The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-0. It’s not too often you can say that, the last time the Bucs won a season opener was in 2005 when they defeated the Vikings in Minnesota, 24-13 in Cadillac Williams’ first career NFL game. Here’s a suprising stat, Sunday’s 17-14 win over the Cleveland Browns was the first time the Buccaneers have EVER won a season opener at Raymond James Stadium, they were previously 0-4 in Week 1 matchups in the New Sombrero. The Bucs’ victory wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win, especially for a team that needed eight games to get one last season. Here is some thoughts from the win.
-E.J. Biggers looked outstanding in his first NFL game. The 2009 7th-round pick out of Eastern Michigan was put on IR his entire rookie season, after beating out Elbert Mack and Myron Lewis for the nickel back job he got a shot to start opening day with Aqib Talib’s suspension. Not only did he get a crucial fourth quarter pick off Jake Delhomme, but he was great in coverage all day long.
-Geno Hayes is a complete STUD. It’s a joke he fell all the way to the 6th round, the guy has outstanding speed and is flying around the field all the time.
-Gerald McCoy was impressive in his NFL debut, he recorded three tackles and one forced fumble. He nearly had a sack, but as he was bringing Jake Delhomme down, Delhomme was able to get the ball away to a RB. His presence in the middle was a big reason why the Bucs’ defense was so stout in the second half.
-Not a great stat day, but rookie WR Mike Williams made his presence felt. He had an outstanding touchdown grab, and was beating Browns defenders deep several times.
-The Bucs have been one of the better special teams units of the last few years. But they did an outstanding job on Josh Cribbs, he never had a shot to break anything all day.
-The Bucs’ running game struggled mightily. Even though they racked up 119 yards, 33 of them were on a Josh Freeman scramble. Cadillac Williams only managed 75 yards on 22 carries, Earnest Graham had 10 yards on 6 carries with a fumble. Kareem Huggins was never involved.
-The Bucs had some struggles defending the run again. Peyton Hillis gashed our defense, and Jerome Harrison had one big play. The good news is, the Bucs didn’t get gashed right up the middle. But they struggled with the run to the outside, but it did look better than last year at least.
-Greg Olson is still a horrible OC. His play calling sucked, and we had no offense all day. Thankfully our defense played great and we got just enough to win.
Interesting stat of the game. In the shotgun, Josh Freeman was 10 for 12 with 109 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 144.1, under center Freeman was 7 of 16 for 73 yards and a pick with a 31.5 QB rating. My guess is, with his thumb injured Freeman felt a lot more comfortable in the shotgun. Hopefully with a healthy thumb, he can play like that no matter what.
Next up for the Buccaneers, the Carolina Panthers. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have had Tampa Bay’s number as of late, but the Bucs will look to change that pattern and go 2-0. __________________
By Milla4Prez66: Jabberhead & SJ Contributing Author
Join in the discussion on this and other topics in the NEW Sports Jabber Forums!