Hello Buc fans, sorry for the delay on the recap of another exciting Bucs win (I was down in Miami enjoying the sun and surf, jealous yet?). So here is your recap of the Bucs amazing performance in Carolina as they beat their NFC South foe and improve to 2-0 on the young season.
Quarterback Josh Freeman continued to shine as he completed 12 of 24 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, no interceptions! Freeman moved well around the pocket, placing passes where only his receiver had a chance to make the catch and checking down to the open receiver when he needed too. Freeman didn’t force anything and make excellent reads in the pocket as he continues to improve his maturity and decision making.
The Bucs running game continued to struggle though and was not able to get a consistent attack going. Cadillac Williams led the way, rushing 27 times for only 51 yards. Freeman had 4 carries for 43 yards, showing how dangerous he can be with his legs, despite his size. Earnest Graham had 3 carries for only 1 yard as well. Kareem Huggins was out with a groin issue and Kregg Lumpkin and LaGarrette Blount did not see the field. The Bucs will need to get their ground attack going soon if they want to continue to move the ball effectively.
Kellen Winslow led all receivers with 4 receptions for 83 yards, showing no ill signs of his sore knee. He continues to be Freeman’s go-to receiver and is a dangerous weapon if he can stay healthy for the season. Rookie Mike Williams had another impressive game, reeling in two receptions for 54 yards and another touchdown. Williams was a constant target late, but was defended well, showing the Panthers respect for his ability on the field. Earnest Graham had five catches for 33 yards and a touchdown, showing his versatility and Cadillac had one for 8 yards.
Connor Barth was accurate on the day, going 2 for 2 in field goals and even got two punts in as well, all about field position in his fake kicks (lined up as field goals, but ended up going for the punt).
The defense had another solid performance, coming out with a solid game plan to stop the Carolina rushing attack and were able to harass Moore/Clausen enough and force two interceptions. Quincey Black and Barrett Ruud each had 7 tackles and were flying all over the field. Tim Crowder had two sacks off the edge and McCoy and Price played well up the middle. Ronde Barber had 2 tackles and 1 interception and Aqib Talib, back from suspension, had a game sealing interception.
Overall it was a great performance by the young Bucs. They played fundamentals out there, not trying to win the game in one play and playing to their strengths. It was a great victory and now at 2-0 the Bucs are feeling good about their progression early in the season, but will have a real test next week as Pittsburgh comes to town.