Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs offense struggles in third quarter

TAMPA — Coach Greg Schiano has always preached to his team that the clock is its enemy. If that's true, the 12 minutes at halftime have been the Bucs' toughest opponent this season.

Tampa Bay has gone scoreless in the third quarter in nine of its dozen games. For that matter, the Bucs average 5.6 points in the second half, the fewest in the league.

When you consider all that happens between the end of the second quarter and the third-quarter kickoff — players take bathroom breaks, adjust equipment and visit the trainers — it doesn't leave many minutes for halftime adjustments.

"Sometimes, I get a kick out of the halftime adjustment," Schiano said. "There are a lot of opportunities when you have more than 12 minutes during the game. You should be adjusting (throughout) the game."

Yet Schiano acknowledges it is a problem. It also is a common topic of conversation between Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who has tried scripting the opening drive of the third quarter the way he does to start the game.

"We need to be able to pick that up in the third and fourth quarter, but it's not for a lack of trying," Schiano said. "The offensive coaches have gone through some different scenarios, different scripting for the openers in the second half; everything you can imagine to try to break the (spell). Two games ago, we came out and scored on the opening drive of the second half. I don't think there was a bigger cheerleader on that drive (than me)."

Break down the breakdowns after halftime, and the picture is worse. Twenty-one of the Bucs' third-quarter points have come in the two games against the Falcons. That means in their 10 other games, the Bucs have been outscored 53-3 in the quarter.

"You look at some of the issues or any of the common threads," Sullivan said. "As always, there are things that I can certainly do better. There are things that we as coaches can do better to get the guys prepared.

"You go back to this previous game (at Carolina). You've put yourself in a position, a couple of big plays and then comes a turnover. I think it's always a bunch of factors that are involved. But I think at the scene of the crime … every one of those things is when we have some sort of significant penalty or sack or just the negative plays that are very, very tethered."

Of course, the reality is the Bucs offense isn't very good whenever the clock is moving. Tampa Bay ranks 31st in the 32-team NFL in total offense at 295.3 yards per game. Injuries have been a big issue. The Bucs have 14 players on injured reserve, the most in the league. Seven — running backs Doug Martin and Mike James, receiver Mike Williams, tight ends Nate Byham Tom Crabtree and Luke Stocker, and linebacker Jonathan Casillas — were starters or significant contributors.

Add to the mix rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who took over in Week 4, and you have the recipe for a poor offense. The past two games, at Detroit and Carolina, the Bucs had their lowest output of the season, 229 yards and 206 yards, respectively.

"We've had our issues over the course of the year, offensively, for a lot of different reasons," Schiano said. "Whether it was phasing guys in from a health standpoint, losing guys as we were phasing guys, or just didn't play very well enough or coach well enough. And the third and fourth quarter are inclusive in that."

Former Bucs coach Sam Wyche, so befuddled by a lack of productivity in the second half, once made his team practice halftimes, stopping the workout for 12 minutes and taking players inside the locker room. The results didn't change.

"I think that's a term that's overused, those halftime adjustments," Glennon said. "Maybe a wrinkle here or there but nothing major that would alter our game plan."

Or, apparently, the scoreboard.

Tale of two halves

The Bucs offense during each half this season:

FirstSecond

12.5Avg. points 5.6

0.7Avg. point differential6.1

57.9Avg. rush yards 48.0

105.3Avg. passing yards84.4

4Total turnovers10

Bucs offense struggles in third quarter 12/04/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)