TAMPA — It wasn’t the way anyone would want to start the season. The Bucs endured few highs and many, many lows in their 27-20 opening day loss to the Detroit Lions. Josh Freeman and Co. had the blueprints to win, but the Lions changed it up at the last minute and went by a new plan.
The story of the game is the utter failure by the Buccaneers on just about every level. The passing game was a joke, the running game must have thought the game was on Monday and the defense had few shining moments.
The highlights include Aqib Talib’s interception return for a touchdown and some impressive drives by Josh Freeman.
One line and an extended sentence is all the highlights the Bucs had today. Talib’s pick-six was washed over by Calvin Johnson owning him and scoring twice. Again he was the deciding factor in the game and the Bucs inability to stop him proved fatal. Had the Bucs stopped just one of Johnson’s touchdowns, it’s a whole different ballgame.
They didn’t (again) and they ended up losing (again).
Matthew Stafford was another variable coming into the game and his performance was relied on heavily for a Lions win. That performance ended up being a 24/33 305 yard outing that will give Lions fans wet dreams for the next week. At the half, Stafford
had more attempts and completions than his draft classmate Josh Freeman but it was Freeman that ended up with more attempts at the end of the game. Freeman threw ten more times than Stafford did and completed just 4 more than the Lion. Going into the game, Freeman was viewed as the Bucs X-Factor and his performance must have been clean for the Bucs to win.
It wasn’t, and they didn’t.
The running game for the Bucs was non-existent with LaGarrette Blount looking like a shell of his former self against the Lions. He went 100-plus yards last season against the Lions. He had 15 and ended up being out-rushed by his own teammate Earnest Graham. This had a lot to do with the Bucs not being able to keep the ball in the first half and falling behind and having to rely on the passing attack.
Mike Williams was a late highlight with another spectacular touchdown catch to add to his resume. That catch actually almost sparked a fourth quarter comeback not far off from the ones lead last season. The Lions couldn’t have given the Bucs more chances to win down the stretch with not only going three and out on their last drive, but committing a personal foul that moved the ball back and stopped the clock on fourth down when the Bucs had no timeouts left.
Freeman started to lead a comeback drive but it wasn’t meant to be. It was also too little too late. Tampa blew their chance to get back into the game numerous times prior to their last and fruitless drive.
Defensively the Bucs flashed but ultimately sputtered. The first Lions drive saw them inside the Bucs five and the defense forced them to leave with just a field goal to show for it. Then Aqib Talib picked off Matthew Stafford and returned it for a touchdown. After that the defense was a completely different and terrible unit. They didn’t get to Stafford once, never sacking him in the entire game. They allowed long and successful drives for the Lions all day long and clearly have a lot of work to do before playing a potentially explosive offense next week in Minnesota.
It was a rough day to be a Bucs fan and an even rougher day to be a Buc. Not only did you lose, have your starting quarterback leave the game for a period of time, but you had about five or six fans there to witness it all. Bucs fans were just as terrible as the Bucs players today and it’s truly and all around loss in every aspect for the Bucs to open the season.