Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense Reminds Us Once Again What Greatness Looks Like

J.J. RodriguezContributor IISeptember 10, 2012

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 09:  Linebacker Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackles quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

I bet you weren't expecting that, were you?

I'm not only talking to Bucs fans but also to the bumpkins in Carolina, the socialites of Atlanta and the how-dare-you-punish-our-dirty-players people of New Orleans.

Yeah, it feels good to wake up on a Monday morning without the feeling of dread and disappointment. It sure is easier to start your day when your team has ended the previous one with a victory.

No offense, Panthers and Saints fans.

Boy, oh boy, it seems like forever since a Monday morning wasn't filled with flashbacks of blown assignments and missed tackles.

Where our thoughts from Sunday take us back to Steve Smith rowing a boat in our end zone or Cam Newton leaving footprints on our backs. Of Drew Brees aerial assaults and Michael Turner touchdown scampers. Where questions often went unanswered and statements were seldom made.

You know, where the Bucs looked like the Yucs. 

But not today, Bucs fans!

This morning, as fans around the NFL try to make sense of what happened yesterday, take pride that your team is one of 14 that has started its season off with a win.

Be proud of beating a tough division rival and doing so while only scoring 16 points.

Oh, and be proud of this defense.

It played fast. It played mean. And if you looked close enough, you could even see it play fiddle on DeAngelo Williams' back.

It harassed Cam Newton to the tune of countless pressures and knockdowns to go along with its three sacks and two interceptions.

Come to think of it, are we sure Warren Sapp wasn't wearing No. 93 yesterday?

Because Gerald McCoy, the subject of much criticism and scorn from Bucs fans, took the Carolina offensive line to school. He punched through and into the backfield with relative frequency yesterday, disrupting the Carolina offense all afternoon.

Remember when I suggested McCoy would be the Tampa Bay defensive MVP this season and many of you chuckled? It's games and results like this one that I envisioned for him.

Adrian Clayborn, Michael Bennett and even Roy Miller all contributed to the assault on Carolina's offense.

And don't forget the linebackers. Rookie Lavonte David was a ball hawk, tallying six tackles. Mason Foster held his own. Heck, even Quincy Black, another object of scrutiny around here, played a better-than-expected game.

Mark Barron delivered two big hits downfield, while Father Time himself Ronde Barber continued to defy time, racking up five tackles, an interception and a sack in his 200th-consecutive start.

Yeah, Monday doesn't feel so Monday-like today. There's a pep in our step and a swagger in our dagger that we haven't felt in a long time.

It's a long season, sure, I get that. But, let us enjoy this one for the rest of the week. Let us take in the sights from somewhere other than the bottom.

Better yet, let us remember what greatness feels like.

It wears pewter and goes by the name "Defense."

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