There was a time way back in the day – and we’re talking turn of the century here – when the Buccaneers used to eat young quarterbacks for lunch. Not anymore.
When the Bucs lost to Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and the Broncos on Sunday it marked the seventh time in seven tries since 2012 that a quarterback playing in one of his first five NFL games has beaten the Bucs.
No other team in the league has suffered any more than three losses to quarterbacks with that little experience over that time frame but the Bucs came away from this loss actually feeling good about one aspect of their game.
After allowing a total of 101 points and an average 370 yards per game through their first three games of the season, the Bucs tightened up considerably on the defensive side of the ball against Denver.
The Bucs allowed a season-low 307 total yards, including just 89 rushing, and as far as Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter was concerned, less than half the 27 points the Bucs gave up were on the defense.
“When you look at it, our defense really only gave up three legitimate points … in the first half,’’ said Koetter, who noted that the other 14 first-half points came largely via turnovers inside the Bucs 30-yard line.
“That’s probably the best half of football our defense has played all year. It was definitely the best half we’ve played (defensively) since we beat Atlanta (on opening day).’’
The second half wasn’t all that bad either. The Bucs gave up 10 second-half points to Denver and those were all on the defense, but that was a defense without tackle Gerald McCoy and end Noah Spence.
McCoy and Spence both left the game with injuries after playing in less than 20 plays, but Koetter believes the Buccaneers as a whole and linemen Clinton McDonald and Will Gholston in particular adjusted well to their absence.
“Obviously when you lose a player like Gerald for any amount of time, it hurts,’’ Koetter said. “With that said, though, Clinton McDonald stepped up and had his best game of the year.
“I also felt like Will Gholston had his best game of the year. Somebody needs to rise up anytime a guy goes down and I thought those two guys did that.”