By Max Luckan
They’re getting closer, but are still very far away from a win. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped to 0-6 with a 31-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. This time around, the Bucs started off rather slow, but the offense, led by rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, picked up as the game progressed.
At times, it looked like the Bucs were gaining momentum and could take the lead, but too many mental mistakes and miscues cost the Bucs a chance to win their first game. Meanwhile, the Falcons are looking to get back into the playoff hunt in the NFC and this win should give them some confidence going forward.
Take a look at how the Bucs fared overall in the loss against Atlanta.
Coaching Grade: F
Disciplinarian head coach Greg Schiano is managing a pretty undisciplined team at the moment, which is rather ironic. The Bucs continue to shoot themselves in the foot with stupid penalties week in and week out. On top of that, too many mistakes are made on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
All this is the result of a poorly coached football team. Against the Falcons, the Bucs committed 11 penalties for 103 yards, including three personal fouls. The penalties have to stop and it starts with the coaching staff. Schiano is not doing his job as the head coach, and if he doesn’t start soon, he will be shown the door.
Additionally, the erroneous decisions, such as the decision to go for a field goal down 14 points with 5:04 left, aren’t helping Schiano’s case either.
Offense Grade: B-
It appears as if the Bucs offense is slowly improving week by week. Despite the many injuries on the offensive line, rookie quarterback Mike Glennon continues to improve every week. Against the Falcons, Glennon completed 26-44 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. He did fumble the ball once, but that was the only mistake Glennon made, which is impressive given that he’s a rookie.
Running back Doug Martin left the game with an apparent shoulder injury, but running backs Mike James and Brian Leonard played well in his absence. The fact that the offense managed 23 points against a decent defense is a sign that the Bucs are slowly improving.
Defense Grade: C
Tampa Bay’s defense is pretty good, that much has been established. But somehow, the other team continues to put up points in bunches. The Bucs were able to hold the Falcons to 18 yards on the ground and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 273 yards, which isn’t overly impressive. Still, the Falcons offense managed 24 points, with the other seven coming from the defense.
Linebacker Lavonte David has quickly emerged as one of the best, if not the best, linebackers in the entire league. David racked up 10 tackles on Sunday and was unstoppable on the field. The Bucs have talent on defense, but they have to limit the penalties.
Special Teams Grade: C+
Punter Michael Koenen has struggled recently for the Bucs, which is odd. Koenen punted five times on Sunday, but only averaged 37.6 yards per punt, meaning the Falcons had great field position the entire game. This of course made the task of stopping Atlanta’s offense much harder for the Bucs defense.
And while Koenen has struggled of late, kicker Rian Lindell seems to have found his comfort zone, connecting on all three field goals. Lindell did all he could late in the game as the Bucs tried to make a comeback, but it just wasn’t enough in the end.
Punt returner Eric Page also did his part, giving the Bucs decent field position a couple of times throughout the game.
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Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.