2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Buccaneers struggle to protect leads

By FRED GOODALL - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-10 20:01

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The fading Tampa Bay Buccaneers talk about needing to make more plays.

Coach Greg Schiano just wants his players to concentrate on doing their jobs at all times.

The coach rejected the notion Monday that the Bucs (6-7) failed to protect a fourth-quarter lead for the fourth time this season because they did not make enough plays down the stretch of a last-second 23-21 loss to rookie quarterback Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Yes, Tampa Bay failed to make a potential game-saving interception, and Foles extended the winning drive with a pair of fourth-down conversions.

But Schiano said there were also other factors that contributed to a defeat that dealt a blow to Tampa Bay's chances of making the playoffs.

``You'll never hear that from me. ... I don't think that's the case,'' Schiano said of the recurring theme of players explanations for squandering an 11-point lead in the final four minutes.

``I think you have to do your job, and you have to get 11 guys doing their job consistently. ... I think when you focus on making plays, that's exactly when you don't make plays,'' Schiano added. ``Focus on doing your job and plays come to you, the game comes to you. That's what we believe around here.''

Foles threw touchdown passes on Philadelphia's final two possessions, including the game-winner to Jeremy Maclin as time expired to cap a 13-play, 64-yard drive Foles led without any timeouts.

The young quarterback threw 51 passes without an interception, finishing with an Eagles' rookie-record 32 completions and 381 yards against the NFL's last-ranked pass defense.

Still, the Bucs were left wondering how Philadelphia was able to end an eight-game losing streak that was the Eagles' longest skid since 1970.

``We did a lot of things that you normally would look at and say that you win the game, but we didn't win the game,'' Schiano said.

The Buccaneers outrushed the Eagles 136 yards to 29, forced the game's only turnover and sacked Foles six times.

Josh Freeman overcame a slow start to lead three scoring drives that turned a 10-point halftime deficit into a 21-10 lead that Schiano felt his defense would be able to protect.

It didn't happen, in part, because of what Schiano described as ``self-inflicted'' mistakes on both offense and defense.

``We committed too many penalties, some in crucial situations. Some could be argued, but that doesn't matter. If they're called, they are,'' Schiano added. ``At the end of the game, we have some opportunities to makes the game be over, and we don't do it.''

Tampa Bay, which fell two games behind Seattle and one behind Washington, Dallas and Minnesota for the final NFC wild-card spot, also surrendered fourth-quarter leads in losses to the Redskins, New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons.

Schiano, who didn't feel the defense played poorly overall, suggested there's no common thread among the unit's problems late in games.

``It's not one guy, it's not one mistake,'' Schiano said. ``It's not one set of calls, whether it's blitz or three-man rush or four-man rush or man or zone (coverage). But it's something that we work on a lot. ... We just need to get better.''

The coach defended a decision to basically put the game into the hands of the defense with conservative play-calling on Tampa Bay's final offensive possession.

Instead of allowing Freeman to throw a pass on third-and-8 from their own 33 to try to retain possession and burn more time off the clock, the Bucs ran Doug Martin up the middle for no gain with just under three minutes remaining.

The strategy forced the Eagles to use their final timeout, however Schiano's plan for closing out the game began to unravel when Michael Koenen's punt traveled just 31 yards before rolling out of bounds at the Philadelphia 36.

Foles started Philadelphia's winning drive with 2:44 left.

``If it were the same situation in another game on another day, I might have chosen to do it differently. But in that game, rookie quarterback on the other side, where we were on the field, our punter - all things I believe to be true, and are true - I don't think I'd change it. ... The laws of football didn't hold up there,'' Schiano said.

Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers said the team will leave the disappointment behind and put its all into ending a three-game skid at New Orleans next Sunday.

``Every loss is tough, but we can't dwell on it. A lot of guys are disappointed, but they still understand we've got a lot of football to play the rest of the year,'' Bowers said. ``You can't dwell on that one game. We've got to correct the fixable things and transfer our focus to New Orleans.''

Receiver Vincent Jackson, who had six catches for 131 yards and one TD against the Eagles, agreed.

``We haven't played a perfect game all season. ... We'll definitely learn from it,'' Jackson said. ``We're still very confident in the team that we have, and the ability that we have in this building, and we'll get better.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Chris CantyFeb 27 11:32a

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty was released Friday, Feb. 27. The move saved the team around $2.7 million on the salary cap.

Brian HartlineFeb 27 10:32a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Harry DouglasFeb 27 10:32a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Matt HasselbeckFeb 26 07:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent QB Matt Hasselbeck was re-signed to a one-year deal Thursday, Feb. 26. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steven JacksonFeb 26 07:32p

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson will reportedly be released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 05:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension was overturned by U.S. District Judge David S. Doty Thursday, Feb. 26. However, the NFL also announced that they will appeal the ruling, [ More ]

Travis KelceFeb 26 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, who led the team with 67 catches and 862 receiving yards in 2014, is expected to be a more prominent part of the [ More ]

Kendall LangfordFeb 26 04:12p

St. Louis Rams DT Kendall Langford was released Thursday, Feb. 26, saving the team $6 million in salary cap space.

Greg HardyFeb 26 02:32p

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent DE Greg Hardy will seek immediate reinstatement after a judge overturned Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension, according to a source.

Theo RiddickFeb 26 02:22p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick likely will be given the chance to earn a bigger role in the offense next season after the team released RB Reggie Bush.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 12:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension has been overturned after a judge granted a motion from the NFL Players Association to vacate the suspension.

Michael RoosFeb 26 12:02p

Free-agent OT Michael Roos (Titans) has announced his retirement from professional football.

Dez BryantFeb 26 09:03a

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is likely to receive the franchise tag because the team is hesitant to sign him long term due to a lack of trust off [ More ]

Peyton ManningFeb 25 09:23p

The Denver Broncos and representatives for QB Peyton Manning are working on revising the veteran's contract, according to multiple league sources. He is scheduled to draw a $19 million [ More ]

Reggie BushFeb 25 05:33p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush has been cut Wednesday, Feb. 25.

A.J. HawkFeb 25 04:43p

Green Bay Packers LB A.J. Hawk was released Wednesday, Feb. 25. The move will save them $3.5 million against the salary cap in 2015.

Jacoby JonesFeb 25 12:33p

Baltimore Ravens WR Jacoby Jones was released Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Peyton HillisFeb 25 10:43a

New York Giants RB Peyton Hillis was released Wednesday, Feb. 25. The move saves $945,000 on the 2015 salary cap.

Dez BryantFeb 24 10:33p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant's NFL career could be in jeopardy if a video he allegedly appears is as bad as it sounds. A source said the 'incriminating video [ More ]

Jake LongFeb 24 09:23p

The St. Louis Rams are likely to release OT Jake Long this offseason for savings against the salary cap, according to beat writer Nick Wagoner.

Mathias KiwanukaFeb 24 03:33p

New York Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka has been released Tuesday, Feb. 24.

DeAngelo WilliamsFeb 24 12:23p

Free-agent RB DeAngelo Williams (Panthers) said he was not upset when the Carolina Panthers told him last week that he'd be released. Williams told Charlotte's WBTV that DE Greg [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 23 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's father denied a report that Peterson no longer wants to play for Minnesota. Peterson's father said Peterson is still open to a return to [ More ]

Ted Ginn Jr.Feb 23 04:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Ted Ginn Jr. was released Monday, Feb. 23.

Adrian PetersonFeb 23 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's situation with the team worsened during the NFL scouting combine as his agent and members of Minnesota's front office had a heated verbal altercation, [ More ]

Victor CruzFeb 21 10:22a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) looks good as he continues to recover from a torn right pateller tendon in his knee, according to general manager Jerry Reese. [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIFeb 20 02:52p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will enter the 2015 season as the team's starting quarterback, and general manager Bruce Allen thinks Griffin's ceiling in the NFL remains high. [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 20 08:42a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman fits well in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'My first impression: I can feel the quickness,' Quinn said [ More ]

Victor CruzFeb 19 07:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) may commence running shortly, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz is recovering from a torn right patellar tendon in his right knee.

Andre EllingtonFeb 19 05:12p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) remains the focal point of the offense, according to Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. Ellington split the injured tendon in his left foot, [ More ]

C.J. AndersonFeb 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson finished the year as the team's No. 1 running back and made the Pro Bowl, but new head coach Gary Kubiak said Anderson must [ More ]

James CaseyFeb 19 02:22p

Philadelphia Eagles TE James Casey has been released.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group