Buccaneers: In former times, winning ugly was called Buc-Ball

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

For the Buccaneers, a win is a win, even if it’s ugly.

Back in the early part of this century, the Buccaneers, and especially Warren Sapp, called a football game like the one that played out Thursday night in Raymond James Stadium “Buc Ball.”

Buc Ball is the very definition of “winning ugly”, which is a perfect term for the Buccaneers’ season-opening conquest of the visiting Dallas Cowboys.

At times, it was almost hard not to cheer for Dak Prescott, who returned to the field after recovering from injuries that saw him miss most of last season, and who was lighting it up for more than 400 yards passing.

On the other hand, the team did not pass the half-century mark in the running game, with Ezekiel Elliott only averaging 3 yards on 11 carries, with one that was good for 13 yards. For all intent, it appeared as if the ‘Boys disdained the running game and put their faith in Prescott’s more than able hands.

Should the Cowboys have won this game?

Yes and no. To win a brawling brutal game like the one from Thursday, it’s imperative to take full advantage of every scoring opportunity you get. And the truth is, Greg Zuerlin’s kicking left them just a bit short and looking like the Buccaneers from 2019. Discounting the 60-yard dream attempt, the Cowboy’s placekicker left four points on the field in terms of a missed chip-shot field goal and a botched extra point.

Had Z connected on all of those kicks, the Cowboys would have been up by 5 points with 1:34 to play. Totally different from the one-point lead they had when Tom “GOAT” Brady took the reins.

Most people, and especially Buc’s fans, probably felt pretty good about the teams’ chances to pull off the winning score. Ryan Succop has been lights out since joining the Bucs last season. The interesting thing; however, is that even had the Cowboys had that 5-point lead, 33-28, it likely would have only made a difference in the final score.

From the 19-yard line, Brady had at least three ways to finish it with a “Tuddy”: Brown, Godwin, and Gronk. Not to mention Mike Evans. And, there is no way that 1. Dallas could cover everyone 2. Brady wouldn’t make a great read, and 3. whoever got the pass would make the catch.

On the final drive, the one in which Cowboys’ fans complain about Chris Godwin’s so-called “offensive pass interference” play, Tampa had the ball at the Dallas 19-yard line. So, was anyone at all watching how Brady, almost nonchalantly, tossed the ball away to eat up some clock? It seems he was merely trying to kill some clock before Ryan Succop arrived to ice the game and leave the Star-heads with only two ticks on the clock.

In reality, both teams had chances to put this game away. And for one reason or another, the Cowboys didn’t finish it while the Buccaneers did close it out.

And yet, the game was very reminiscent of the one the team played last year against the Chicago Bears. It was brutally ugly. Neither team either want to take control or could take control. If it were early last season, we would likely be sitting at home pondering how we managed to get an L out of yet another season opener. You know, it wasn’t as if Jamies Winston was tossing picks.

But not this season. This season the Bucs have a lot more confidence, and even when things don’t go the way they might want them to, they are more than capable of making up for it in the next series. And that is what happened time and again Thursday. Somehow, the team managed to hold onto a slender lead for nearly the entire game. They gave up all the things that Coach Bruce Arians believes you have to have in order to win.

Number one on that list is turnovers. The Bucs had four, although the hail Mary pass at the end of the half shouldn’t really count. They gave up 9 points on a Ronald Jones fumble and the other pick, that Lenny “the ham-fisted” Fournette let slip away for strike two. They did not control the clock at all, and the Cowboys also gained more yards.

But none of that really matters, as long as the scoreboard had the total in our favor. And Thursday night it shone on the Buccaneers. As much good as there is to say about the Buccaneers’ play there is an equal amount of bad. As Tom Brady put it, we have some things to work on. But for now, the road to the Lombardi is still clear, the chance for an undefeated season is still intact, and our wondrous Buccaneers can now take a few days off and start preparing for Atlanta next week.

Trending. Buccaneers: Bruce Arians shuts down former Tom Brady game plan. light

Want to write about the Buccaneers? Apply below!