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Bucs Beat Pats 27-10 in Preseason Action

The Buccaneers surprised many people when they handily beat the New England Patriots by the score of 27 to 10. From the beginning Brian Griese and the Bucs made a statement that they are not to be slept on. Tampa opened the game with a 17-play, 9 minute and 38 second drive that ended with Ernest Graham stuffing it into the endzone on a 1-yard touchdown run. During that drive Griese complete 8 consecutive passes while Graham and Warrick Dunn shared the workload of the running game. None of the plays yielded a loss of yardage

The defense did its part as well. Swarm tackling seemed to be the theme of the night. There were multiple Buccaneers on every single tackle made. At times there were late hits around the tackle and people jumping on the pile (they were lucky that no one got penalized). The defensive line caused fits for Matt Cassel (starting in place of Tom Brady who didn’t make the trip to Tampa nursing a sore ankle). They were so effective at rushing the quarterback that Bill Belichek was reduced to calling screens and short passes to build the confidence of Brady’s backup. Because of the penetration this proved to be a worthwhile strategy with Wes Welker catching three passes in a row and legging out a few yards after each catch. This didn’t do much to Tampa Bay’s defense. Of the 10 Patriot possessions half of them ended with in 3-and-outs, while three more ended in turnovers (2 fumbles recovered by TB and one interception).

The Bucs displayed high quality special teams. Punt coverage was great. Josh Bidwell punted the ball 5 times and the coverage allowed only 30 total return yards. Kickoff coverage was equally tenacious. Not once did the Patriots threaten to take a kickoff to the house.

With Jeff Garcia not taking a preseason snap the coaches are getting a good look at Brian Griese and Luke McCown. Judging by tonight, Griese should have the upper hand. McCown seemed to be a bit rattled early in his outing. His pocket presence was a little off and he held on to the ball for slightly too long. This forced him to deliver rushed throws and he tried to over compensate with too much touch or too much air. Luke had a good look at the endzone, but he gave the defenders an extra second to catch up which caused him to slightly over throw tight end, Jerramy Stevens. The Bucs had to settle for a Matt Bryant field goal.

After a while, however, McCown got his bearings and played like the coaches wanted him too. He still did not out play Griese who displayed a mastery of the offense by being on beat with every pass, run and end around play. Brian even audibled at multiple times and they all went for positive yards. Brian Griese is winning the QB battle, but it’s only for second place. The veteran Jeff Garcia will have the spot by the time the season starts.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an all-around good night. They were minimally penalized and turned the ball over zero times. This can be downplayed as a preseason victory against the Brady-less Patriots, but there is something to be said for whipping a team that had an undefeated season just a year ago.


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