Sunday Review: Buccaneers Beatdown

LaGarrette Blount can go over you or through you.
LaGarrette Blount can go over you or through you. /
LaGarrette Blount was flying high on Sunday in Tampa.
LaGarrette Blount was flying high on Sunday in Tampa. /

Talk about living up to the hype. Sunday’s game against the Panther’s was no surprise, but it was very nice to see. What Tampa Bay needed to do was establish themselves as an offensive force in the NFC and yesterday’s performance was the confidence booster this team needed.

It was no secret that Josh Freeman needed to have a big game. He was slowly creeping up on people’s radars and after his 241 yard, 2 TD beat-down of the Panthers, Freeman is no longer a sleeper player, he’s a big time playmaker that the NFL is starting to pay a lot of attention to. It’s very cool to think that our guy is getting well deserved national attention but then again thats why he was drafted. One of the reasons he’s getting all the attention is his ability to put the ball right where it needs to be in big spots. He finally connected in the endzone with a name we were expecting to be calling all year, Kellen Winslow and is quickly forming a QB/WR tandem with rookie Mike Williams. Whenever Freeman looks deep and Williams is on the field, Buccaneers fans can look for the home run ball. That didn’t happen this week but Williams did collect a reasonable 68 yards on 4 grabs. However in the receiving game, the game ball would have to go to Kellen Winslow; not only because this was the first real time his number was dialed up by Freeman, but rather he delivered when thrown to. Freeman went to Winslow six times for 65 yards and a score which is numbers Winslow should have been putting up all year if it had not been for the emergence of Mike Williams and a revamped run game.

Kellen Winslow dialed in big on against Carolina
Kellen Winslow dialed in big on against Carolina /

Speaking of that run game, I said in the preview that LaGarrette Blount needed to have a big game and that he did. It wasn’t a juggernaut of a performance, but it was a very reinforcing one. Blount rushed 19 times and piled up 91 yards and a touchdown. Blount was without a doubt the second star of this offense. Particular attention is drawn to the third drive of the game for Tampa. All the play calls were run plays and big run plays. It was a six play drive and Blount was at the center of five of those six, his longest going for 24 yards. He ended the drive with a 17 yard cartwheeling dash to the endzone, but the way Tampa Bay ran the ball and glided down the field in style sticks out in a big way. Blount wasn’t the only running back to have an impressive day. The Bucs let Cadillac Williams roar out of the garage for 65 yards on 5 carries highlighted by a 45 yard touchdown run on a 3rd and 11 play in the fourth quarter.

The love was shared evenly on Sunday as Tampa Bay ran the ball as many times as they did throw it (24 times). It was almost like the machine was getting tuned up, testing out all the parts to see if they all still worked. Touchdowns were scored by Arrelious Benn, Kellen Winslow, LaGarrette Blount and Cadillac Williams while we were treated to another Josh Johnson sighting. Tampa Bay needed to light up the scoreboard and the stat sheet if they wanted to show they still had what it took be a contender in the NFC. Not only did they do that, but they spread the ball around and let the NFC know not only are the Bucs a force, they have a lot of toys to destroy you with.