By Max Luckan
At 0-7, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are almost halfway to an 0-16 season, with no chance at a win in sight. They were just embarrassed and picked apart on national television by the Carolina Panthers, and looked like they regressed even further.
Earlier in the day, reports surfaced stating that Bucs head coach Greg Schiano was not guaranteed to last until the end of the season. While Schiano’s firing isn’t imminent, a lengthy losing streak, such as the current one, or any indication that Schiano has lost the locker room, could promote ownership to make a change. The Panthers crushed the Bucs 31-13 and are looking rather impressive as of late. And for the Bucs, it looks like they have hit rock bottom.
Quarterback Grade: D
Yes, Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon is a rookie, but he’s played pretty well so far this season. But not against the Panthers, who have the third best defense in the NFL. Glennon completed 30-51 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown, but a lot of that came in garbage time near the end of the game.
Glennon had some miscommunication with center Ted Larsen, which resulted in some botched snaps, but he just couldn’t get the offense going. Glennon did have some bright moments, especially with his pocket awareness, and he didn’t turn the ball over. However, Glennon didn’t and couldn’t really do too much against the Panthers’ defense.
Offense Grade: D+
The offense didn’t get anything going for the first three quarters. And then in the fourth quarter, the Bucs moved the ball a bit, but the game had, in essence, already been decided by then, so it doesn’t really count. The final score was in no way an indicator of how the game actually went. The Panthers’ defense dominated Tampa Bay’s offense.
Running back Mike James rushed for 39 yards on 10 carries, and Brian Leonard had one carry for seven yards. The ineffectiveness in the run game can be attributed to poor offensive line play and the fact that the Bucs really missed Doug Martin, who was out because of an injury.
Defense Grade: F
The Bucs’ defense has looked worse and worse every week, seemingly giving up more and more points as the season progresses. The Bucs gave up 31 points against the Atlanta Falcons last week and 31 points to the Carolina Panthers.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton systematically took apart the Bucs’ defense on Thursday night, throwing for 221 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for another one. Bucs linebacker Lavonte David, who has been mentioned often, had another solid game for Tampa Bay on defense, but that was about it. Everyone else on the defense played poorly, and the lack of pressure on the quarterback was evident.
Special Teams Grade: C-
The Bucs’ offense was not helped out at all by the special teams play on Thursday. Kick returner Eric Page had trouble with returns, bobbling a couple of balls, and not giving the Bucs any good field position at all. Both teams were really unable to get anything going in the return game all night long, but the Bucs needed a spark and didn’t get it.
Meanwhile, kicker Rian Lindell played well again. After a rough start to the season, Lindell has kicked the ball extremely well for the Bucs, and if it weren’t for him, the Bucs might have scored even less points these past couple of weeks. Lindell connected on two long field goals and accounted for about half of the Bucs’ offense.
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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.