For anyone who might’ve been waiting for me to post this, I apologize. I’m in the midst of setting up my new laptop and transferring files/etc. over from two older boxes, and there also was some quick writing work with deadlines to address over the weekend. Also? It took me some extra time to wrap my head around the fact that the Bucs won. Holy shit, the Bucs won, because holy shit!
:: Ahem ::
Bucs 27 – Steelers 24
I have to admit I didn’t see this one coming. Even though the Steelers have been struggling lately, and even with the Bucs still smarting from the ass-hammering Atlanta gave them over a week ago and looking or a chance to redeem themselves, I figured Pittsburgh would at least be able to muster up enough…whatever…to keep Tampa at bay (see what I did there?).
I’m perfectly content to be wrong.
It wasn’t the most spectacular win in franchise history, but the Bucs did plenty of things right, and capitalized on the very long list of things the Steelers did wrong, to pull out a win late…very late…in the game. As Pittsburgh seemed bound and determined to invent ever new and better ways to trip themselves up, a very hungry Bucs defense seized several opportunities to quash Steeler scoring drives and generally harass quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who got slammed with five–count ’em, five–sacks on the day. Tampa also recovered Pittsburgh fumble and basically did just about everything you could ask to keep the game within reach and hand their offense numerous opportunities to put it away.
Tampa quarterback Mike Glennon–who I don’t think gets the credit he deserves for maintaining his poise and a level head even when he’s handed every flavor of shit sandwich the Bucs can offer–rallied the offense not once but twice to notch come-from-behind scores, including the go-ahead touchdown with just five seconds left in regulation. Elsewhere on offense, it was nice to see running back Doug Martin back in the lineup. He’s one of those guys I think can really do good things for the Bucs, if all of the other pieces can be fitted together the right way.
It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, of course. Penalties are once again an item of note in the early going this season, something that was a major concern at this point last year. Most of them were of the “You should damned-well know better” variety, and they at least were mitigated somewhat by the fact that Pittsburgh seemed hell-bent on outclassing the Bucs in that statistic, as well.
An ugly win is still a win, and in Tampa’s case a sorely needed victory. They improve their record to 1-3, tying them with New Orleans for last place in the NFC South Division. The Bucs play those same Saints this coming Sunday, so a win there is critical as we enter the season’s second quarter. As for the rest of the division, leader Carolina was handed their second consecutive loss thanks to Baltimore, and Atlanta got spanked by Minnesota. Both the Panthers and the Falcons face opponents next week who can hand them losses, so there’s a distinct possibility of the division seeing some reshuffling and things getting even more tight and contested in the finest NFC South tradition.
All Tampa has to do is its part, right?
It’s a Bucs life, yo.