TAMPA — The Buccaneers are fighting for their playoff lives and showed it was a bad idea to write them off so quickly. Tampa Bay fell to an early deficit to the Seahawks, but quickly came back scoring 17 unanswered points before halftime. After the half, it wasn’t ever a contest. Kellen Winslow absolutely came alive scoring 2 touchdowns and racking up almost 100 yards. The Bucs defense has been under a lot of stress and have been viciously depleted but the offense bailed them out huge on Sunday and showed the Bucs are still alive and they’re still dangerous.
The story of the day was Kellen Winslow shaking off the cobwebs and busting loose, having his best day of probably the last three years. Winslow had a touchdown in each of the halves and went for 98 yards on 7 grabs. Bucs fans have been waiting for the emergence of Winslow as a huge target for Freeman and today they got a great taste of what the future may hold. Winslow had shown spurts of greatness throughout the season, particularly when he was targeted 6 times for 65 yards and a score against the Panthers in week 10.
Speaking of big targets, Mike Williams exploded the Seahawks secondary for 2 touchdowns and 44 yards and 3 catches. Freeman didn’t hook up the long ball with his go-to man, but he went to Williams inside the redzone which was a great strategy. The Seahawks were on Winslow, leaving Williams open enough for Freeman to hit him. Williams had his number dialed in the second quarter for a 20 yard score, his longest catch of the day. Josh Freeman benefited from all this, going for 5 scores and over 200 yards and regaining power as an up-and-coming elite quarterback in the NFL.
Oh and then there’s LaGarrette Blount who blew up on Sunday for 153 yards on just 14 carries, finishing with 164 yards total.
The unsung hero in all this is the Bucs defense, who only gave up 15 points the whole game. The Bucs defense went over three full quarters without giving up ANY points. Seattle snapped that streak in the fourth with a Leon Washington touchdown. Geno Hayes roared back life with 8 tackles and 2 sacks. Barrett Ruud even decided to show up getting 5 tackles on the day and a sack. Practice squad addition, something called Frank Okam, had a great day nabbing himself 6 tackles on the day as a replacement for Gerald McCoy, good enough to be second best on the team in the tackling department.
The Bucs chances to get in the playoffs were greatly damaged by the Packers domination of the G-Men in Green Bay. The Packers are pretty much in a win-and-they’re-in situation, but that doesn’t spell complete doom and gloom for the Bucs. The Packers have the Bears next week who can still get the number one overall seed in the NFC and are becoming the hot favorite to get the two seed should Philadelphia lose to Minnesota. The Packers are close to getting in, but they aren’t yet, and the Bucs are still alive for the time being. Should the Packers lose and the Bucs beat the Saints, Tampa bay just might find themselves jumping to the front of the pack (yeah, thats a pun) and smile as their playoff ticket is punched. Even if that’s not the case this season has been far more than spectacular, and it gives great hope for next year. But even after week 16 of the Buccaneers season, it’s still too soon to write them off and that in of itself, is something to be proud of. “We have a chance to get 10 wins this season.” said coach Raheem Morris after the game, ” Lets go get it and figure it out from there.”