Defense Turned Around In Second HalfNovember 11th, 2012
Joe just couldn’t believe his eyes watching the Bucs play in the first half. Joe knew Philip Rivers would at some point slice apart the Bucs defense, given the Bucs have the worst pass defense in the league.
But Joe never envisioned Rivers simply ravaging the Bucs the way he did in the game’s first 30 minutes.
Yeah, some will say the Bucs couldn’t get heat on Rivers. They could, but it didn’t matter. When you let a running back run free in the flat, when you let Antonio Gates get off the line of scrimmage without breathing on him, of course receivers will be free as wild turkeys in Tennessee.
Rivers didn’t need any time for his receivers to get open. They already were. So the moment a Bucs defender started charging at Rivers, he simply flipped a ball to a running back or Gates and there was a first down if not a touchdown.
Joe wanted to vomit at halftime. In the name of Monte Kiffin, what the hell was going on here?
Well, the Bucs, more importantly Bucs defensive coaches, learned from their mistakes in the first half. They started to contain running backs in the flat. They began to have Lavonte David nail Gates at the line, not just disrupting his pass route, but blowing up the play.
“We kept playing, kept grinding,” Bucs defensive end Michael Bennett said. “Of course we made mistakes in the first half. If they score, that’s a mistake.
“They kept a lot of people in in the first half and were hitting check-down routes, which is what they are known for. That’s a great team. Rivers is a great quarterback. They have a lot of good receivers, good running backs.
“We didn’t make the same mistakes that we made in the first half. That was the difference. Unless [Rivers] was going to sit back seven yards we weren’t going to get to him and he didn’t do that.”