The first half of the Buccaneers 2012 season has been leaps and bounds better than their entire 2011 campaign thus far. From Josh Freeman to Doug Martin and the defense, the Bucs are firing on all cylinders in their first game of the Greg Schiano era.
The first drive of the game for the BUcs saw Josh Freeman go a perfect 7-for-7 and cap it off with a touchdown pass to Mike Williams. The second drive for the Bucs didn’t end in a touchdown but it ended in something that eluded the Bucs all last season: points.
The key so far for Tampa has been efficiency. All three of the Bucs drives have ended in points of some kind and although they have only made it to the endzone once, they’ve been eating up clock and allowing the defense to rest up on the sidelines — also something taht didn’t happen a whole lot last year.
One bone to pick would be on the Bucs third scoring drive. They marched all the way fromt heir own 8 to the Panthers goal line but the drive ended in a 20-yard Connor Barth field goal. Two straight Doug Martin runs were stuffed and a play action failed to work as well. The Bucs came up empty in terms of a touchdown that drive, but hopefully that will be something they remember during their next trip to the redzone.
Defense Wins Games, And That’s What’s Happening: So far today the Bucs defense has looked vastly improved. They’ve managed to hold down Cam Newton, frustrating him on drive after drive. Newton may not be a second year bust, but the Bucs are seeking revenge in making sure he’s a week one bust.
Even Ronde Barber is getting in on the harassment of Cam Newton as he picked up his 28th career sack near the end of the second quarter. Quincy Black even got in on the action, so that right there tells you that this defense is a far superior monster than it’s former self from last year.
Biggest stat of the day: Cam Newton has no touchdowns and has no rushing yards. In fact Newton is posting a negative yardage total on the ground which is a massive accomplishment and confidence builder for the Bucs.
Halftime Adjustments: Last year we all waited until the second half for the Bucs to get things going, so this whole deal about performing and leading in the first half in new. But that doesn’t mean the Bucs can coast in the second half, as Cam Newton isn’t going to lay down and take this treatment. If Tampa wants to win, they need to keep being consistent and efficient.