Tale of the Tape: NFL Week 3 — Steelers at Buccaneers
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A LiveBall Sports Game Tape Review.
- This game should have been better than it actually was: on film, both teams were equally impressive.
- The thing that got the Buccaneers was unreasonably poor pass coverage from their safeties. Charlie Batch may be a game manager, but he played this game like a boom or bust quarterback. It got intercepted on the first drive on a bad decision and made a number of other mistake throws, but Batch’s wobbly passes down the field found their way into the hands of Steeler receivers.
- Tampa’s offensive line probably doesn’t get enough credit. Even being down 22 points in the third quarter, the pocket around Josh Freeman was remarkably clean. This considering that the game situation prevented Tampa from running the football.
- The Bucs might really have found something with LeGarrette Blount, who is explosive through the line and runs with great power. His off-field issues aside, I don’t think anyone thought he would look like this as a rookie.
- The Steelers defense seemed to struggle a bit against the Bucs going at them straight up, but were really opportunistic when they ran WR screens. I’m not entirely sure why the Bucs tried to use trickery to get big plays on the Steelers. They’ve been around too long to think that it would work.
- Freeman continues to impress me, but his accuracy was clearly lower in this game than his prior two. He got away with a couple of near INTs on out routes where James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley snuck into the passing lane at the last second.
- Maybe the story of this game is how little pressure the Tampa OL got on Charlie Batch, considering how banged up the Steelers OL is.
- The Steelers have great weaponry in RB Rashard Mendenhall and TE Heath Miller. They need to not get away from the running game when Ben Roethlisberger comes back.
- While you already knew how much the Steelers rely on Troy Polamalu to be all over the field for them, the other safety, Ryan Clark showed up in this game as a playmaker.
- The Steelers could comfortably win every short yardage situation, allowing them to move the chains and take more deep shots. The Tampa secondary would have needed to adjust and make Batch pay for underthrown deep balls. They did not.
- Ronde Barber declined a few years ago from a top corner, but he still plays at what I would call a high level. Aqib Talib has really developed as a third year corner in his career. He’s the best player in Tampa’s paper-thin secondary.
- Cody Grimm replaced the suspended Tanard Jackson at safety in this game. Jackson is going to miss the rest of the year, and he’s irreplaceable from the Bucs perspective. I can’t imagine Grimm starting for this team for very long.
- Tampa Bay has good linebackers, but they were a non-factor in this game.