TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 10: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs. San Diego Chargers

Buccaneers
Chargers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
Quarterback
Winner Josh Freeman is one of the most improved players in the league and that’s helping the Bucs become one of the more explosive offensive teams in the league. Freeman has size, strength and the ability to throw the deep ball. He is an accurate and confident passer and that means opposing defenses must make stopping him their top priority.
Philip Rivers has had some painful moments this year in losses to the Saints and the Broncos, but he was on top of his game in the Week Nine win over the Chiefs in which he completed 18-of-20 passes and was able to put the game away in the second half. Rivers was decisive and accurate and his receivers did not let him down.
Offense
Winner The Bucs are starting to hit on all cylinders when they have the ball. Rookie running back Doug Martin is coming off one of the best games by a running back this season as he dominated the Oakland Raider defense with 251 yards and an eye-catching 4 TDs. However, no Bucs player will probably be as motivated to have a great game as former Charger Vincent Jackson. He would like to show his former team exactly what they are missing.
The Chargers are going to try to get the ball to tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Malcolm Floyd against the Bucs. They will have a much better chance of making big plays through the air if they can get consistent production from the running game. While Ryan Mathews and Jackie Battle are not big names, both run the ball with toughness and authority.
Defense
The Bucs are a hard hitting team that looks to force turnovers, but they give up big plays and big yards because the defense is often out of position. They gave up 414 passing yards to the Raiders and were never really able to put that game out of reach because the pass defense was a step behind for most of the game. Outside linebacker Lavonte David is an aggressive player who had 14 stops against Oakland.
Winner The Chargers have the defensive talent to slow down the Bucs significantly, if not shut them down. The Chargers rank 9th in defense overall and 4th against the run. Much of that comes from their solid tackling ability. Strong safety Atari Bigby leads the Chargers with 558 tackles this year while Donald Butler is right behind with 55 stops.
Special Teams
The Bucs may have a problem if this game comes down to special teams. Connor Barth missed both of his field goal attempts against the Raiders. Punter Michael Koenen has a net average of 37.3 yards on his punts and he lacks a strong leg.
Winner The Chargers parted company with veteran placekicker Nate Kaeding and turned the responsibilities over to Nick Novak. Novak is solid and dependable and he has made 8-of-9 field goal attempts. Mike Scifres has a strong leg and is a fine directional punter.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers San Diego Chargers v Arizona Cardinals

There is an air of pessimism that seems to follow head coach Norv Turner and Rivers. While both men are intelligent and creative, it seems like both know that things cannot possibly end well for the Chargers. This is the kind of game that will be very difficult for them since the Bucs have been so explosive offensively.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis, Getty Images) Kaleb Tarczewski #35 of the Arizona Wildcats (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #2 Arizona

    It is rematch time. Last year, the Wisconsin Badgers and Arizona Wildcats met in the Elite Eight and Wisconsin walked away with a 64-63 overtime win.

  2. Devin Booker #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Zach Auguste #30 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Kentucky Vs. #3 Notre Dame

    Coming into the Sweet 16, West Virginia showed confidence that they could be the team that finally knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats.

  3. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Duke Vs. #5 Utah

    So much for the weak Pac-12 this year: The Utah Utes are one of three teams from the beleaguered conference to make the Sweet 16 this year, and they’ll face the best ACC team left in the tournament: Duke.

See All Tales of the Tape