Buccaneers Defensive Struggles in Wild Card Game


The playoffs are where teams need to put it all together, the Buccaneers have yet to do that. A complete game will mark a team as a true contender. When things don’t fall in line as needed teams will struggle. Against the Washington Football Team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense looked ill-prepared and at times faltered.

Pressuring The Quarterback

The stat line from a distance looks good. The pass rush defense tallied two sacks and six quarterback hits. Despite these decent numbers Taylor Heinicke threw for 306 yards with a touchdown and interception. At times he looked comfortable and able to run through his progressions. When the quarterback, no matter how many starts under their belt, feels little pressure they become dangerous.

The containment by the defensive line was very frustrating to watch. During passing downs, Heinicke was very elusive. In fact, he was Washington’s leading rusher. On his first touchdown drive, he kept the drive moving with a ten-yard scramble to put his team on the Tampa 21-yard line. During some of those plays, there were times where Heinicke seemed to slip by defenders who should have sacked him. His touchdown run quickly comes to mind as defenders had their hands on him and he managed to quickly slip through.

Heinicke finished with six attempts for 46 yards. The result was an average of 7.7 yards a carry and a touchdown.

The Secondary

With a lack of inability to contain and rattle the quarterback problems, it causes problems to compound. Wide receivers find themselves open as a result. As the game moved along the secondary appeared to be winded and were on their heels. Washington was able to move the ball on half their drives with 17 first downs via passing. Additionally, Washington converted on 50% of their third-down attempts. Five of the seven third-down conversions came by passing plays.

Final Thought

For the Buccaneers to make it to the Super Bowl they need a complete game from both the defense and offense. The more mistakes one makes the more inroads to victory one provides to their opponent.

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