Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Raiders-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 8: Defense allows too many explosive plays

"O Fortuna" pumped through the stadium as Jameis Winston and his crew blasted fiery cannonballs toward an invading vessel.

The Buccaneers won the pregame battle on the video boards, but on the field Sunday, it was the Raiders who brought the explosives in a 30-24 overtime victory.

This was a game Tampa Bay should have won. It built a 10-point lead. It won the turnover battle. Its opponent set an NFL record for penalties.

RELATED STORY: The most galling things about the Bucs' loss

So how did the Bucs lose? The Raiders executed more big plays.

Oakland executed 11 explosive plays (pass plays of 25 or more yards or run plays of 10 or more yards). Tampa Bay executed two. The most the Bucs had allowed in a game this season was seven, in a win over Panthers three weeks ago.

On the Raiders' 11 plays, they gained 354 yards (274 passing, 80 rushing). On their other 64 plays, they gained 272 yards. Their 626 yards were the most the Bucs have ever allowed in a game.

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr finished with a team-record 513 yards on 59 pass attempts, but he gained more than half of those yards on just seven throws. That happens when a quarterback feels less heat from a defense than a fan sitting in Row V of Section 335.

Tampa Bay failed to generate pressure on three-quarters of Carr's dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. When not under pressure, he completed 37 of 48 passes for 458 yards and a quarterback rating of 126.9.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said that he thought the No. 1 reason for Carr's success was that the defense was on the field for too long. Winston's inconsistency and an ineffective run game contributed to that.

RELATED STORY: For the Bucs, this game will be remembered for missed opportunities and Winston's inaccuracy

There's another way to ensure that a defense isn't on the field for too long: prevent third-down conversions. In the first half, the Bucs allowed the Raiders to convert one of six third downs. But after the second quarter, they allowed them to convert six of 12.

Of those six third-down conversions, the Raiders converted four via an explosive play. One of those conversions — Carr's 34-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper in the third quarter — gave Oakland its first lead of the game.

Carr faced zero pressure on the play, but the coverage was just as much to blame. Cooper, lined up in the slot, ran right by safety Chris Conte.

Carr's pass to Cooper was one of six that he threw 20 or more yards down the field. He did most of his damage on short and intermediate passes, thanks in part to sloppy Bucs tackling. According to Pro Football Focus, Tampa Bay missed 12 tackles.

Whatever the causes of the explosive plays, the Bucs need to fix them quickly. In three days, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman arrive in Tampa for prime-time football. The Falcons offense has executed the second-most explosive plays this season.

Contact Thomas Bassinger at [email protected] Follow @tometrics.

Raiders explosive plays vs. Bucs defense

Quarter, timeDownLocationPlay
1, 2:50Second and 18OAK 17Pass to Mychal Rivera for 27 yards
2, 13:33Third and 6OAK 29Jalen Richard run for 20 yards
2, 10:21First and 10OAK 29Pass to Jamize Olawale for 68 yards
2, 4:13Second and 4OAK 24DeAndre Washington run for 28 yards
3, 13:44Third and 10OAK 25Pass to Amari Cooper for 28 yards
3, 5:38Third and 6TB 34Touchdown pass to Amari Cooper for 34 yards
4, 2:44First and 10TB 43Pass to Amari Cooper for 31 yards
4, 0:11Third and 10TB 45Derek Carr run for 13 yards
OT, 13:50Third and 3OAK 32Pass to Michael Crabtree for 45 yards
OT, 9:20Second and 5OAK 15Latavius Murray run for 19 yards
OT, 1:55Fourth and 3TB 41Touchdown pass to Seth Roberts for 41 yards

Comments
USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

When Nigel Harris chose where to play college football, he wanted to stay home in Tampa at USF. And now, after playing for the Chargers and Giants as an NFL rookie, he's grateful for the chance to again prove himself in Tampa as the newest member of ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

TAMPA — It is one of the most honest moments of the season, captured in the first Hard Knocks episode. Jameis Winston is having a frank conversation with coach Dirk Koetter, seated behind his desk in his office at One Buc Place."I just want to have a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

What would you do?If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?Well, you could go to Hooter’s and order a pitcher of beer and dozen wings. Then, Monday, you could go be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor.I’m talking about after that.Would you stay i...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Dirk Koetter, Evan Longoria, Stanley Cup and more

Rick and Tom podcast: Dirk Koetter, Evan Longoria, Stanley Cup and more

Rick Stroud and Tom Jones answer a lightning round of questions.
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs’ Mike Evans gives the gift of perspective

Bucs’ Mike Evans gives the gift of perspective

TAMPA — So, this is Christmas.The Bucs are having an awful season. There is no way around it. Star receiver Mike Evans isn’t having a great year, either, not nearly as many catches or touchdowns as last season, when he was selected for the Pro Bowl.S...
Published: 12/13/17
Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp vehemently denied allegations that he sexually harassed a female employee when he worked at the NFL Network during a radio appearance this afternoon in Miami."Ain’t no #MeToo," the former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer said on the And...
Published: 12/13/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Gerald McCoy still wants to play

Cannon Fodder podcast: Gerald McCoy still wants to play

Greg Auman has an update in his latest podcast while the Bucs have two days off during the long week.
Published: 12/13/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

As baseball’s hot stove starts heating up, should the Rays go full fire sale to build for the future?In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether the Rays should trade guys like Evan Longoria, Chris Archer, Alex Colome and more,...
Published: 12/13/17
Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Even dealing with a biceps injury and his Bucs at 4-9, Gerald McCoy isn't giving up on playing this season."I'm a fighter," McCoy said Tuesday night. "Y'all know me. I don't quit. I give it everything I have. Even the slightest possibility of being a...
Published: 12/12/17