The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE
Overall Grade: C+
Q4 Grade: C+
I think I understand the Bucs' game plan now. It's to get the lead, then run the ball for the rest game with a few passes here and there. Without a defense to bring in the turnovers, though, there is no way that it would work. The coaches are gambling with the strength of their own defense. And when they fail to pressure Eli on a blitz and cover Victor Cruz with only Ronde Barber, this game plain falls apart. A poor play call led to that game tying score.
Then when that secondary gets tired, they let up a potentially-game winning touchdown. Poor play calling on the defensive side.
The second-to-last drive the Bucs had was engineered beautifully. Too bad Tampa Bay followed up with more terrible pass defense.
Q3 Grade: C
Many times, it's hard to determine if a team struggles because of poor execution or poor on-field performances.
In this game, the offense seems to be stilted by the coaches, the defense by the players. Mike Sullivan is being rather obvious with the pass (if it's a pass,it's going deep to V-Jax) and weren't not seeking a whole lot of creativity. The best word to describe it would be "uber-conservative."
The defensive play calling is spot on. Besides for a few runs, the Bucs seem to have diagnosed every one before the snap. No matter how good the play calling though is regarding the secondary, it doesn't matter, because the coverage just isn't there.
Q2 Grade: B
Though the Bucs continue to run a lot of ineffective screen passes, they are doing some impressive stuff with the deep ball. Schiano seems to have figured out how to manipulate the Giants defense with some varying success, but can't seem to find the right defensive scheme to stop Eli Manning's pass attack. If not for three poor throws by Manning, it would be very possible that the score would be 34-3 New York.
Q1 Grade: B-
The Bucs have held their own so far in this game, which is something when you consider that they drafted within the Top 10 last year. I think it's fair to attribute much of this improvement to improved coaching. Still, the pass defense is weak, and it is time for the Bucs for make some adjustments.