In the 30 year plus history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers there have been plenty of disappointing seasons… as of the first half of the Sunday’s game against the Vikings, this was shaping up to be the most disappointing. Never have I gone into a season with such high expectations. Never had the team gone into the season with the collection of offensive talent and defensive potential…
But at half-time Tampa was down 17-0 and it probably should have been more. The Bucs were once again inept on both sides of the ball. No pressure on Donovan McNabb, missed tackles on defense. No run game, no blocking on offense. It was as bad as it could be.
Then it all changed.
The second half of the game saw the Buccaneers team we were all hoping for. Suddenly, McNabb is under pressure. Adrian Peterson is getting hit and stopped. The defense came alive and forces a 3 and out.
Then the offense takes over! Freeman has time (Donald Penn shutdown Jared Allen in the 2nd half) and the offensive line is opening up holes. LeGarrette Blount (who had just 4 first half yards) breaks off a 27 yard TD. A successful on-side kick (even if the drive ended in a pick). Defense comes in and gets it right back!
Another drive, another score. Suddenly it’s 17-10 and Tampa’s in this thing. (By the way, Mike Williams might have the best hands/feet combo in the league. The TD catch that didn’t count was as good as you’ll see and even topped last week’s amazing grab.)
The most impressive part of the game is even when Minnesota drove down for a field goal, Tampa didn’t give up… they just go better!
Josh Freeman goes into Captain Comeback zone. Big pass to Dezmon Briscoe, plus 15-yard personal foul. Next huge TD to Arrelious Benn.
Defense forces Minnesota off the field again (helped that McNabb just got worse and worse as this game went on).
Freeman back on the field and at this point Bucs fans knew we were winning this game.
Freeman to Winslow. Freeman to Parker. Freeman to Graham. Freeman to Winslow again. Suddenly there’s 31 seconds left in the game and Tampa is on 4 yard line. TOUCHDOWN BLOUNT!!!!
Freeman has 14 wins to his name as a starter, 8 of them involve a 4th-quarter comeback. While that sounds great, it does mean Tampa finds itself losing in the 4th quarter quite often. This team was awful for the first half, and great in the second. The defense gave up just 3 points in the second half and didn’t let the Vikings convert a 3rd down.
This could have saved the season for Tampa… but the Bucs have no shot if they can’t play well in both halves. Next week the Falcons come to town, and this is the chance for Tampa to announce to the rest of the league they are here to play.
About the Author
Written by Justin Chechourka
Born and raised in California, I inexplicably became a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. Now I bleed red and pewter. The best part of being a Bucs fan in California... I never have to worry about blackouts.