Josh Freeman

Bucs Sweep The Panthers

November 20, 2012 at 01:22pm by Scott   •  9 Comments »

panthers20122

I’ve been waiting years to write that headline.

At about the beginning of the fourth quarter, I was pretty sure the Panthers game was going to be one of those that we all expected the Bucs to drop because they’re still not a great team yet and I was all prepared to console everyone and let them know that they’re still ahead of where we thought they’d be and winning three in a row is a great accomplishment and verbally stroking everyone so they don’t drown themselves in turkey gravy this week.

And then the last five minutes happened.

I think we all have to accept the fact that Josh Freeman is inconsistent throughout a game. But he’s consistently inconsistent. He will start off well, have a shitty middle of the game, and then end clutch. That’s exactly what happened on Sunday. His middle was about as shitty as he’s been all season and his end was absolutely brilliant. Both his passes to Vincent Jackson to tie the game were spectacular, but his play-action fake to Doug Martin on the two-point conversion to suck Luke Kuechly up was a thing of beauty. Something just clicks in Freeman when the game is on the line as the clock is ticking down. His passes become crisper, his decision making becomes better and he is obviously more confident in what he’s doing.

And as Freeman goes, so goes the offense. I’m not going to split up the offensive positions in this write-up because they’ll all look the same. Good, bad, great. The only player I’ll say was better than that was Jackson, who is quickly becoming the best free agent acquisition in Bucs history. That may not seem like a great compliment, but the Bucs have had some great producers out of free agency. Hardy Nickerson, Simeon Rice, Brad Johnson… Jackson is on the path to be better than all of them. I thought he was overrated in San Diego and probably not worth what the Bucs were paying him. I was dead wrong.

The Bucs’ defense had ten tackles for loss. Ten. That’s an incredible number. The both stuffed the run and got to the Cam Newton enough to keep him off balance for most of the game. Da’Quan Bowers re-asserted himself with a ten yard sack and Michael Bennett got another one. And Daniel Te’o-Nesheim recorded seven tackles. I really have no complaints at all about the defensive line this week.

Same thing with the linebackers. Lavonte David, awesome. Just copy and paste from the rest of the season.

I’m not sure what to think of Mark Barron. All the scouting reports talked about his inability to cover, but his 12 career interceptions at Alabama made me think they were just looking for something to bitch about since no player can be perfect. But his coverage against the Panthers was actually a liability. He gave up some big plays and gave up a PI call (which was a bullshit call, but he has to turn around and at least pretend to look for the ball if he’s going to avoid it). He missed a couple tackles as well, which was unheard of to this point. It was just a bad game and I’m not going to worry, but the guy is human. Let’s hope this was the bottom and that he’s due to get his second wind now.

Also note that there were no interceptions at all on Sunday. Against Cam Newton. It was a better game than the secondary has had recently, but still not all that strong. The secondary is still the weak spot of this defense.

But holy shit, they’re finding ways to win. I don’t want to focus on the negative here because it’s not important right now. I had just expected to lose this game when it got down close to the end because it seemed like they were due and I had no right to expect anything else. But this game showed me that this team is never really out of it. Could it be that we’ve crossed the threshold, going from a team that you expect to lose to a team you expect to win? They’re 6-4 now. They’re at the point where they can sniff the playoffs (they still don’t control their own destiny, but they’re on the verge). The teams that they have to play aren’t unbeatable and some of them should even be gimmes. Wow, it really does feel like a new day in Tampa Bay.

9 Comments to “Bucs Sweep The Panthers”

manbearpig

manbearpig (November 20, 2012 at 01:38pm:

Unbelievable ending and an awesome clicky! I thought for sure the game was over. After they tied it with the 2 point conversion I sat in my chair completely still and silent. I couldn’t believe what I just saw. After the initial shock I screamed like a 12 year old girl at a Beiber concert. Not my finest moment but damn that was awesome. I can’t wait for the game against the falcons. I never thought my confidence would come back with this team, but now I find myself totally cool and collected if they go down by a score because I have confidence in this offense. (Never thought I would say that) awesome game! If they beat the falcons in front of the home crowd it would be absolutely huge for this team. Everyone have a great thanksgiving! Do work Bucs!!

TheBrainStem

TheBrainStem (November 20, 2012 at 03:34pm:

I love me a ginger!

BaldBuc4055

BaldBuc4055 (November 20, 2012 at 03:40pm:

That wasn’t their most impressive win. But it was the most important win so far this year. Down by 11, on the road against a division rival, patchwork O-line, and they come back and win it. Amazing comeback! For once, my work schedule worked out to where I have this Sunday off. The first thing I did when I found out? Bought two tickets for the Bucs/Falcons game this Sunday. I am so psyched up for that game!!!!

HAGEN205

HAGEN205 (November 20, 2012 at 04:19pm:

that game was great and i live in north dakota and the buffalo wild wings here is always full with bucs fans it was a great and loud ending to that game but im worried about the next 2 game if we can get 1-1 through those game i think we are playoff bound beacuse i truly think we will beat the saints next time

Mark S

Mark S (November 20, 2012 at 04:48pm:

Yes it was a great game and a great win. What impressed me was that the Bucs OL was getting manhandled. Freeman was getting pressured, getting and getting sacked. The run game was 2 yards and a cloud of dust. Then all of a sudden, they reared up and took control. If the last 6 minutes had been the first 54 minutes the game would have been a blow out. They went from being dominated to being dominant. Given that the Panthers are not playing well this year, but still for a team this young to be able to summon the courage and belief to turn it around is just awesome. This may not rank as one of their best wins, but I am hoping it is a pivotal one. Beat the Falcons guys and it says you are unbelievably adhead of schedule. By the way, I don’t believe they will beat the Falcons. That secondary should get chewed up by Ryan. Who knows, though, maybe Schiano has some tricks up his sleeve. This would be a great time for them. One thing I do know is that I am not counting them out. Even if Ryan chews up the secondary, our offense has the capabiity of keeping up. It will probably come down to who has the ball last.

dwtalso

dwtalso (November 20, 2012 at 05:40pm:

Doug Martin was robbed. That is all.

manbearpig

manbearpig (November 20, 2012 at 05:56pm:

True story. That was a touchdown

rudyg111

rudyg111 (November 20, 2012 at 06:45pm:

I Agree with dwtalso…I thought the rule was that depending on the spot, if any part of the Football is on or crosses the line it’s an Automatic TD! I guess those rules don’t apply in Favor of the Bucs..Kinda Like a few years Back When Winslow’s catch for a TD wasn’t Counted as a TD then Later Bucs were Offered an apology because it was in fact a TD…

Mark S

Mark S (November 20, 2012 at 08:34pm:

I agree too. That was way to obvious and yet another mysterious call against the Bucs in replay. That’s a statistic I would like to have. Honestly, I think Schiano rubs the NFL the wrong way. I would not be surprised that there is a lot of animus out there. The kind that wants to teach the new kid on the block a lesson. Not a conspiracy because there is no overt agreement or discussion. Just an unvoiced general opinion and a tendency to want to make things hard for him.

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