Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
The Buccaneers have lost some momentum, and opposing defenses figuring out Tampa Bay's offense has a lot to do with it.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers averaged nearly 35 points per game on their recent four-game win streak, but have dropped to just 23 points in each of their last two games, both losses. That's a sign the league has adjusted to the Tampa Bay offense, says Joe Smith at the Tampa Bay Times. With Doug Martin and Josh Freeman no longer surprising opposing defenses with what they can do, the Bucs have sputtered on offense.
Martin was a big part of the win streak, and he's equally involved in the two most recent losses. He's averaging just 2.3 yards per carry over the last two weeks, down from over five yards per carry in the first 10 games of the season. Freeman has been more consistent, but a pick-six against Denver effectively put the game out of reach.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan knows that nothing that happens on the football field goes unnoticed:
"It boils down to continuing to evaluate what we have shown (and) the frequency with which we have shown it. Are ... we putting ourselves in a situation where we are predictable? ... The concepts and ideas - how often are we able to keep them fresh and rotate them through and yet still try to give enough answers to the quarterback."
The Bucs next face the Eagles, who are squarely in the middle of the league on defense. They rank 16th in passing yards yielded, and are 18th against the running game. That should give Tampa Bay opportunities, but it will be difficult to take advantage if Philadelphia knows what the Bucs are going to do before they do it.