Schiano: Laws of football didn't hold up vs. Eagles
They won the turnover battle, protected the football, shut down the run and out-rushed their opponent. In fact, about the only place the Bucs didn't get the best of the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday was on the scoreboard in a 23-21 defeat.
For the fourth time this season, the Bucs' defense blew a lead in the fourth quarter with missed assignments, penalties and wasted opportunities.
Despite that record of late failures, coach Greg Schiano said he would take his chances again and allow his defense to try and close out the game.
Leading 21-16 and facing third-and-8 with 2:55 remaining in the game and the Eagles with one timeout, Schiano played it safe with a running play to Doug Martin that failed to gain a yard.
After a 31 yard punt by Michael Koenen, Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles led his team 64 yards in 13 plays and tossed a game-winning touchdown to receiver Jeremy Maclin as time expired Sunday.
Did Schiano's decision to try and win the game on defense reflect a lack of confidence in quarterback Josh Freeman?
"No it’s none of that,'' Schiano said Monday. "If it were the same situation in another game, I might have chose to do it differently. But in that game, rookie quarterback on the other side, where we were on the field, our punter – all things I believe to be true and are true – again that’s why I say we went against the rules or the laws of football, didn’t hold up there. The things I’m counting on that are going to happen and they didn’t. Would I change it? Well, if I knew the result beforehand I probably would today, I probably would. But you put me on that spot again, I don’t think, because that’s what I thought the right thing to do was and not risk it.
“It’s not a lack of confidence in anybody. But a tipped ball and their on the 35-40 yard line....I would rather put the onus on them to have to do it with no timeouts. But it didn’t all play out the way I thought. Now there’s a 30-yard punt, once the return is made, the vision changes.''
The Bucs' defense had breakdowns throughout the game. Safety Mark Barron had one coverage best to set up an Eagles touchdown and linebacker Lavonte David lost containment on Foles' 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
“I think when you focus on making plays is exactly when you don’t make plays,'' Schiano said. "Focus on doing your job and plays come to you, the game comes to you. That’s what we believe around here. So we’ve got to do a better job of that. Certainly, personnel is part of the issue and coaching is part of the issue.''