Tampa Bay Bucs Squeak Out a Win in Week One
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Josh Freeman took the reigns, led the Bucs to victory, and proved everyone wrong.
His thumb, which was injured during preseason, was not an issue. He completed 17 out of 28 passes, threw for 182 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and ran for 34 yards, one play where he scrambled for 33 yards.
Cadillac Williams's 75 yards on 22 carries showed why he is the primary back.
Although Michael Spurlock was more efficient with 2 receptions for a total of 49 yards and a 33 yard touchdown reception, Mike Williams was more impressive after catching a tipped pass for a touchdown and tapping his toes to stay inbounds.
Williams, who was targeted ten times on Sunday, should be in the conversation for offensive rookie of the year by the end of the season.
Poor coverage by Tampa's defensive backs allowed Mohamed Massaquoi to trot into the end zone with a 41 yard reception late in the first quarter. The Bucs defense failed to sack Delhomme but did come up with two picks. Ronde Barber almost had a pick six but he ran out of gas by the time he reached the 3 yard line; setting up the Mike Williams touchdown.
The other interception was E.J. Biggers's first career interception.
The Bucs were moving well down the field after that play until fullback Earnest Graham went up the middle at the two-yard line and fumbled, the Browns recovered the ball. Luckily, the Browns did not proceed much on that drive and failed to get the first down after a false start penalty on 4th and 4.
The Browns sacked Freeman three times which should be a surprise except that Cleveland ranked eighth in sacks last season.
Bucs seventh-year linebacker Niko Koutouvides was penalized on one of Michael Spurlock's kick returns for blocking in the back, thus negating Spurlock's 55 yard return and the ball was spotted at Tampa Bay 21 yard line instead of in Cleveland's territory at the 44 yard line.
In the past, Tampa has often found itself losing its lead in the fourth quarter by not finishing games properly. Hopefully, that will change. So even with all of the opportunities that Tampa gave Cleveland, the Bucs still got the W and are 1-0 this season.
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