TAMPA — After not allowing more than three sacks in any of the first 10 games, Tampa Bay's offensive line has taken a step back in the past two weeks, allowing four sacks at Detroit and a season-high five in Sunday's loss at Carolina.
"Offensively, we had trouble handling their front," said Bucs coach Greg Schiano, who also saw five hurries of Mike Glennon by a Panthers defense that is second in the NFL with 39 sacks.
Problem is, the Bucs' next opponent is Buffalo, which leads the league with 43 sacks, including 12 by DE Mario Williams. Four Bills have as many sacks this season as the Bucs' leader, Gerald McCoy.
LT Donald Penn said after Sunday's game that the Bucs offense as a whole needed to score more touchdowns instead of field goals, and that he shared the blame.
"We've got to do a better job. Personally, I've got to do a better job," Penn said. "There were two plays I wish I could really have back. It's killing me right now."
Penn pointed to a sack on third down right before halftime, then the opening play on the Bucs' third drive of the second half, when LB A.J. Klein wasn't picked on a blitz, setting up second and 17.
"I had a mental lapse … The blitz came off the edge and I should've picked it up," Penn said. "I just had a mental lapse. I don't do that. That's not me and that's something that's really eating me up right now."
Carolina controlled the line of scrimmage, with one video showing Panthers rookie Star Lotulelei bull-rushing Bucs G Jamon Meredith straight back and onto his back on a play. The Bucs have allowed 33 sacks, the most in the NFC South and tied for 11th in the league. Detroit, ranked 25th in sacks before the Bucs game. This after Tampa Bay had held up while facing seven teams ranking in the top half of the league in sacks in its first 10 games.
"You have to give credit to that defense. They are one of the best defenses in the league and they played like it," Glennon said. "They beat us. They stopped our run game. They did a good job on our pass game. They played better than us and that is something we will learn from."
Injury update: The Bucs had encouraging news Monday on star CB Darrelle Revis, but starting strongside LB Jonathan Casillas might need season-ending surgery on his knee.
Casillas, who would be the 14th Buc placed on injured reserve this season, became the starter a month ago. With limited depth at linebacker, the Bucs can either bring Dekoda Watson back from rush end or try rookie Ka'lial Glaud, who had three tackles Sunday in limited action. Watson said Monday he didn't know the severity of Casillas' injury but would be ready at either position.
Revis has left the past two games with injuries, and Sunday's was to his shoulder and chest, but Schiano said the initial signs are promising for him playing against Buffalo.
"I think he's going to be okay," Schiano said.
Revis missed much of the second half; Danny Gorrer filled in at cornerback and had three tackles on defense and another on special teams.
Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3346.