Deja vu for the secondary
Two weeks in a row, the story has been the same for the Bucs secondary. After giving up 414 passing yards at the Raiders, it allowed Philip Rivers to dice it for 337. But there is another parallel between the games: The secondary came up with big plays that slammed the door.
While CB E.J. Biggers again struggled and the Bucs attempted to make do without starting CB Eric Wright (he missed most of the game with a foot injury), corners Leonard Johnson and LeQuan Lewis made interceptions to thwart San Diego threats during the second half. Last week, interceptions by Biggers and S Ahmad Black helped seal a victory.
Johnson returned his 83 yards for a touchdown, tilting the momentum of the game. Lewis, who has been with five teams and was playing just his fifth game (second for Tampa Bay) since going undrafted out of Arizona State in 2011, made his first career pick with 3:19 left. That allowed the Bucs to ice the game with a Connor Barth field goal.
The Bucs continue to live dangerously. They entered the game with the NFL's worst pass defense at 321.1 yards per game. And it went up with Sunday's 337. But the Bucs also have 15 interceptions, third-most in the NFL, offsetting some of the big yardage they've allowed.
"There are certain things that we haven't done as well as we would like. But we've made plays," coach Greg Schiano said. "Leonard with the interception for a touchdown and then, at the end of the game, (Lewis) making a play to put it on ice. Sure, we'd like to be doing things better, and we will. It's not from a lack of effort. It's not from a lack of want-to. We just have to get everything clicking together."
|About the writer|
Stephen F Holder has been writing additional Buccaneer features and daily blog reports on the team for several seasons now for The Tampa Bay Times.