Seeking Second-Half Adjustments

A week ago, the Buccaneers’ offense was shut out before halftime for the first time all season, leading to a 10-0 deficit against the Eagles at Raymond James Stadium.  On Sunday in the Superdome, Tampa Bay was surprisingly blanked in the first two quarters for the second game in a row.

Against Philadelphia, the Bucs’ offense adjusted well after the intermission and scored the next 21 points.  Though the Eagles rallied in stunning fashion to steal a 23-21 victory, it was still an encouraging turnaround for the offense.

Tampa Bay will need more of them same in Week 15 after falling behind 24-0 in the opening half in the Superdome.  Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense was definitely more efficient than Josh Freeman’s crew, leading in total yardage, 263-96.  However, the bigger problem for the visiting team was a pair of red-zone interceptions that killed what could have been productive drives.  That marked just the third time this season that Freeman has been picked off twice in one game; he’s yet to have a three-interception game and that may need to remain true if the Bucs are going to successfully rally after halftime.

The Bucs’ offensive struggles were particularly surprising against the league’s 32nd-ranked defense, which came into the game giving up roughly 450 yards per game.  The Saints were able to take rookie RB Doug Martin out of the game by jumping out to a big lead and successfully blitzing through Martin’s running lanes.  Despite several good runs, Martin gained just 16 yards on eight carries because he was met several yards in the backfield on several occasions.

Sunday’s game marked the first time in more than two seasons that the Saints had shut out an opponent in the first half.  The Buccaneers will be looking for the proper adjustments after the break to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the second half.

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