Sure, predictions are like opinions, everybody has one. But my look at the Bucs 2009 season might be a little different than most.
Week One-Bucs 24 Dallas 21
Luke McCown celebrates his first season as Bucs starting quarterback by throttling the 'Boys for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns. He runs for another. In the postgame press conference, Raheem Morris declares him starter 'for the foreseeable future.'
The Bucs' defense shuts down Dallas' passing attack, but surrenders 227 yards rushing. Jerry Jones offers Mark Dominik McCown Jessica Simpson for Antonio Bryant.
Four-thousand tasteless headlines are written about the Cowboys 'collapse.'
Week Two-Bucs 17 Bills 14
McCown throws two interceptions and Morris temporarily promotes Josh Freeman to second string, declaring McCown the starter for 'at least the next week.'
The Bucs shut down the Bills offense minus suspended Marshawn Lynch. Terrell Owens asks Ronde Barber his quarterback's name, than berates Trent Edwards on the sideline after a third-down incompletion.
Bucs ticket waiting lists swells back to 100,000.
Week Three-Giants 24 Bucs 21
The Bucs suffer their first loss as Brandon Jacobs runs for 154 yards as the Giants run over the Bucs. In response, Jim Bates moves Jermain Phillips to defensive tackle. 'He's a nice presence in their' Bates says.
McCown is solid in the loss, but is sacked seven times. Jeremy Trueblood surrenders three sacks, but balances it with two personal fouls.
Week Four-Bucs 17 Redskins 14
The Bucs edge the 'Skins in a defensive battle. Kellen Winslow misses his third straight game, but tells reporters he's 'almost completely moved' into his new Tampa town home. 'I'll be ready to go next week' he adds.
Jerramy Stevens catches a touchdown in his absence.
Gaines Adams is sited, and records two sacks. 'First time I've met him,' Bates says.
Raheem Morris Day is declared at Legend's Field by the city of Tampa the same day the Rays beat the Yankees to clinch the AL East.
Week Five Eagles 24 Bucs 17
McCown is declared still the starter 'for at least the next two days' by offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski after the Bucs passing game nets 157 yards.
Winslow catches six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in his first action of the season.
Seventy-five Philadelphia newspapers declare the game 'payback' for 2002 NFC championship game loss, 2003 loss in the first game at Lincoln Financial Field and the Lightning's Stanley Cup.
Week Six Carolina 28 Bucs 23
The Bucs lose their third of the last four games, allowing DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to combine for 199 yards. 'That's a lot better than last season' Bates comments.
Earnest Graham and Derrick Ward combine for 150 yards, and McCown is effective with 225 yards. Matt Bryant kicks two 50 yard field goals, but the Bucs work out six kickers the following Monday.
Week Seven Patriots 37 Bucs 16
The Bucs drop to 3-4 as McCown is benched in the second quarter after his second interception. Morris declares third stringer Byron Leftwich the starter 'at least the next 72 hours.'
Tom Brady throws three touchdowns and is pulled in the third quarter. Elbert Mack surrenders all three. Jermain Phillips is moved to cornerback.
Season ticket list down to 14,000.
Week Eight Bucs 21 Packers 20
The Bucs pull out the win as Ronde Barber returns an Aaron Rodgers pick 87 yards for a touchdown. The return takes 23 seconds. 'I was never really very fast' Barber states.
Josh Freeman goes 13 for 27 for 123 yards in his first start.
Fellow Buc rookies Kyle Moore and Roy Miller are promoted to the starting lineup. Ryan Grant is held to 54 yards and the Bucs get four sacks, two more by Adams.
Week Nine Dolphins 19 Bucs 9
Freeman throws four picks. 'He's learning' Morris says. Bucs hold Miami to 234 yards of offense, but Miami has the ball for 43:17. Bill Parcells calls the game 'beautiful.'
Season tickets are now available for all fans, Joel Glazer announces following the game.
McCown is among 12 Buccaneer cuts, as Glazer announces the Bucs will play with 41 players for the rest of the season. 'This has nothing to do with Manchester United, or money' Glazer says.
Week 10-Saints 27 Bucs 14
Freeman throws for 254 yards, but Drew Brees adds 354 yards and four touchdowns.
Josh Bidwell is forced to play fullback after BJ Askew is injured, as Jameel Cook and John Gilmore were among the 12 released the previous week.
Kellen Winslow and Jeremy Shockey delay the game by 20 minutes after the coin flip turns into an argument over who's the best tight end in the NFL.
Week 11-Falcons 27 Bucs 17
Matt Ryan throws for 154 yards and two touchdowns to Tony Gonzalez. Michael Turner runs for 123. The Bucs lose their third straight to drop to 4-7. Freeman throws his first touchdown late in the game to Michael Clayton, who refuses to surrender the touchdown ball to the rookie quarterback. Arthur Blank reminds the Bucs Mike Vick is still available.
Week 12-Panthers 23 Bucs 16
Carolina runs for 152 yards in the rematch. 'We're getting better. See' Bates says.
Freeman throws for 285 yards, but two interceptions near the goal line cost the Bucs.
Sports radio is filled with rumors of Tony Dungy's imminent return to the Bucs. 'It will happen right after the team is sold,' 620 WDAE's Steve Duemig says.
Week 14 Bucs 27 Jets 23
The Bucs break out against the Jets. Freeman outshines Mark Sanchez, throwing for 223 yards and one touchdown. Sanchez is knocked out of the game by Chris Hovan in the third quarter after two picks.
The game is not covered by Channel 8 or the Tampa Tribune, which have both laid off their entire sports departments. Classified writers and meteorologists will be used in their places the following week. 'Interesting,' Brian Glazer comments.
Week 15 Seahawks 17 Bucs 16
Matt Hasselbeck guides the Seahawks on a 43-yard touchdown drive in the last 1:43 to pull out the Seahawks win. Ed Glazer announces the last Buc home game will be 'open to the public' on a first-come, first-serve basis.
There will be no ushers, concessions, first aid, parking attendants or security.'Nothing to do with budget' Glazer says. 'We're just trying to shake things up and think of something outside of the box.'
Week 16-Saints 21 Bucs 7
With injuries mounting, 33 Buccaneers mount a noble effort against the Saints.
Earnest Graham rushes for 123 yards and makes 17 tackles filling in for an injured Barrett Ruud.
Unfortunately, Drew Brees burns the Bucs again. Shockey catches three pasess for 44 yards, one better than Winslow's three for 43. 'I think it's clear now' Shockey says.
Week 17-Falcons 12 Bucs 9
In the final game of the season, the Falcons outlast the Bucs. The score is kept low as fans aid the Bucs defense by manning defensive positions. At one point, a mixed bag of players and fans account for 143 players on the field for the Bucs defense.
'I'd never seen that defense' Matt Ryan comments.'The flaming torches being thrown down from the south end zone and the upper deck made things difficult.' Derrick Brooks joins the fans on the field and records his last tackle as Buccaneer in the fourth quarter.
The Bucs finish the season 5-11. Mark Dominik announces the Bucs are $74 million under the newly negotiated salary cap for 2010. 'We're gonna be real busy this offseason' he says.
The Bucs are not sold, but the Glazers announce the Bucs practice fields and facility can be rented for children's parties and barbecues.
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