Don’t get too excited, Bucs fans. Tampa might be 3-1, but two of those wins have come over the the Vikings and the Colts, both 0-4 teams. Maybe it’s true what they say – there aren’t any easy games in the NFL. Still, despite the Falcons not really sure on where they want to go this season, I’d still take them, and obviously the Saints, as the best in the NFC South.
True, the Bucs staged an impressive comeback, with LeGarrette Blount running all over the Indianapolis weary defense in the fourth quarter. He scored the winning touchdown, finishing with 124 yards, 62 of them in the fourth. The Colts, never a great team against the run, had their defense on the field for 39 minutes. Curtis Painter was decent, with 2 TD passes to Pierre Garcon, but couldn’t handle blitzes.
He completed only 2 of 11 passes when facing a five man or more rush, sacked four times and also fumbled the ball. The Colts had a decent, promising showing against the Steelers last week as well, but their defense, or any defense, needs to get some rest. The Colts’ offensive line is shaky, the team looks lost (although better these last two weeks) without Peyton Manning, and their off to their worst start since 1998.
From the mouth of Adrian Clayborn – Things were very ugly. We battled through it. It was sloppy. But it’s about whoever comes out with a win, and we did. The rookie defensive end got a sack on Painter in the win. He’s right, but Ugly wins won’t win this division in my opinion. I believe the better team eventually wins, most of the time, and right now, the Bucs don’t look like the best in this division.
Still, a few positives, in the big picture kind of way – First three game winning streak for head coach Raheem Morris, first sold out stadium in a long, long time, top of the NFC West along with the Saints (3-1).
Maybe the best sign? Josh Freeman had his best game of the season. A 94.7 QB rating, throwing for a touchdown and 287 yards and for the first time this season, not getting intercepted. It wasn’t pretty at all times, but that’s kind of us. Whatever the adversity, we continue to play through the fourth quarter and persevere.
I just don’t think that starting slow and hanging around to win in a dramatic photo finish is a strategy that’s going to last and succeed very long. I guess we’ll now a lot more in the next month or so – A game in the West Coast against the suprising 49ers, back home against the Saints, London (Baby!) against the Bears and the Saints again, in New Orleans.
If the Buccanneers remain over .500 (meaning 6-2 or 5-3) after that stretch, I’m on the bandwagon, despite the ill-promising signs that statistics show us. I guess it’s just a matter of interpretation.