Sunday, November 2, 2008

Week 9 Bucs Post: Who Knew a Win Could Feel This Bad?

This was a tough game to watch. So many players uncharacteristically screwing up (plus one for whom such things can tragically no longer be considered uncharacteristic)... This was an ugly, ugly game. It was extremely important to get a win this week heading into the bye, but what the Bucs showed against KC isn't going to help me sleep any easier. I kept asking myself during the game "Who IS this team?!?!" The buzz word at the Tampa Tribune seems to be "resiliency," which does indeed seem to be the one bright spot in this fiasco of a game. After falling behind 24-3 early (and in embarrassing fashion), and after a ridiculous number of blown opportunities, this Bucs team never stopped fighting and managed to come through at the last possible moment... Below are my random thoughts on this game, with an effort made to focus on the positive...
  • Antonio Bryant is awesome. It took him a game or two to get settled, but he's become really solid as our go-to receiver. I like the Bucs' policy on reclamation projects. We bring in these guys who need a second/final chance and see what they can do. If they screw up at all (I'm looking at you, David Boston) they're cut immediately, but guys like Bryant and Stevens have proven that they can avoid off-the-field issues and have become integral parts of the offense at this point.
  • Alex Smith is also awesome. Still waiting for the injury report on that knee, which he sacrificed on the game-tying 2-point conversion. We're fairly deep at tight end, but I would hate to lose Smith for too long...
  • You know who else is awesome? Michael Clayton! And not just "Michael Clayton of 4 years ago" like usual, but the actual present-day Michael Clayton. He was huge in this game, doing all of those things that gave us such high hopes for him during his rookie year. Michael Clayton (at his best) is a big guy with good hands who loves to throw blocks for his teammates and will often pick up several extra yards for you after the catch by fighting through tackles. Sure, he's a head case (I blame Gruden for at least some of that), but hopefully a few more games like this can cure him of that mess...
  • Clifton Smith gave me hope that the Bucs could maybe come back when he returned that kick for a touchdown (second in team history... woohoo!), and I'm loving his work on kick returns in general now that he's taken over from Dexter "I prefer to run backwards" Jackson. Unfortunately, Clifton Smith also killed much of my hope when he fumbled in the red zone in the fourth quarter (even though we got the ball back on the next play).
  • Did Ronde Barber really get this much older over the course of the offseason? Used to be that teams would avoid throwing to Barber's side, but this season they're going right at him and he's coming up short at least once (usually more) per game. I love this guy, but maybe he really is at the end of his career. I keep hoping we'll hear about some secret nagging injury that's slowing him down, but it seems more likely that he's just showing his age... Sigh...
  • Oh, Earnest Graham... One of my favorite things about you was that you NEVER fumble (two career fumbles coming into this game), then you cough it up TWICE (including one in the red zone) in this game? Really? Wow... Let's hope this is an anomaly, because between Alstott and Pittman I've had to watch enough fumble-prone ball-carriers to last me a lifetime...
  • Finally: Garcia. You know, you probably shouldn't complain to the media ever... but you DEFINITELY shouldn't complain to the media about Gruden not letting you throw enough deep shots if you're going to come out and throw a bad pick on one and throw it 2 yards behind Galloway on the other. Seriously, dude. Shut up.
I'm actually looking forward to the bye... My heart can't take another week of this stuff right now...

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