The Buccaneers started the 2012 season and Greg Schiano’s career off with a win against the Carolina Panthers. In Ronde Barber’s 200th consecutive start, the Bucs defense was reminiscent of the squad that Ronde was a part of earlier in his career. It was a very impressive one-sided affair, regardless of the final score, and one that the Buccaneers will build confidence off of.
The game was blacked-out, even with the new blackout rule that the Bucs adopted where it only requires 85% of the stadium to be full. Although the stadium was not at full capacity, the Ray Jay was rocking. The Bucs fans were loud and made it a tough environment for the Panthers; almost a week after Schiano’s plea for fan support.
The Buccaneers were able to use this added energy to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Which allowed the Buccaneers to control most of the game with having possession of the ball for 37:27 compared to the 22:33 for the Panthers.
The porous rush defense from last year was no longer there as the Bucs defense was a dominant as they come, only allowing 10 total rushing yards from one of the best ground attacks in the NFL over the past 5 years.
The defense were also able to put a lot of pressure on Cam Newton as he was sacked three times and hit numerous times that I lost count. The pressure led to Newton not having time to make the best decisions, throwing two interceptions; one to Ronde Barber and the other to Ahmad Black.
One of my favorite parts of the game was when Steve Smith had a nice catch and run but then he got the chance of meeting the rookie safety Mark Barron, who absolutely lit him up. The fans loved it, even though it was a big gain for the Panthers. Barron also had a nice pass breakup, where he extended his whole body to stop a huge pass that could have resulted in a touchdown had he missed the ball.
The offense controlled the game with the ground attack, rushing the ball 26 times to Freeman’s 24 passes. Rookie Doug Martin led the rushing attack with 24 carries for 95 yards but was unfortunately unable to reach the end zone at the one-yard line in one situation. Martin also had an acrobatic catch early in the game.
Freeman started the game off with eight consecutive completions and looked great from the start. He used his new weapons, Vincent Jackson and Dallas Clark, as the Bucs looked way better than last year while passing the ball. Even though Freeman only had 138 passing yards, he still had a great game and didn’t turn the ball over.
The future is bright for the Buccaneers as they showed in week one that they want to dominate all assets of the game. Schiano had his troops ready so lets give him credit and see if he can keep this Buccaneer attitude going throughout the whole season.
About the Author
Written by Andrew Chibani
Sports control my life. I am a recent Sports Management graduate from University of Tampa and an alumni of Jesuit High School here in Tampa.