Tampa Bay Buccaneers Deliver a Gift-Wrapped BlowoutDecember 27, 2010
Raheem Morris gift-wrapped it.
Josh Freeman delivered it.
What transpired on Sunday evening on the chilled and windy tundra at Raymond James Stadium was the blowout that all of Tampa has been waiting for.
Freeman was fantastic.
Blount was brutal.
Williams and Winslow were wonderful.
And the defense was finally, well, defensive.
Add up all those holiday ingredients and that magnificent 38-15 blowout of the senseless Seattle Seahawks was the ultimate day-after-Christmas present for Tampa Bay followers everywhere.
It just couldn't get better than what transpired for mostly three quarters.
Yes, the Bucs started out as if they were trying to pee into that 30-mile-per-hour wind, but they wised-up and got rolling, and did they ever roll!
Freeman found MIke Williams twice, Kellen Winslow Jr. twice, then even gave Maurice Stovall his Christmas gift and it all added up to a franchise-record-tying five touchdown passes, giving the big guy 23 for the season.
LeGarrette Blount, you know, 24-carat LeGarrette, ran over and around the silly Seahawks then finally lept OVER the unsuspecting Lawyer Malloy with a 49-yard gem of an effort, just one of his highlights on a day that gave him that eye-opening 164 yards. There is no truth to the rumor that when Blount went airborne over Malloy, he registered on the Tampa International Airport's radar.
WInslow had a monster game, and the sweet thing about all of this is basically everyone helped.
What it all accomplished is that the Bucs have themselves a winning season, 9-7 at the worst, and with an effort like this, a shot at 10-6 next week in New Orleans.
The playoff pulse still beats, albeit out of the Bucs' control. Good things will have to happen next week.
"We had to win, we got that done," Freeman said, humbly. As for the five touchdown passes. "Nothing," is what Freeman said it meant to him. "Right now, I'm just worried about making the playoffs."
And isn't that what you would want to hear from the man who led the team so magnificently through those chilly, blustery conditions?
"He's clutch," Morris said of his young quarterback, who was 21-for-26 and mustered a quarterback rating of 144. "He's playing phenomenal football right now," Raheem added.
It's hard to imagine anything bad after all the good that went on in this wipeout of a team that can still win the worthless NFC West.
But there was Rejus Benn on the sidelines, on crutches, with a left knee injury that appeared serious.
Earnest Graham had his bell rung and he's probably gone for next week.
No doubt Benn is most likely done as well.
But the Bucs did not miss a beat, even with those two valuable cogs in the wheel eliminated.
The dream to 10 remains alive, but then there's New Orleans standing in the way.
And Green Bay will have control of its destiny.
It is certainly not the end of the world if this Buccaneer team goes 9-7 and misses the playoffs.
It's just the beginning.