Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs struggle in loss to Redskins

TAMPA — And just like that, you wanted to take back all of those nasty things you said about Josh Freeman, didn't you?

All he had to do was stick to the sideline and let Bucs fans get a glimpse of life without him.

Tampa Bay's beleaguered quarterback was held out of the 30-12 preseason loss to the Redskins on Thursday night

The game belonged to rookie Mike Glennon, who made his first NFL start. The future might belong to him, too, but his present was pretty awful.

Glennon, the third-round pick from N.C. State, went 4-for-13 passing for 13 yards, lost a fumble and was intercepted — in the first half. His turnovers led to 10 of the Redskins' 27 first-half points.

The loss dropped the Bucs to 1-3 in the preseason while the Redskins finished 4-0.

The troubling aspect for coach Greg Schiano was Glennon's performance — he finished 7-of-16 for 63 yards and an interception — might not have been the worst thing about Thursday's game.

Sitting most of their starters on both sides of the ball, the counterfeit Bucs could not tackle, play special teams or hold onto the football.

"It was not only the offense, but the entire football team," Schiano said of the negatives. "We're not playing very well. We turned the ball over. We didn't tackle very well. We made mistakes on special teams.

"That's about as sloppy as you can play."

The Bucs were so outplayed by the Redskins reserves during the first half, they were outgained overall 250-35, outgained in passing yards 153-6 and had only two first downs to the Redskins' 10.

The Bucs' lone highlight was linebacker Najee Goode's 37-yard interception return 2:40 into the second quarter — the only time Tampa Bay crossed the goal line.

"That is a positive," Schiano said. "There wasn't a lot of them in the first half."

The Redskins rested their top three quarterbacks — Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman. But their fourth option, former West Virginia standout Pat White, outplayed Glennon.

White passed for 153 yards in the first half and rushed for 22 more, including a 7-yard touchdown in which he dived over safety Keith Tandy to reach the pylon.

You knew it might be a long night for the Bucs when on the third play of the game, White hit a short pass to Desmond Briscoe. The former Bucs receiver slipped the tackle of rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks and safety Sean Baker and raced 66 yards to the Tampa Bay 9. Two plays later, Evan Royster bulled across the goal line from the 1.

Even special teams were woeful.

Derek Dimke clanged an extra point off the right upright and missed a 45-yard field goal. (He later made a 30-yarder.) On the final play of the first quarter, Florida State rookie Chris Thompson returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown.

To make matters worse, the Bucs also saw tight end Tom Crabtree carted off the field in the first quarter with a left ankle injury sustained while serving as a lead blocker at fullback.

Glennon entered having completed only 48.1 percent of his passes over three games. He and the Bucs played a little better in the second half.

Glennon's biggest play was a 25-yard completion to Jordan Norwood, who was cut by the Browns and signed Wednesday by Tampa Bay. That was the highlight of a 65-yard drive capped by Dimke's field goal. Norwood also drew a pass interference penalty, returned kicks and carried the ball seven times for 26 yards.

The night wasn't a total loss for the Bucs. Eric Page cemented his role as the primary punt and kickoff returner, though his 105-yard kickoff return was called back due to a holding penalty.

The matador run defense had one solid tackler, linebacker Jonathan Casillas.

Oh, and cornerback Darrelle Revis was held out, which means he will have no game experience entering the Sept. 9 season opener at the Jets.

That's the next time Bucs fans will see Freeman under center.

After Thursday, he might be a welcome sight.

Rick Stroud can be reached at [email protected]tampabay.com and heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.

 
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