Third-Down Defense Needs Help

December 5th, 2021

Improvement needed.

Now Joe loves sacks. That fact has been strongly established on this site.

Take away sacks today (and a forced fumble), and the Bucs’ third-down defense was simply shredded.

Yeah, Joe was hoping with Carlton Davis back (he mostly played well) the third-down defense would big-time improve from getting raked over the coals by the likes of stiff never-been Trevor Siemian, recycled AAF quarterback Taylor Heinicke and bumbling Carson Wentz.

Matty Ice is a different cat. And he sliced up the Bucs on third downs.

The Dixie Chicks converted 9 of 17 third downs for a conversion percentage of 52.9. Take away perhaps two of the Bucs’ five sacks, and you are looking at a borderline obscene conversion rate.

It’s one thing to get taken by Siemian and Heinicke. Still another from a guy like Matty Ice. Now coming ’round the corner is Josh Allen. Look the eff out.

Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles better get this third down defense to buckle up, and soon. This won’t cut it come the playoffs.

But you know what, as bad as the third down defense was (sans sacks and a turnover), the Bucs kept the Dixie Chicks off the scoreboard in the second half and the Dixie Chicks didn’t do squat on their last six drives.

Joe guesses that is called “bend but don’t break.” That may work against Atlanta. Will it work against Buffalo?

43 Responses to “Third-Down Defense Needs Help”

  1. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    It bends, cracks, fractures and sometimes breaks but today’s 2nd half was nice. Just get so tired of so many 3rd amer lines being converted

  2. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    3rd and longs

  3. Aaron Says:

    Agree, wait till we play Rogers, Murray, Prescott, Stafford – we’ll need to out score folks.

  4. Bird Says:

    Dean just got injured again by a bar of soap in the shower

  5. Anonymous Says:

    They gave up 10 points. The horror.

  6. JGhotier Says:

    It is astounding how many teams convert 2nd or 3rd in long situations for first downs against us. It’s been a problem and a bugaboo all season long.

    The defense did some really good things as well today though on the way to only giving up 10 points.

  7. Coburn Says:

    I noticed at times thar for whatever reason they didn’t have guys waiting at the sticks on third. Guys has to come running up to tackle in third and long. That shouldn’t happen. You shouldn’t be that far behind the first down mark

  8. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Matty Ice Statue is so freaking sackable.
    We should have had 10.

  9. Tampaabaybucfan Says:

    Yes, & take away the Falcons pick 6, TD & FG & they got shut out……

    Anytime the defense pitches a shutout when we are leading at the half….I’d call that a win……

  10. Tampaabaybucfan Says:

    The problem for us on third downs was open receivers without much of a pass rush….where was JPP, Shaq, JTS9 all game?

  11. FrankPillow Says:

    35 breaks- a lot.

  12. AMI_Chris Says:

    We just can’t seem to cover. There’s usually a receiver pretty wide open, if the QB can find him. And every time the wind blows, one of our DBs gets hurt.

  13. JimmyJack Says:

    TBBF the problem is no passrush? I think you had on the wrong game bro.

  14. Jmarkbuc Says:

    When you stand 10 yards off the line on 3rd & 10, it’s no wonder…

  15. firethecannons Says:

    cordarelle Patterson is running like an mvp–give the guy some credit!

  16. NPRbuc Says:

    My biggest question is why we have guys playing so far off receivers on 3rd downs? If they need 5 yards our defense sets up 10+ yds deep. On some of their 14+ yds needed you will find our d backs 19 or more yards out. To make matters worse, their first steps on the ball snap are backwards! I understand that they don’t want to get beat and want to keep the ball in front, of them but come on. No one is covered coming off the line and we have hardly no one playing short of the first down markers. Maybe playing at or inside the first down markers could prevent some of those easy toss and catches? Who knows. Maybe getting up on them and knocking some guys off their routes could even help? Sure is frustrating watching us consistently playing D beyond the markers!

  17. firethecannons Says:

    matt ryan is a sack magnet even more than mike glennon

  18. Eddie b Says:

    9-3..would love to see what joe lions fan has to say today..YIPPEE!

  19. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Some bad tackling. Our secondary should be called the glassmen. One hit and out.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Play man more often and the defense will be DOMINANT

  21. Ptwalk Says:

    This Defense is opportunistic, they only gave up 10 points and you still complain. Bottom line is points. How do you take away the positives to point out the negatives. SMH

  22. David Says:

    It is crazy how inconsistent the offense and defense were and they still put up 30 and only gave up 10 on D.

    But Joe is absolutely right, this is not going to fly against better teams in the playoffs. How many times did they have third and long and completed it with a receiver wide-open? It’s really easy to play tight coverage and only give up passes under 6 yards. I mean SMB and Davis and David and Winfield were all out there. And dean most the time.

  23. DoooshLaRue Says:

    As sloppy as we look most of the time, especially on defense, I’m reminded of how entertaining our team is while I’m watching this boring ass Steelers-Ravens game.


    Keep winning.
    Go Bucs!

  24. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Can’t complain about them in the red zone. I thought the offense was very consistent albeit the int, ya can’t expect to score everytime. D was really until 3rd down, that has to be the D they were in, how is it possible the DB’s play that poorly? Ptwalk, you are right just 10 points but give O a little credit for making the one dimentional.

  25. The Man Says:

    A lot of missed tackles today. Many came on 3rd down.

  26. Rob In Land O Lakes Says:

    I posted this in another thread but it’s probably more appropriate here:

    Overall, a good day…particularly second half by the defense, BUT……. a disturbing trend remains. Today, our defense gave up first downs on:

    3rd and 10
    3rd and 9
    3rd and 7
    3rd and 14 (defensive holding)
    3rd and 14

    They just can’t rely on turnovers to stop teams. Most defense would salivate to get the opposition in these down and distance situation and I want to say the average league conversion rate on 3rd & 7+ is about 15%-20% if that.

    If they do that against a good team, the outcome is likely different.

  27. Irishmist Says:

    Should have had 6 sacks. JTS let one slip through his fingers like the fat lady gym teacher in Porky’s.

  28. Ptwalk Says:

    Listnfrmafar, you’re right. We’ve been winning playing this way, this defense seem to make plays when they have to. They did the same thing last yr. Looks like we’re the same team from last year but better at it. There will always be something to complain about every game.

  29. Wesley Says:

    Will Tryon be a bust?

  30. David Says:

    look at all the positives –
    A lot of inconsistency and a lot of it did not look good but when you step back and really look at it….
    -ATL ran 21 times for 65 yards
    other than the 2 big runs on the opening drive (39 + 17 & a TD)
    -So the run defense did step up better than it seemed and completely shut them out in the second half.
    -They also shut them out in scoring after giving up 10 points.
    -They had another week where penalties were great. They only had 3.
    -The O was inconsistent but still put up 30 points yet again.
    -It was another week where a defense played half of their defenders 5 yards or deeper off the ball in order to stop the deep passes.
    -They’re forcing the Bucs to pass short a lot.
    -The best news, it does not appear anyone is seriously hurt or injured.

    The negatives,
    The DB’s really need to play tighter coverage on the intermediate routes and force stuff underneath.
    Gave up way too many easy completions on third and long.

    But it is another win!!!

    Clean it up and get ready for the Bills.

    L. F. G.

  31. Defense Rules Says:

    Focused on JPP & JTS on a number of plays. Wasn’t impressed with either one of them (looked like Atlanta wasn’t either). Shaq on the other hand did a great job of sealing his end. Vea, Suh & Gholston were all beasts.

  32. Rod Munch Says:

    Hey Bowles…

    Have White run forward… not backwards…

    Problem solved.

  33. SOEbuc Says:

    Cockrell is garbage and Dean is soft as a roasted marshmallow.

  34. Listnfrmafar Says:

    DR, agreed Shaq may not of had any sacks but he was all over the field. If JPP can’t play why is he in? JTS looks a bit confused.

  35. Tampaabaybucfan Says:

    JimmyJack Says:
    December 5th, 2021 at 5:39 pm
    TBBF the problem is no passrush? I think you had on the wrong game bro.

    Obviously, with 5 sacks we did have a pass rush….but on the 9 converted 3rd downs it was lacking….in particular from the OLBs……..and when Ryan had time….he burnt us with passes beyond the sticks….it seemed whatever they needed, they got…..
    Dbacks giving too much cushion but Ryan’s time was harmful.

  36. alton d green Says:

    does anybody know who called that bone headed call at the half. we’re up 10 pts with 30 seconds left. I am watching my laptop and saying “just take a freakn knee, we’re up by 10!!!!!!!!!!!” anybody know? BA, BL or Tommy Boy?

  37. brooks Says:

    better fix it quick. Pack will make us pay. no jpp amd our overpaid backer on the other side. thank goodness for vea amd suh!

  38. HC Grover Says:

    d only gave up 10 pts. seemed worse but there it is.

  39. Rod Munch Says:

    alton – you got to remember that not everyone is a coward who plays scared. When you have Tom Brady and 2 TO’s and there’s 50 seconds left, not 30, you try to score.

  40. BucsBeBack (Artist formally known as: BringBucsBack) Says:

    Joe, didn’t you write this same article last week; & the week before?

    I hate that Bowles doesn’t challenge receivers by playing so far off. Don’t give me that “back-up players” crap, either. Any receiver would rather run his route unmolested than be harassed at the line of scrimmage.

  41. 1sparkybuc Says:

    What good is a sack if they end up converting anyway?

  42. Reach87 Says:

    Good enough to win. Keep winning, Bucs! Go Bucs!

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Cockrell may be garbage but I bet we see him this week again.
    Gotta have safety help and Adams and Winfield both play SS.

    I honestly think outside of simple shifts in zone coverage it’s the easiest defensive position and Sherman so smart at reading the QB he may excel at safety. I can already envision some picks but the return though.
    (Joins Dean in the shower with that nasty bar of soap)