Can we call it a streak yet?
Yeah. Let’s not get crazy.
Bucs 41 – Falcons 28
Okay, it was the Falcons, who came into yesterday’s game at 2-7 and in the grips of their own flavor of death spiral, so it’s hard to get too excited about a Bucs victory.
But I’m gonna do it, anyway, because a win is a win, baby! And it’s even sweeter when it’s against a division rival. So, I’ll take it.
Among the game’s several highlights was a defensive effort in the classic Tampa Bay mold: aggressive and opportunistic, harassing Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan all day while collecting three sacks and three turnovers on the day, including one interception returned for a touchdown.
On offense, running back Bobby Rainey, brought in off the waiver wire to substitute for injured starter Doug Martins and Mike James, has been a key component of the Bucs getting their first two wins of the season. He was dialed in yesterday, running for more than 160 yards and scoring two TDs, and added a third score off a pass from quarterback Mike Glennon.
Of course, the Bucs had to test my cardiac health before securing the win, as I kept watching the Falcons climbing back into the mix as the game wore on. Even with less than four minutes to go in regulation and with Tampa ahead by two touchdowns, I kept thinking, “If there’s any way to screw this up, the Bucs will find it.”
Damn me, for my lack of faith.
We can dwell on the fact that the Bucs played an opponent that’s suffering its own set of problems, but what’s worth mentioning is that Tampa is finally displaying the potential they’ve shown on paper since week 1. Remember, this is a team who coughed up three losses within the games’ final minute, and then there was that heartbreaking overtime loss to Seattle a few weeks back. I’ve believed the Bucs were better than they’d been showing us all along, and while it’s almost certainly going to end up coming too late to salvage anything resembling playoff hopes for this season (barring something unusual, like the rest of the division suddenly being sucked into a black hole), it’s nice to see the team coming together and showing us what they’ve got.
Note to the training staff: Somebody get a real name plate for Bobby Rainey’s locker. That chicken scratch on masking tape isn’t cutting it, anymore.
The Bucs second straight win pulls them to 2-8, tied with the Atlanta Falcons but just barely hovering above the division cellar. Elsewhere in the NFC South, Carolina is on fire at 6-3 and enjoying a five-game winning streak, and New Orleans still sits atop the pile at 8-2. Next up? Tampa sails to the Motor City to take on the Detroit Lions, who got beat yesterday and will be on the hunt in a bid to hold on to their division lead in the NFC North.
Should make for an “interesting” game.