The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ suffered a tough 44-16 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens Thursday night before a crowd of 47,599 at Raymond James Stadium in a game coach Greg Schiano called ‘sloppy’ after his first-teamers left the field.
On the Ravens’ opening possession, Lavonte David sacked Joe Flacco for a 10-yard loss. Cornerback Danny Gorrer, who started in place of Darrelle Revis, then jumped out in front of Jacoby Jones, picking off Flacco on third-and-15.
“I thought we played competitively on defense, with the sack and then the interception — that’s a third-down stop,” said head coach Greg Schiano after the game.
“Danny Gorrer had two – he had an interception and a PBU. That’s great against one team’s ones. I mean, they were missing some people and we were missing a lot of guys, too. But that was, I guess it was 6-0 at the end of the first quarter, and that was a positive. Certainly we got sloppy a bit after.”
Despite the pick, Flacco had a brief-but-solid outing, completing 7 of 9 passes for 57 yards passing. His backup, Tyrod Taylor, had an impressive performance, passing for 154 yards with two touchdowns and no INTs.
Like Flacco, Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman saw limited action, completing 4 of 7 passes for 34 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
On Freeman’s first series, the offense went three-and-out and surrendered a sack to Chris Canty.
Freeman came back for a second series, hitting Kevin Ogletree for a 22-yard reception on third-and-7 that was set up by Gorrer’s pick. He then found Vincent Jackson along the sideline of the Baltimore 5 yard line for a 20-yard gain.
The play was originally ruled a catch, but a challenge from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh saw the play overturned, and Freeman’s second of two offensive series stalled at the Baltimore 11.
The Bucs settled for a 29-yard field goal by Derek Dimke, the first of three for the night.
Mike Glennon stepped in and saw the most action of the Buccaneers quarterbacks, completing 11 of 23 passes for 169 yards passing, zero touchdowns, and one interception.
“I thought Mike Glennon handled himself with really good poise,” said Schiano. “The one interception was a good throw, it was the wrong route. You’ve got to throw that route before it breaks. So, it looked awful because it was awful, but it was not on him.”
On his very first play of the game, just before the start of the second quarter, he stood tall despite heavy pressure, finding tight end Tom Crabtree for a 61-yard reception — the longest pass play of the night.
“It kind of looked like everything was breaking down and he found [Tom] Crabtree and he’s just a special guy with a special arm,” said Ogletree, who was targeted eight times between Freeman and Glennon, catching five passes for 65 yards receiving.
Glennon was far from perfect, but he appeared comfortable as a signal caller and methodically drove the ball downfield. With the help of two pass interference calls on the Ravens, Brian Leonard ran it in for a 3-yard touchdown — the only touchdown of the night for Tampa Bay.
“What I was joking about with the guys was how great pass interference is in the NFL compared to college,” said Glennon after the game. “You throw two deep balls, you get two pass interference calls and all a sudden you’re on the three-yard line. That was a great way to get a touchdown out of that drive.”
Leonard, who also lined up as a tight end, rushed for 23 yards on six carries and a touchdown in his debut as a Buccaneer.
Peyton Hillis, who is competing with Leonard for a backup role behind Doug Martin, had four rushes for 13 yards. He took a helmet to the knee and was forced to leave the game. He did not return and was seen after the game limping heavily.
Schiano did not know the severity of the injury immediately after the game. “That’s a shame. He and Brian Leonard really did a nice job. We’re looking for that depth behind Doug, so that’s a positive. But, let’s hope he’s well.”
Second-year receiver Chris Owusu, who has looked sharp throughout camp practices, did not have a good night. He was targeted seven times but managed just two catches — although significant at 48 yards — and set up a Ravens’ touchdown by Bernard Pierce with a muffed punt in the second quarter as rain started to fall.
Owusu’s error wasn’t the only glitch on special teams. Just before halftime, Ravens safety Brynden Trawick blocked a punt by Chas Henry, with LeQuan Williams running it in for a touchdown. “It was a technique error that may not be easily correctable,” said Schiano in regards to Owusu’s muffed catch.
“Sometimes that’s part of why guys are cut.” Schiano added, “The blocked punt, it was a young guy and they were four and four, it was a basic rush. A guy just individually beat another guy.”
Rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks led the defense with five tackles and a pass breakup. Schiano was pleased with his second-round draft pick’s effort, along with the effort of the defensive backs unit as a whole.
“I thought Johnthan – without watching the tape, it’s hard to tell, but I thought he showed up a few times. And that’s a guy who the stage wasn’t too big for tonight, and that’s promising. I think there’s a couple other guys at the corner position that kind of showed up tonight, which is good. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
The Bucs rested a total of 13 players: K Lawrence Tynes, CB Darrelle Revis, S Sean Baker, FB Erik Lorig, LB Jacon Cutrera, G Davin Joseph, G Carl Nicks, TE Luke Stocker, WR David Douglas, DT Derek Landri, DE Adrian Clayborn, DT Gary Gibson, and DE Aaron Morgan.
For the Ravens, WR David Reed, Ladarius Webb, S Omar Brown, LB Jameel McClain, DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, G/T Marshal Yanda, C Ryan Jensen, TE Ed Dickson, and TE Dennis Pitta were inactive.