This piece was written by the Pewter Planks’ best writer, Daniel Edwards.  Only problem with Dan is he writes 3 articles a year.  Enjoy.

The Good

Connor Barth: Apparently this Connor kid is pretty good.  Barth went 3 for 3 on FGA from 50+ yards (tying the NFL record for most 50+ yard FGMs in a game), as well doing a good job on kick offs.  I’m not quite sure what it says when the Kicker is the best player on the team.  Actually I do, I just can’t bring myself to say it.  Here’s to Connor.

Josh Freeman: Freeman looked like a rookie with a lot promise today.  First and foremost it is clear that Freeman is our best option at quarterback right now.  Our offense has been much more effective these past two weeks with him under center, and he appears to be progressing nicely.  His size allowed him to break through some tackles today as well as give him the confidence to stick in the pocket and deliver the ball.  He made quite a few great throws, including the TD pass to Stovall.

Kellen Winslow Jr: Winslow compiled 7 catches for 102 yards for his second 100+ yard receiving game of the season.  He has looked good for the Bucs in flashes this year, and it’s great to see some chemistry developing between Winslow and Freeman.

Quincy Black: Probably the best game I have ever seen him play.  Black seemed to be involved whenever a big play was made, especially on the when the Bucs actually contained the run.  Not mention the interception that should have led to a Bucs’ W.

Donald Penn: Donald Penn’s blocked XP could have been the difference in the game, had the defense attempted to stop the Dolphins after going up 23-22.  Plus Penn had a timely fumble recovery from one of Freeman’s mental lapses.  It’s not often an O Lineman gets singled out, but Penn contributed in numerous ways today.

The Bad

The Defense: Although Quincy Black had a huge interception on Henne’s mistake to give the Bucs an opportunity to win the game, the defense as a whole was not good again.  The Dolphins ran for 199 yards; solidifying two facts that we already knew.  The Dolphins have a very good ground attack and the Bucs can’t stop the run.  The Bucs had an excellent opportunity to win the game after scoring the go ahead TD, until someone forgot to tell the Bucs’ defense to play the last 1:14 of the game.  At this point I have zero confidence in the defense’s ability to make a big stop when needed.

Josh Freeman:  Freeman’s biggest problem today was ball security; fumbling the ball 4 times and throwing 1 INT (although it wasn’t actually an INT and it wouldn’t have been his fault if it was).  One fumble was the result of a lost snap, while the others were a result of Freeman’s carelessness.  There is no doubt that 4 fumbles is unacceptable, but I’m sure Freeman will work these issues out as he gains more experience.

Kellen Winslow Jr: Although he had a good game receiving he continues to show signs of mental lapses.  He accounted for two penalties; a false start and a personal foul after our last touchdown.  Plus he somehow avoided a penalty after swinging at that helmet of Matt Roth (I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL fines him for this one).

The Refs

The Refs: With the ball on our own 5 and less than 2 minutes in the first half, Freeman threw a nice pass to Michael Clayton that should have resulted in a first down.  After a few seconds of discussion with his crew Tony Corrente declares the play an incomplete pass.   This was obviously incorrect since the ball never hit the ground, however in real time I can see how this mistake occurs.  This is the reason the NFL has instant replay, and being under two minutes in the half did in fact go to an official review.

Here’s the way I saw the play:  Michael Clayton catches the ball, has his legs taken out from behind by Vontae Davis and is subsequently tackled to the ground by Yeremiah Bell.  During the tackle Clayton’s back is clearly on the ground and he proceeds to roll over on the ground while controlling the ball.  It is not until Clayton has rolled completely off his back that the ball pops out and lands in the hands of Jason Taylor.  When I was watching the replays on TV, I thought there was no way the play wouldn’t be reversed and the Bucs credited with a first down.

Here’s Tony Corrente’s explanation:  “After reviewing the play the Tampa receiver possessed the ball but was going to the ground.  The ball never did hit the ground, popped up, it was intercepted by Miami, however by rule we can not allow an advance.”  Corrente explained further after the game that Clayton did not maintain possession of the ball completely through the entire process.  Clearly he has a completely different idea of this ‘process’ than I have ever heard before.

Raheem is then awarded an unsportsmanlike conduct following his castigation of Back Judge Greg Wilson.  From my viewpoint this one is on Corrente as Raheem wouldn’t have to be ‘unsportsmanlike’ if Corrente didn’t have a lapse of competence today.

The Fox Announcers: What made this even more painful was Ron Pitts and John Lynch’s assessment of this call.  For the remainder of the game they referred to this as a ‘controversial call.’  What the hell was controversial about it?  It was a terrible call by a referee.  There’s no controversy, rather a moment of ineptitude by a referee.  Over the past year I have noticed that there has been increased protection of referees’ feelings in the NFL and NCAA.  And in todays NFL and NCAA a coach can’t ‘bad mouth’ the refs unless they are prepared to be fined or suspended.  This is pure B.S.  I understand that mistakes are made and every call won’t be perfect, but when such a blatantly bad call is made after the referee had an opportunity to review it there has to be some form of accountability.  But now the Fox announcers are scared to call it what it is?  It has to controversial?  Ron and John must have used this word 25 times throughout the remainder of the game, and I cringed each and every time.  Next time please just call it what it is.

Hey Tony, There was nothing controversial about the call, you just blew it.