BUCS – AFTER THE DUST SETTLES : 49ERS
By Leo Haggerty
OK, here are two things I want to bring to your attention. Both had a profound effect on the outcome of the game which Tampa Bay lost to San Francisco by a score of 31-17.
First, Winston threw three interceptions. That’s the life of the quarterback. You’re either the hero if you win or the goat if you lose.
After the game, it was determined by the coaching staff that two were his fault. I specifically asked about the initial Pick 6. From where I sat, which is high up in the press box and the best vantage point, it looked like #3 expected RB Peyton Barber to run a different route. When I asked that of HC Bruce Arians, he said no and his answer is below.
Now, fast-forward to Monday and that tune has changed. After viewing the film, #25 ran a curl and Winston expected a hitch and Coach BA confirmed my assumption.
I know a lot of you will say that the coaching staff, especially the man in charge, is making excuses for the Buccaneers signal caller. I beg to differ and here’s why.
The worst place to be for evaluating plays is on the sideline. You don’t have the advantage of being above and seeing exactly what has transpired.
No excuses here. Plain and simple facts gathered after watching the film because, as we would say in the coaching profession, the one-eyed monster never lies.
Second, when you start your coaching career, there are two basic premises that you are made keenly aware. The first is that you never take points off the board. The second is that you play to win the game.
Now, with that information in hand, the Bucs Head Honcho faced a dilemma. Early in the final quarter, rookie K Matt Gay kicked a chip shot field goal to get the Buccaneers within three points of the 49ers at 20-17. But, low and behold, San Fran was flagged for a penalty. That moved the pigskin half the distance to the goal line but it remained fourth down. So what should the Pewter Pirates do when they are only two yards from paydirt?
So, the King of the Kangol had a decision to make. Keep the points and stay behind or try to score giving the Pewter Pirates a one point lead.
The decision was made to belay the field goal and go for the touchdown. Unfortunately, that strategy didn’t work but, in my opinion, the decision was the correct one.
I will never second-guess a coach for playing for the win especially when that team has had so little success in the recent past when it comes to their won-loss record. You’re trying to change the culture from a loser to a winner and that’s how you do it.
That tells your team that you are willing to throw the dice and believe in them. Sometimes you win and sometimes you throw craps.
Look for my GOAL LINE STAND column later this week. It will be earlier than normal being that the Bucs are heading to Charlotte for a Thursday night contest with the Panthers.
Finally, the man behind the glass was our photo-journalist Steve Jacobson. Enjoy
LH : On the first interception, it looked like Barber ran a curl and Winston though he was running an out. Was there a miscommunication there?
BA : It was a hitch and he threw a hitch. Just don’t throw it against Richard Sherman to a running back. Learn from it.
Normally, I don’t add any of my commentary after a player or coach has spoken on a particular subject but what has transpired since the I asked HC Bruce Arians the above question. It has come out that, as I surmised, Barber ran a route that Winston wasn’t expecting. The Bucs Head Honcho, at his Monday press conference, said that Barber had gone three yards too far down the field #3 threw it where he expected him to be. So, what could have been a positive play ends up as a Pick 6 for Frisco.
LH : On the fourth down play, you came out in Empty and San Francisco took a time out. After the timeout, you come out in a different formation. Did you change the play?
BA : No. It was basically the same play, but in a different formation.
LH : It seemed like the 49ers wanted to target TE Greg Kittle on every pass play. Were there defensive schemes to double team him?
BA : We have a couple of double teams in there for him, but we wanted to pressure more. Especially in the fourth quarter, we were pressuring. So, somebody’s got to cover him or it’s a ‘fire zone’ and we’re playing zone defense with a blitz.
LH : Did the 49ers formation you in certain specific defenses?
BA : They always do. But, they don’t force you into certain defenses. Your defense is played the way it is.
LH : The pass before the interception, I thought you got a better break on the football and just mistimed it. Was that the case?
VH : Yeah, Yeah. I really took a bad angle. He really threw a good ball. He saw me and led him up field. He threw a great ball. I undercut it way too short.
LH : I really thought you had that one.
VH : That’s a good eye. That’s a really good eye. I’m surprised that you saw that one.
LH : On the interception, what coverage were you in?
VH : What coverage were we in? I have to think about that and I probably wouldn’t tell you anyway. We were in some sort of zone. There’s certain things you pick up watching film. You see it on film and then you react to it in the game. It’s something that just worked out for me.
LH : This loss hurts, doesn’t it.
VH : A little bit. A little but but we have a short week. We have to get ready to go so we can’t harp on this at all.
LH : Got 15 more, right?
VH : You know it.