Fire the Cannons!- What I learned in the Bucs' Victory over the Cleveland Browns
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a little fight in them- Regardless of how they played, this can’t be denied. The Bucs could have folded like a cheap suit or a cheap tent or whatever after going down 14-3 in the second quarter. It was hot, the Cleveland Browns trickery was working, the crowd was listless and worst of all, no one was expecting anything different from them. However, they hung in there, the defense started to get pressure and the Bucs turned the game around on two plays in the span of 10 minutes. It wasn’t a thing of beauty but Ronde Barber’s interception towards the end of the first half was a critical jolt for the Bucs. Even more so was rookie wide receiver Mike Williams’ spectacular catch. From there, the Bucs got stout on defense and Josh Freeman made an elite-level pass to Michael Spurlock for the game winner. No it wasn’t pretty, they actually should have won by a couple of touchdowns (see missed opportunities in the red zone.) But in the searing heat of the second quarter, the Bucs looked destined to drop this game.
- Josh Freeman is gaining mental toughness- Nevermind the fact he threw an entire game on a thumb that’s not completely healed, prior to the 33-yard, game winning touchdown to Spurlock, Freeman missed a wide open, sure touchdown pass to Williams. The fact that he was able to shake it off and throw a trilion-time more difficult pass is impressive and important. Often the problem with young quarterbacks is that they are too cocky to admit they aren’t perfect or too sensitive to overcome mistakes. That throw was leadership in action. While Freeman’s accuracy and consistency must improve, Bucs fans and coaches can take solace in knowing that his head is right.
- The Defense owned the second half- Despite a subpar performance in the first half, the Bucs defense turned on the pressure in the second half and it made a difference. They didn’t record any sacks, but the pressure forced Jake Delhomme into critical mistakes that allowed the Bucs to keep the Browns out of the end zone.
- Mike Williams does it again- Sure he only had five catches for 30 yards, but three of those yards were amazing and caught the attention of ESPN’s Sports Center and NFL Primetime. Come on, you had to wonder a little if Williams could continue to do the great things he did in the preseason when the real bullets started flying. His stats weren’t spectacular but that catch was. And it was a touchdown. If does one great thing per week that leads to seven points, he’s doing his job. Next week, Carolina Panthers. In case you missed it, here’s the catch: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-cant-miss-plays/09000d5d81a75666
- The crowd, the stadium, the scalpers, or lack there of- It’s known now that about 42,000 people attended the game on Sunday. However as Bucs great and co-host of the King David show Shaun King noted, “they were a loud 42,000 people.” Bucs coach Raheem Morris made note of them as well in his press conference, which is good because the Bucs and other local teams (Rays) don’t do that enough. Of course there could have been more people, but for some unexplicable reason, the scalpers didn’t come out on Sunday leaving fans to pay for overpriced box office tickets. I think it is also inexpelicable that the Bucs didn’t lower the ticket prices, but, I guess, their plan to raise demand for tickets by blacking out the game worked. However, the Bucs better keep winning.