Despite a late game surge, self-inflicted wounds sealed the Buccaneers' fate in their home opener at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay's two-game win streak was snapped, with many permeating questions to be answered as evaluation commences in the ensuing days. Here are the top takeaways from the Bucs' Week Three matchup.
Disadvantageous Offensive Positioning
More often than not, the Buccaneers found themselves in unfavorable down and distance situations on Sunday night, as drives came to a halt by penalties, a failure to convert on third down (two of 11 on the day) and turnovers. As the Buccaneers were striving to climb out of an 11-point deficit, fumbles by Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman, respectively, in the second and third quarter ended promising drives for Tampa Bay and gifted the opposition with a momentum-advantage.
The Buccaneers took a delay-of-game penalty before the two-point attempt try, setting the team back from a two-yarder to a seven-yarder. Additionally in the fourth quarter, Jamel Dean's interception off an Aaron Rodgers free play-bomb to Randall Cobb was negated because the Bucs' defense had too many men on the field – a microcosm of the day.
"There were a few things that happened that we can't let happen," Head Coach Tod Bowles exclaimed. "We got six crucial penalties at different times that cost us the ball game – shooting ourselves in the foot to give us a chance to win. We know they're a good football team – hats off to them, but we made some dumb mistakes ourselves."
Logan Ryan Sparks Defensive Surge
After a slow defensive start against the Green Bay Packers, the Buccaneers' unit shutout Aaron Rodgers and company. After the Packers' amassed touchdowns on each of their first two offensive drives, Tampa Bay forced seven punts, a fumble and an interception. The latter two categories were the work of one defensive game-changer: Logan Ryan.
The first came in the second quarter. Rodgers hit Aaron Jones over the middle but a subsequent big hit by Vita Vea and Lavonte David knocked the ball out and Logan Ryan recovered in the end zone for a touchback – delivering the turnaround Tampa Bay desperately needed.
In the third quarter, the defense caught another break. The Bucs' recorded their second takeaway as Rodgers attempted to hit Robert Tonyan over the middle of the field on third down, but Ryan undercut the dig to haul in the interception at the Green Bay 47-yard line. Ryan appeared to be in a two-high shell coverage lined up deep, but dropped down as a robber on the play to slide in front of Rodgers' intended target. The free agent acquisition spearheaded the defensive surge and elevated the secondary's performance.
Logan Hall Penetration
With starting three-technique, Akiem Hicks, out with a foot injury, rookie Logan Hall received a heavier workload against the Packers. The first-year player took advantage of his opportunities, collapsing the pocket on multiple occasions. The Buccaneers' drafted Hall with the first pick in the second round with the expectation that his athleticism would fortify the team's pass rush on the interior and versus Green Bay, he delivered.
In the third quarter, Hall forced a punt with a lethal swim move. Rodgers was hurried into a quick dart to Jones for no gain by Hall's pursuit. The Bucs' loaded up with three linemen to one side of the formation, to create one-on-one matchups to the other side. Amidst the heavy load, Hall made his presence known with relentless pressure.
With 3:18 on the clock, as Tampa Bay's defense needed a crucial third-down stop, Hall stepped up. After an initial move to the outside as the blocker overset, Hall out-leveraged with a counter spin to the inside for a sack on Rodgers. He stalled the Packers' drive and put Tom Brady and co. back on the field for a chance to tie the ballgame. Hall's play garnered recognition from Bowles, stating, "You know, he can rush the passer, he got some pressures and he's getting back there, the more playing time he gets and the more exposure, the more comfortable he gets." As Hall continues to enhance his craft at the pro level with an expanded pass rush arsenal, his ceiling will rise.
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka Third-Down Dominance
Throughout the ballgame, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka became a menace on third down. He forced three Packers' punts and whether it was flushing Rodgers out of the pocket or dropping a ball carrier, Tryon-Shoyinka created a momentous spark. In the fourth quarter from third-and-two, Tryon-Shoyinka snuffed out the Packers' RPO, redirected, and blew up the play with a tackle for loss on Jones. He stalled the Packers' drive and provided a defensive impetus.
In 2021, Tryon-Shoyinka rushed the passer from a variety of roles to maximize his time on the field as a rookie. This season, he is lining up as a full-time defensive end/3-4 outside linebacker, maximizing his pass rush prowess. His consistent play against the Packers spearheaded the club's turnaround. Tryon-Shoyinka may not have been a catalyst that showed up on the stat sheet, but his dominant play jumped off the tape.