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)

Penalties doom Bucs' chances

TAMPA — In a game lost by a single score, three penalties were especially costly for the Bucs, from the first play of the game to the final minutes.

On the opening snap of the game, Jameis Winston hit WR Vincent Jackson for a 36-yard gain, but it come back on a holding penalty by rookie LT Donovan Smith, setting up a three-and-out.

"That's on them. If they say I was holding, then I was holding. I'm just playing football," Smith said. "You can't control the flags. … We were just shooting ourselves in the foot."

The defense did the same in the third quarter, keeping alive the drive that would result in the winning touchdown. The Bucs had forced a third and 15 and got a sack from DE Kourtnei Brown, but DE Howard Jones was flagged for illegal hands to the face, giving the Saints a first down.

And when the Bucs needed the ball back with 2:30 to play in the game, they forced an incompletion on third and 2, only to see DB Alterraun Verner flagged for defensive holding, an automatic first down that all but ended Tampa Bay's chances.

"Favorable third downs, third and longs, we should win," coach Lovie Smith said. "Whether it be penalties or just not playing ball, we can't have it."

THIRD AND WOW: Saints QB Drew Brees was stellar on third down — 12-for-13 for 149 yards and nine conversions, running for another conversion on third and 1. The Saints went 12-for-17 on third downs — not counting the two third downs where Bucs penalties resulted in first downs — and only once all season has an NFL team allowed more third-down conversions this season.

The Bucs weren't nearly as sharp on third down, going 4-for-11 — and two of those conversions came on third and 1. They missed five third downs when they needed 6 yards or less to move the chains, against a defense that came in worst in the NFL in points and yards allowed.

INJURED: WR Vincent Jackson left the game with a knee injury in the second quarter and did not return. Jackson, who missed three games with a knee injury, was not in the locker room after the game; the severity of his injury is unknown.

SWITCHES: With rookie LB Kwon Alexander suspended for the final four games of the season, the Bucs turned to Bruce Carter, who made his first start of the season. He had eight tackles — only LB Lavonte David (13) had more — and had the team's first sack, as well as a second tackle for loss. Carter injured his right foot/ankle late in the game and had to be helped off the field. He had the ankle iced after the game and declined to speak to reporters.

The team also went back to veteran Gosder Cherilus at right tackle, starting him and making Demar Dotson inactive, one week after switching to Dotson after Cherilus had been limited in practice by a knee injury.

THIS AND THAT: Rookie WR Adam Humphries got his first career touchdown, catching a 6-yard pass from Winston in the fourth quarter. … RB Charles Sims set a career high with six catches for 64 yards, including three on the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. … Brees threw six interceptions in two games against the Bucs last season, but he threw just one in two games this year, and zero in Sunday's win.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Penalties doom Bucs' chances 12/13/15 [Last modified: Sunday, December 13, 2015 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Four-time Iditarod champ implicated in dog doping case, pulls out of 2018 race

    Sports

    A doping scandal has rocked yet another sport — this time, the competition that calls itself the "Last Great Race on Earth" — the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

    Dallas Seavey poses with his lead dogs Reef, left, and Tide after finishing the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, in March 2016. Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey denies he administered banned drugs to his dogs in this year's race, and has withdrawn from the 2018 race in protest. The Iditarod Trail Committee on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, identified Seavey as the musher who had four dogs test positive for a banned opioid pain reliever after finishing the race last March in Nome. [Associated Press]
  2. Bucs: Quick and easy fixes for what ails Tampa Bay?

    Bucs

    The Bucs are 2-4 and have lost five straight road games, so there's plenty to fix. What's the quickest and easiest fix for coach Dirk Koetter and Tampa Bay? The Times' Bucs coverage team weighs in:

    PLAY A COMPLETE GAME

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  4. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  5. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times