Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis understands the frustration of Bucs fans after starting the season off 0-2 with two games lost by field goals in the final seconds. Still, he sees some positives after Sunday’s loss, particularly in the way the defense responded to adversity — even the self-inflicted kind.
The Bucs’ goal-line stand just before halftime sticks out. An unnecessary roughness call on safety Ahmad Black for a hit on tight end Jimmy Graham pushed the Saints close to Buccaneer territory.
It was followed by a 29-yard deep pass to Graham, with the 6-foot-7, 270-pound specimen stopped at the 1 yard line by safety Dashon Goldson. Officials had originally ruled it a touchdown but a review determined he was just shy of the end zone.
On first-and-1, Brees’ pass over the middle was incomplete. On second down, Goldson and linebacker Mason Foster stuffed running back Mark Ingram into the backfield. On third-and-2, Revis and Black halted running back Pierre Thomas.
Garrett Hartley’s field goal was nullified by a penalties, and the Saints brought back out the offense for one more shot on fourth-and-2. Mark Ingram was stopped again at the 1.
“Our back was against the wall on defense because field position would change after those penalties,” said Revis, who finished the game with four tackles and a pass breakup. “It’s great to see that, for our defense to hold those guys up with the high-powered offense that they have.”
Revis didn’t necessarily agree with the call on Adrian Clayborn’s sack of Drew Brees in the second quarter that would have been a forced fumble and drew a 15-yard penalty.
“To me, it looked questionable, but I don’t know what the refs are looking at. I don’t know what they’re studying. The game is fast.
The Bucs had another unnecessary roughness call on Goldson that very same drive for a hit on Darren Sproles. They caught a break when Garrett Hartley’s 47-yard field goal attempt went wide right.
“Guys are just playing. Guys are not literally trying to head-hunt out there. We’re just playing fast, aggressive football.”
He said he does believe there are things players can do to avoid those types of mistakes and they are small adjustments.
“How the rules are today — we’re still going to play aggressive football but maybe we can lower an inch where we don’t get those penalties.”
He said it won’t keep the Bucs from playing tough, aggressive football by delivering punishing hits, which have become part of this young group’s identity.
“We’ve got a new foundation here as a defense. We’ve just got to keep on doing what we’re doing, not let [the opponent] get in the end zone. Our offense will put points on the board.”
Unfortunately the offense didn’t do that enough yesterday, mustering just one offensive touchdown, a 5-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree that was set up by a pick from linebacker Dekoda Watson.
The offense did manage to inch its way downfield so that Rian Lindell could attempt a 47-yard field goal, but it sailed wide left.
In those situations, Revis said the defense has to learn how to close out games.
“We are doing what we have to do. It’s just those last minutes that we [have] got to finish. I’m sure Coach [Schiano] is going to bring that up, because there were some great things that we did do today.”
He certainly doesn’t believe the loss stemmed from lack of effort though.
“We played our hearts out today; we played our hearts out today. We are sad about the loss but we’ve got to move forward.”