the run, and in pass defense. He also made a nice athletic interception off Charlie Batch in the fourth quarter. He’s the Bucs’ most consistent linebacker at the moment.
FS Cody Grimm. Maybe I’m being a little too harsh here, he is only a 7th round rookie starting his first game. But he allowed a Mike Wallace 46 yard touchdown in the first quarter on a play that a majority of safeties in the NFL would’ve picked off. He was in perfect position to make a play on the ball, but he had his back turned to the ball and let Wallace make the grab. That was pretty much what started the whole mess.
FS Tanard Jackson. For getting suspended AGAIN and making us start a 7th round rookie who converted from safety after playing linebacker at Virginia Tech. His career is in jeopardy if he doesn’t get his act straight.
CB Aqib Talib. I don’t want to rag on Talib too much. His coverage was good all day, but he got greedy in the endzone trying to get an interception and tipped the ball right to Mike Wallace for another long touchdown. In hindsight, he probably should’ve tipped the ball away, though the ball was thrown right at him. He’s still an outstanding player, but he made a pretty costly mistake.
TE Kellen Winslow. He only made 3 catchs for 24 yards yesterday. He occasionally will put up a stinker game, but this is the kind of game where Winslow needed to be a safety valve for Freeman. It’s partly Greg Olson’s fault too, I’m not sure why we don’t try to get our best offensive player involved more often. It’s pretty mind boggling. He did end up making a real nice block on a run play though, that’s probably a first.
RB Cadillac Williams. I know the Steelers have a great defense, but only 13 yards rushing? Come on, his yards per carry average continues to plummit, it’s at a ugly 2.5 at the moment.
P Chris Bryan. Five punts for a 29.4 average??? What. the. hell. He was pretty decent the first two games but he laid down an absolute stinker yesterday. If he doesn’t pick it up soon, he may need to head back over to Australia.
WR Mike Williams. He caught 5 passes for 55 yards, but he had a fumble and didn’t score a touchdown for the first time this year. You can see the massive amount of talent he has, but he has yet to break off a totally huge game just yet. But you had to figure it wouldn’t happen against Pittsburgh.
CB Ronde Barber. It’s clearly not a good thing he led the team in tackles yesterday, but he’s still having a better year than last year in my opinion.
Next week, the Bucs will have their bye week to try and correct the mistakes from this game. They will go on the road in Week 5 to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.