PENALTIES* The Buccaneers played their most undisciplined game of the season as they had 13 penalties for a total of 94 yards. The game saw a number of offsides calls, illegal formations, and the ultimately the two most costly penalties, holding and twelve men on the field on the game's final drive. I think it's safe to say that the players and coaches weren't able to get it right when it counted at the end of the game. Penalties are absolutely the number one reason why the Bucs lost this game.LACK OF OFFENSIVE EXECUTION The offensive line continued to struggle to put together complete game. The Bucs were shorthanded at the tight end position, which resulted in using a heavier personnel with an extra offensive lineman. Because of this, early in the game, the Bucs were finally able to run the ball effectively with Doug Martin. However, lack of execution and those penalties reared their ugly heads again and proved costly, especially on the final drives of the game. Until the Bucs find consistency up front, the trials and tribulations will continue.*
INSPIRED BUCS DEFENSE**
For the third straight game of the season the Bucs defense completely dominated their opponent. They forced QB Andy Dalton to throw three interceptions and applied enough pressure to keep him off schedule in the game. Linebacker Danny Lansanah played his best game as a Buccaneer with 14 tackles and three tackles for loss. He was all over the field and again filled the huge void left by the injured Lavonte David, who didn't play for the second straight week. Gerald McCoy put pressure on Dalton all day long and registered another sack. Defensive backs Johnthan Banks, Alterraun Verner, and Brandon Dixon all contributed in the secondary, each getting an interception. As this 2014 season winds down, the Bucs defense looks like it is finding its identity.
There are three phases to every football team: offense, defense and special teams. Every week in the NFL, teams displaying the most balance in these three phases are generally the ones in the mix for a playoff position. The Buccaneers have yet to find that balance this year. Throw in the mistakes and lack of execution and it all equates to a 2-10 football team. There are always bright spots, but we had just too many dark ones to overcome against the Bengals to win the game.