TAMPA — After reviewing game film from the Bucs' 28-14 loss to the Saints, coach Dirk Koetter defended his quarterback, Jameis Winston, and his penalty-plagued offensive line for their performance, indicating there was plenty of mistakes to go around on the offensive side of the football.
"I think the whole story of this game is missed opportunities on offense from an offensive perspective," Koetter said.
The Bucs offense recorded just seven explosive offensive plays — pass play gains of 16 yards or longer and rushes of 12 yards or more — and three of those plays came on the Bucs' first offensive drive, which ended in a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead
Then, take away two explosive plays on the Bucs' final drive of the game in the fourth quarter when the Saints were playing a loose defense, and there were just two big plays in between.
"A couple times we had receivers on perimeter blocks where (running back) Peyton (Barber) was going to bounce it and it still ended a 4-, 5-yard gain, but those could be be 8- to 10-yard gains," Koetter said. "There were times when Peyton didn't read the hole. We had a couple plays blocked and he tried to take it somewhere else. Those are just (some) examples."
Both the Bucs and Saints totaled fewer than 300 yards total offense, a rarity for two of the top scoring teams in league. For the Bucs, they were flagged for 10 penalties for 84 yards, with six of them attributed to the offensive line. And Winston, after throwing for two touchdowns in the first half, had just 34 yards passing in the second half before the game's final drive.
"It was different guys at different times," Koetter said. "It wasn't just the O-line. It wasn't just the quarterback."
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at [email protected] Follow @EddieInTheYard.†