BREAKING: Tampa Bay Buccaneers petition NFL to shorten games to 59 minutes.
Saints 16 – Bucs 14
For the second straight week, the Tampa Buccaneers allowed victory to slip through their fingers within the final minute of regulation. However, to simply go with the notion that they lost the game in those last sixty seconds is disingenuous, to say the least.
First, the good stuff: The Bucs defense. Holy crap, did these guys give it a supreme effort. Despite a sputtering offense, the Tampa D mostly held Drew Brees and the Saints in check throughout the game. They even managed a score of their own thanks to Bucs linebacker Mason Foster, who intercepted Brees and took it 85 yards the other way for a touchdown. This game was not lost by the Bucs defense. No way.
That said, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Costly penalties again were the order of the day. Ten of them this time around, giving up more than 100 yards to the Saints and keeping alive drives which the Bucs had shut down. Then there’s stupid crap like “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” Who the fuck still gets called for that who’s not playing in a Pop Warner league?
Despite such things, I’ll reiterate the good: the Bucs defense did their job and held it close enough all game long for the Tampa offense to get control of the thing and find a gear. A goal line stand late in the second quarter thwarted the Saints’ hopes of widening their lead before halftime, and the rest of the day they just kept after Drew Brees, notching four sacks for the stats book along with the aforementioned pick-six as well as another interception just to add some flavor.
Which brings us to the Tampa offense. There was some good there, too, like 150+ rushing yards, most of that thanks to running back Doug Martin, who continues to be a bright spot on the Bucs’ roster. Quarterback Josh Freeman isn’t having much fun, though, going just 9 pass completions on 22 attempts, and an interception. He also fumbled away the ball at one point, though based on the offense’s performance that likely had little impact, save perhaps to prevent Michael Koenen from reaching 300 punting yards on the day.
And yet, despite all of this, the Bucs had this game. Had it in their damned pocket with less than a minute to go. Again. And then….well, I’m still searching for replay video to see where exactly the brain fart occurred. I’ll let you know.
Long story short? Bucs are 0-2, and they really have no real reason not to be 2-0. It’s enough to make a grown-assed man cry.
The loss means that New Orleans now sits atop the NFC South at 2-0. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons beat St. Louis to improve to 1-1, and Carolina lost a heartbreaker to the Buffalo Bills, leaving the Panthers and the Bucs to fight it out at the bottom of the division standings. Tampa travels to New England next week to play the Patriots, who seem to have that whole “winning thing” down pretty good. Still, the Pats’ first two wins were pretty close ones, so I suppose the Bucs shouldn’t be counted out so fast.
Yeah. I’ll just keep telling myself that.