Well, if delaying a game ten weeks means you stand a better chance of winning it, then I say do that for all of Tampa’s games.
Bucs 30 – Dolphins 20
This intrastate matchup was supposed to happen way back during Week 1 of the season, but Hurricane Irma saw to it that Florida residents had far greater concerns than a silly football game that weekend. As both teams originally were scheduled for a bye during Week 11, it provided an opening to reschedule the game.
And so it went yesterday.
Like last week, the Bucs were able to win in somewhat haphazard fashion. Unlike last week, the at times seemed incapable of getting out of their own way while allowing the Dolphins to linger despite Miami’s own error and penalty-riddled performance. They came within spitting distance of letting the game get away from them, leading just 23-20 with 4 seconds remaining in regulation after a Tampa field goal.
Weird things have been known to happen to the Bucs during the waning moments of many a game, so you’ll forgive me for not quite believing they had this one locked up until that last whistle blows. The kickoff to the Dolphins turned into one of those crazy, desperate lateral-fests until Miami’s Jakeem Grant fumbled the ball at the 3-yard line. Tampa’s Adarius Glanton recovered it in the Dolphin’s end zone, earning him a touchdown and sealing the deal for the Bucs.
And that’s when I decided the game was over.
Speaking of heads-up defense, the Bucs D was on it, yesterday. They picked off Miami quarterback Jay Cutler three times, to the point that Cutler was pulled in favor of backup Matt Moore. However, they did allow the Dolphins to hang around way, way too long, given the pressure they were able to bring. Meanwhile, the Bucs offense, once more guided by #2 QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, sputtered and stalled several times while still managing to put 23 points on the board. Hey, it was enough to win. I’ll take it.
The win improves Tampa’s record to 4-6 on the year. Unfortunately, both New Orleans and Atlanta also won, so the Bucs don’t move up anywhere in the NFC South Division standings. Carolina was on its own bye week, but they’re still three games ahead of Tampa, with six games to go this season.
Next up? The Bucs travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. A win against a division rival is….what do they call it at this juncture? Yeah, “critical.” Even then, unless the Saints, Panthers, and Falcons all get lost heading to their next few games, I don’t see the Bucs going to the playoffs unless they get on the phone to StubHub.
Bucs life, yo.