DETROIT -- It's a misconception that an offensive line doesn't have statistics.
You can measure a line in several ways. Rushing yards and sacks are a good place to start. Those indicators weren't good for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday's 34-17 loss to the Detroit Lions. An offensive line that hasn't been very good all season had its worst outing yet.
"At the end of the day, this offensive line hasn't performed well at all," right tackle Demar Dotson said. "We're playing as a poor offensive line. We're not getting the job done."
That was evident on a day when the Bucs ran the ball only 14 times for 26 yards and allowed quarterback Josh McCown to be sacked six times and hit countless other times. Give Detroit credit for having a good defense, but put most of the blame on Tampa Bay's offensive line.
McCown was so beat up after the game that he was limping around the locker room and had his back wrapped.
"They got too much pressure on our quarterback," coach Lovie Smith said. "We know that. It's reasonable to say that. We have to do something to give ourselves a chance. We couldn't protect the quarterback, we couldn't run the ball. Didn't get anything going throughout. We had a couple of long throws that got us a couple of points and allows you to look at the score and say, hey, they were able to do something, but we never really got anything going on the offensive side to give us a chance."
That's because the line was sputtering. And let's not use the fact that left tackle Anthony Collins didn't play due to an elbow injury as an excuse. A high-priced free agent, Collins hasn't come close to living up to his billing. It's not like he would have made a difference Sunday.
The line didn't do anything well and that started with a running game that was non-existent. Detroit came into the game with the league's top-rated rushing defense and the Bucs pretty much abandoned the run from the start.
"In hindsight, especially with how we ended up passing the ball and not being able to protect it, no we weren't committed enough to the run early on," Smith said. "Not that we were getting a lot from our run. I think they dominated us in all phases today, whether we were running or passing the football we didn't get anything going."
Without a running game, there was added pressure on McCown, who completed 20 of 39 passes for 250 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"That's the toughest thing," Dotson said. "You're asking, especially the tackles, to go out there and pass protect when everyone in the stadium knows it's going to be a pass. You hate those situations as tackles, but they're part of the game."
A part of the game that the Bucs aren't very good at.