Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a trouble spot with clock management

Bucs coach Raheem Morris took responsibility for his team’s problems at the end of the first half on Sunday.


Bucs coach Raheem Morris took responsibility for his team’s problems at the end of the first half on Sunday.

TAMPA — Not killing the clock before halftime has been lethal for the Bucs the past two weeks, and coach Raheem Morris says he is to blame.

It happened again in Sunday's 38-7 loss to the Saints. The Bucs trailed 10-7 to start a possession at their 25-yard line with 2:09 left in the first half.

But the Bucs went three and out, failing to gain a yard. Worse yet just 31 seconds elapsed, on two incomplete passes by rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, including one on third and 10.

The Saints, who boast the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense, needed just 1:10 to drive 63 yards in five plays for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead.

"That's on me. Completely," Morris said Monday. "That's my decision; those are things I can say to call off the dogs. But when you're playing a team like the Saints and you have an opportunity to go down and get three, I was trying to steal it. I probably shouldn't have. I probably shouldn't have played so aggressive. That's a question mark completely for me right there."

A week ago, a controversial interception by the Dolphins' Jason Taylor and the Bucs' three and out in the final 1:25 before halftime enabled the Dolphins to push their lead to 19-6.

"The clock management, as far as running the clock out, we could've gone to halftime probably and gotten some of that time off and knocked some of that stuff out of there," Morris said. "But you've just got so much confidence in the young man (Freeman), you just never know when it's going to come. Because you've seen it happen the last couple of weeks. It just didn't happen for him (Sunday).

"…The confidence you have in the young man, in the kid, just giving him an opportunity to go out there and win. If you had a big-time stud like we think we're going to have here sooner or later, you want to go down there and attack them and try to steal three."

Instead, Freeman began the second half by losing a fumble and throwing his second of three interceptions. The Saints took advantage of the short field to convert those turnovers into touchdowns and expand their lead to 31-7.

Freeman had three interceptions, lost a fumble, was sacked three times and had a passer rating of 33.1.

"He made his first real rookie blunder," Morris said of Freeman. "The best thing was he got up there after the game and accepted responsibility for what he did, and he looks to go correct it. That's all you can ask for from a young quarterback. He'll be a better football player from it."

Morris said he wasn't worried about Freeman bouncing back from Sunday's adversity.

"Oh, yeah. He's going to fight through these things," Morris said. "…He's got to go out there and fight through and find a way to get better. We've got to find a way not to throw that interception at the end of the game, he's got to find a way to move the football when we have to, he's got to find a way to pick up the tempo, he's got to find a way to handle all the adversity that you're talking about went on (Sunday). I think he did a nice job with handling the situation, as tough as it was."

Defensively, the Bucs lived down to their 32nd overall ranking — last in the NFL — against the run; they are allowing 168.9 yards per game. The Saints ran on 22 of their final 24 snaps and finished with 183 yards rushing, 92 by Pierre Thomas and 75 (with two scores) by Mike Bell.

"Early in the game, we did a nice job of stopping the run," Morris said. "Then they came downhill on us and took advantage of some open gaps. Really, they won the game by attrition in their running game. We've got to get more people playing, more people being productive."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a trouble spot with clock management 11/23/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 8:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC


    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.