Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 1 Bucs Post (vs. Cleveland, W 17-14)

As a massive change of pace from last season, the Bucs went ahead and opened this season up with a W.
Last season, still reeling from dropping the last 4 games of the year before, the Bucs proceeded to drop the first 7 games of the new season for a total of 11 consecutive losses. I had been building enthusiasm this off-season, headed towards my annual delusional state where I believe firmly that, surely, this is the year for the Bucs to return to the Super Bowl. When Tampa went down 14-3 in the first half, the pain of disillusionment was so intense it was almost nauseating... Was it possible that Tampa was really as bad as everyone thought they were? Ronde Barber answered that question with a resounding "Hell, no!" when he made a game-changing INT at the end of the first half and ran it back 65 yards to set up Mike Williams' first TD catch in the NFL. (And it was a hell of a catch, even if it was only for 3 yards...)
The running game started strong, then struggled late, but Josh Freeman was there to keep the team steady (even if the points came more slowly than I would have liked...).
The key to this game, though, was the defense stepping up their play in the second half. The linebackers in particular were fantastic, but it was huge that the front four were able to put on enough pressure on their own that the secondary started to look pretty darned good (even with Aqib Talib on the sidelines).
A final (perfectly-thrown) touchdown pass to Micheal Spurlock brought home the win for these Bucs, after which the defense sealed the deal...
The team, needless to say, was quite pleased with this. I love how tiny Spurlock looks next to Josh Freeman. Hee...
ESPN doesn't seem to think that the team they consider 3rd-worst in the league beating the team they consider 5th-worst is a big deal, but the key to turning things around is beating the teams you're supposed to beat, and the Bucs did that on Sunday. They also showed a lot of heart digging their way out of that 14-3 hole when it seemed like all hope was lost... Bring on the Panthers!

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