Week 2 Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3, Atlanta Falcons 14
What you need to know
Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms is off to a rough start in his first full season as a starting quarterback. Simms continued to struggle with batted balls and poor decisions, and for the second week in a row, got no help from his running game. As a result, the youngster turned the ball over three times, one of which came on the opening drive of the third quarter inside the Atlanta five yard line, ending one of the Buccaneers most promising drives so far this season. For the game, Simms finished 28 of 53 for 313 yards, but had no touchdowns and three interceptions. He also had another pass intercepted that was challenged and over turned.
The Tampa Bay receivers seemed to get on track this week, most notably WR Joey Galloway, who caught nine passes for 161 yards after being shut out last week. The Buccaneers seemed to make a conscious effort to get Galloway the ball, targeting him a whopping 17 times for the game. Fellow wideout Michael Clayton finished with five catches for 62 yards and was targeted nine times.
RB Cadillac Williams struggled for the second straight week in the Tampa Bay running game. The talented sophomore ran for only 37 yards on 15 carries, averaging only 2.5 yards per carry and had a long run of only five yards. The Tampa Bay offensive line just does not seem to be opening up holes in the rushing attack at all, and as a result, Williams is struggling. He did not show any signs of being affected by the back spasms that held him out of practice this week
Tampa Bay’s defense was shredded on the ground by the Falcons to the tune of 306 yards rushing. They just did not have an answer for the vaunted Atlanta rushing attack, giving up fifteen rushing first downs along with a rushing touchdown by Falcon QB Michael Vick. Atlanta threw for only 76 yards through the air, but that was more a result of their strong rushing attack than the Buccaneers shutting down their passing game. On the positive side, Tampa Bay forced three fumbles, recovering one, had three sacks, one blocked field goal and one interception. The interception was returned for a Buccaneers’ touchdown, but the play was called back on a block in the back penalty.
Atlanta QB Michael Vick had one of those games that just make your jaw drop. He carved through the Tampa Bay defense for an impressive 127 yards on the ground, including a one yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Vick had an efficient day passing, finishing 10 of 15 for 92 yards and one touchdown pass, but was sacked three times and threw one interception. With the success both he and the Falcons’ talented backs had in the running game, Vick did not have to do much through the air at all.
Kicker Michael Koenen was awful missing three FG attempts. His fourth attempt was blocked. He’s on extremely shaky ground as the Falcons’ kicker.
WR Ashley Lelie led the Falcons in receiving, with only 22 yards on three catches, and Lelie tied fellow wideout Michael Jenkins to lead the club with five targets for the game. While the Atlanta receivers did not put up much number wise for the game, they did an impressive job blocking downfield in the running game.
Hall, Atlanta’s shutdown corner, did play on offense, catching one ball for no gain. He fumbled on the play, but it was recovered by Atlanta.
Warrick Dunn had another strong game, rushing for 134 yards on 21 carries, and along with Vick and RB Jerious Norwood, helped the Falcons rush for the most yards in a game in franchise history. Dunn averaged 6.4 yards per carry and continued to show he is more than capable of carrying the load in the running game.
Atlanta’s defense was able to keep the Tampa Bay running game in check, limiting the open space Cadillac Williams had in the open field, and rattled Buccaneer QB Chris Simms in the passing game. The Falcon front seven not only batted down numerous Simms pass attempts, but applied pressure when they needed it, forcing three interceptions along the way. They did give up over three hundred yards through the air, but it took fifty-three attempts for the Buccaneers to get over that mark.
What you ought to know
|QB Chris Simms, Pass: 28 - 53 - 313 - 0 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0|
Simms set a career high in passing yards with 313, but that was one of the few positives he’ll be able to take away from this game. He continued to have passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, and turned the ball over three times for the game. He does show flashes, but seems to struggle with his touch on the passes he throws. Simms led the club down the field on the opening drive of the third quarter, only to turn the ball over inside the Atlanta five yard line on an interception in the end zone. The connection between he and WR Joey Galloway came to life, but the Buccaneers have a lot to figure out in their passing game.
Williams could not get going against the Falcons, rushing for only 37 yards on 15 attempts. He is running hard, but with the struggles of the Tampa Bay passing game, Williams seems to be the focal point of the defense, and it is showing. The offensive line struggled to open holes for their talented tailback for the second week in a row. Not only was Williams shut down in the running game, but he got only one target in the passing game. He showed no signs of being bothered by the back spasms that he’s been suffering from.
Alstott did not run the ball, but caught three passes for ten yards on six targets.
Pittman contributed on special teams for the most part, but did catch three passes for 17 yards on 8 targets.
Galloway had a strong game after being shut out last week, catching nine passes for 161 yards and was the most targeted Tampa Bay receiver, with seventeen.
Hilliard finished with 53 yards on six catches, and was targeted 8 times, mostly in the short passing game.
Clayton was targeted nine times, finishing with five receptions for 62 yards.
Becht was only targeted three times, finishing with two catches for ten yards.
Smith failed to grab a reception, but was targeted two times for the game, one of which came in the end zone.
Bryant connected on only one of three attempts, making good on a 22 yard attempt and missing on attempts of 45 and 43 yards.
The Buccaneers’ rush defense was torn apart by the combination of Dunn, Vick and Norwood for 306 yards rushing. Tampa Bay had no answer for the Falcons, who seemed to get the ball out in open space whenever they wanted to. Vick and Dunn ran a fake – handoff option type play to perfection a number of times, and the Buccaneers had no idea which way the ball was going. If you need another sign as to how much trouble Tampa Bay had in stopping the run, safety Jermaine Phillips led the club with 13 combined tackles, most of which came downfield on running plays.
The Buccaneers did not face much of a passing attack as the Falcons only attempted fifteen passes for 92 yards. When Atlanta did throw the ball, Tampa Bay did a good job containing the Falcon receivers and limiting yards after the catch. They did give up a short touchdown pass from four yards out, but had three sacks and one interception. The interception was returned by LB Derrick Brooks for a touchdown, but was called back on a questionable block in the back penalty.
|QB Michael Vick, Pass: 10 - 15 - 92 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 14 - 127 - 1|
Vick did not have to do much through the air, because he and the Falcon rushing attack did whatever they wanted to. He did have a short four yard touchdown pass to FB Fred McCrary, but his rushing efforts are what helped the Falcons to their second win of the season. Vick rushed for 127 yards on 14 attempts, including a one yard touchdown run, and seemed to rush for a first down every time he took off downfield. He seems to get more yards along the sideline than anyone, and makes turning the corner look effortless. Aside from his two touchdowns, Vick led the club into scoring territory four other times, but the club failed to convert on field goal attempts on each of those drives.
Dunn ran at, through, and around his former club for 134 yards on 21 rushes, as he continues to show no signs of slowing down. The Atlanta run blocking scheme continues to be one of, if not the best in the league, and Dunn continues to benefit. He was not a factor in the passing game, getting zero targets for the game.
|RB Jerious Norwood, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 9 - 45 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets)|
Norwood rushed for 45 yards on nine carries and caught the only pass thrown his way for twelve yards. Aside from his great acceleration, the rookie also showed versatility, throwing a pass on a half-back option play. Although it was incomplete, there is no doubt the coaching staff has tremendous confidence in the youngster.
McCrary spent most of the day blocking, but did catch a touchdown pass from four yards out on his only target of the game.
Lelie was targeted five times, catching three balls for 22 yards.
Jenkins had five targets, and caught two passes for 14 yards. While those numbers are definitely unspectacular, he did a great job blocking downfield in the running game.
White was not a big factor, catching the only ball thrown his way for eighteen yards.
Crumpler only had one catch for twenty-two yards, and was only targeted two times for the game. That is definitely a sign that the running attack was the focal point of their game plan for this week.
Koenen, who kicks and punts for Atlanta, had a rough day, missing on field goal attempts from 30, 36 and 40 yards, and having another attempt from 30 yards blocked. He did hit both of his extra point attempts. After this rough outing, the Falcons could look to sign another kicker to lighten his load, so Koenen owners will want to keep an eye on this situation.
The Falcons’ defense played admirably without starters John Abraham and Ed Hartwell, both out due to injury. They shut down Cadillac Williams and the Tampa Bay rushing attack, giving up a mere forty yards for the game. In taking Williams out of the game, they forced Simms to beat them through the air, which he could not do. Atlanta gave up only one first down via the run for the game.
While Atlanta did allow Simms to throw for a career high 313 yards, it took 53 attempts for him to do so, and the defense shut the Buccaneers down whenever they needed to. They did force three interceptions, one of which came in the end zone and put a threatening Tampa Bay drive to rest. The front four did a solid job getting their hands up on passing plays, batting down numerous Simms pass attempts. LB Keith Brooking led the way with nine combined tackles, and CB DeAngelo Hall had two interceptions.