It has been hard to find many positive things to talk about this season for the Buccaneers. We are one of the worst teams in the league, with little positive developments during the course of the first 16 of the season. We rank near the bottom both defensively and offensively in almost every single category.
Sunday though, the Bucs won their 2nd straight game. While I’m used to bashing this regime, I want to give it some credit for the handling of the game plan on Sunday.
The thing that stood out most to me, was the dedication to running the football. I have been pleading for it all year and we stuck to running last week, and truly were dedicated to it this Sunday. It works wonders too, as Cadillac Williams ran for 129 yards on 24 carries, and Derrick Ward pitched in with 7 runs for 32 yards. In overtime we ran the ball on every play except one on a drive that put a smile on my face. Caddy was running through people, and just like most running backs in the league, he got better as the day went on.
Josh Freeman showed his normal propensity to sail balls over receivers heads, leading to two INT’s, but otherwise was pretty good. If only we could get the guy out of the first quarter, he might be studly. He seems to just start out real poorly in terms of accuracy, and progresses quite nicely as the game goes along. He finished the day 21-31 for 271 yards to go along with those 2 INT’s. Freeman spread the ball around quite nicely as well, completing passes to 8 different receivers. I’ll give some credit to Greg Olsen here as well who realized the shortcomings for the Saints and worked to exploit them.
Our defense truly demonstrated a bend but don’t break philosophy on Sunday. We didn’t really stop Brees all that well as he completed 32/37 for 258 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT’s. The Saints ran the ball 23 times for 123 yards, so we weren’t exactly stellar in that department either. The only stat that truly matters in the end though, is that scoreboard, and the Saints only managed to put up 17 points.
The game ball truly goes to Michael Spurlock. Signed just this week to replace rookie Sammie Stroughter who was placed on IR last week, Spurlock, who returned the Bucs first ever kickoff for a TD, made a splash in his re-debut. With the score 17-10 in favor of Nawleans, Spurlock took a punt 77 yards in for a score to tie the game.
The Bucs won just about every statistical category including: first downs, third down efficiency, net yards, rushing yards, net yards passing, average gain per play, and time of possession.
I want to do a little bashing here as well, because we could have just as easily lost this game if Garrett Hartley would have buried a very makeable field goal at the end of regulation. I’m trying to keep this positive so I’m going to just say one thing negative. Raheem really needs to work on his score management in regards to kicking field goals, and going for it on 4th down. He seems to make a questionable call every single week of this nature.