TAMPA — After his team set a season low for yards gained — for the second straight week — Bucs coach Greg Schiano said he regretted not calling some specialty plays that might have sparked the offense Sunday against the Panthers.
During its three-game winning streak, Tampa Bay was more aggressive: An option pass, a throw to the tackle eligible, a fake field goal and an onside kick.
But in the 27-6 loss at Carolina, Tampa Bay's lack of imagination contributed to a season-worst 206 yards and no touchdowns.
"We had stuff in the plan and that's why I'm disappointed," Schiano said Monday. "There weren't a lot of times, and (I have been) asked before, 'when do you call that stuff?' I think that's feel. You call it when you feel like it's time to call it. There wasn't a lot of that going on. We didn't really get it rolling other than that first drive. But still, there were opportunities I needed to say, 'let's do it now.' We had stuff in the plan and sometimes that can light a fire on your football team. In retrospect I wish I would've stepped in and said, 'let's do it now.' But I didn't.
"I do think those things do sometimes energize your team."
A week earlier, the Bucs needed five turnovers and a blocked punt to outlast the Lions 24-21 as the offense was held to 229 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown from quarterback Mike Glennon to receiver Tiquan Underwood. The Lions are ranked 15th in the league in total defense, the Panthers are No. 1.
"But it's the NFL, we've got to find a way to score points and move the ball against whatever defense we're playing against," Schiano said. "We need to find better ways to help these guys and they need to execute better. So it's all of us and it starts with me. I need to provide the leadership to our staff and players to get that done, and for whatever reason, we didn't get that done the last two weeks offensively. We have to."
Schiano admitted the Panthers took away some of Glennon's top targets. Glennon completed 14 of 21 passes for 180 yards but lost a fumble and was intercepted.
"They did a couple different things. They doubled Vincent (Jackson) and Timmy (Wright), which is a compliment to Tim Wright that he's drawing double coverage as a rookie," Schiano said. "But they did it and took those two away on occasion. They also brought pressure. Once we didn't see it, we were late seeing it. I thought they did a good job. You're not the leading scoring defense in the NFL if you're not doing a good job but 1-for-10 is unacceptable. You're not going to win any games when you're 1-for-10 on third down."
After the game Sunday, Schiano said he felt Glennon played like a rookie. But considering the lack of protection — he was sacked five times and hit five more — Schiano said Monday that Glennon might have tried to force a few throws because of Carolina's defense and its success in the red zone.
"He and I have sat down already and discussed the circumstances can never dictate behavior," Schiano said. "You have to go out and do your job.
"I just didn't feel like when I left the field that I helped them enough. There wasn't anything in particular. When you look back at it, there's a lot of frustrated men in that meeting room right now. Good men that feel like … we left an opportunity on the table.''
Rick Stroud can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs.