2008 Bucs' Schedule: PNG

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bucs Win 27-23!

What a game. So many highs and lows late that I think I might need some prozac now. In any case, the Bucs all but wrapped up the division with this win. The Bucs will have to lose all 4 of their remaining games for anyone else to even have a chance to beat us out. Just one more win, or a lose by the Saints and Panthers, and it's a wrap.

McCown, save a couple of bad plays, was outstanding for most of this game completing 78% of his passes for 313 yards and 2 TD's. The pick was more a miscommunication than a bad play on his part. Two of the sacks, including the one for the safety, were boneheaded plays that he needs to avoid by throwing the ball away. Beyond that, he had a great game, including a clutch throw late to win it, and some outstanding play-action fakes, including one for a TD that fooled the camera man and myself. Graham had another outstanding game, and went for over 100 yard yet again, including an excellent 25 yard TD run. The line was very good today as well, and Galloway just killed the Saints early, finishing with 159 yards on 7 catches.

The defense managed to hold the Saints offense down most of the game but had two bad plays that ended up being TD makers for the Saints. Those two bombs, one for a TD and another that setup a TD, nearly killed an otherwise stellar performance. Jackson needs to get his head on a swivel as that TD bomb should have been better defended. The Bucs held the Saints well under 300 yards of offense, and made Brees look rather pedestrian. The Saints had also only given up 8 sacks coming in. They now have 11 with 5 of those coming from us, as the Bucs defense racked up 3 sacks today. Adams was stellar, getting one sack and forcing Brees up into the arms of Barber, who got a sack. The line managed to harass Brees off and on, and it was just enough to keep him from getting going too often. The defense only allowed 14 points, again, to the explosive Saints offense.

Special teams were excellent on punt and kick coverage, allowing no punt return yardage on two punts, and holding the Saints to just 14.7 yards per kick return. The return units weren't all that hot, but managed to do better on kick returns than punts. Bryant was solid, but missed a makeable 52 yard FG attempt.

Gruden has got to get big kudos for this game. His 4th and 1 call was gutsy, but it paid off. He kept the playbook open for this game, despite having McCown in there, and started the game off by using all types of short and intermediate quick passes to slow the Saints up and get McCown off to a hot start. This is probably one of the best coached games that I have seen Gruden coach. He had this team ready to kick butt, and it did. The defense and special teams did what they needed to do as well, though I think I would have liked to see Monte use a few more blitzes. All in all it was a fun game to watch, and the Bucs have now cemented their spot at the top of the Division. Now can they make a run for the first round Bye? They'll need to win out and hope Green Bay drops a couple of games.


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