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Bucs 20, Panthers 7


Mike Williams
Sure, through two weeks, he doesn’t have a lot of yards but he has had important touchdowns in both weeks.

Ronde Barber
Again, this guy makes a big interception at a big time.

Josh Freeman (mostly)
I hate the term “game manager” and I hate people lauding him for making a few plays against two non-winning teams from last year. His protection hasn’t been great and he made some smart plays with his feet, including 4 scrambles for 43 yards vs. Carolina. I really feel like his most underrated asset is his demeanor. Eventually, this team will have to pass to win and I believe he is up for the challenge. They still ended up punting 6 times Sunday.

The Second Half-Defense
Their defense in general has been the main reason they are 2-0. They’ve held the other team to 0 points, 225 yards and 11 first downs in theĀ  second half. Geno Hayes is emerging as a leader, Aqib Talib got a pick in his first game, and for the second straight week they knocked out the quarterback (though I am not applauding a concussion). I will be the first to admit I was wrong about Matt Moore but it was weird that they only had three receivers active. Fox and Steve Smith seemed to have a lot of confidence in him heading into this season.


The O-Line
After a subpar performance at home week 1, they ran it up the gut, over and over again. The good thing is, they didn’t fumble so it did chew up a lot of clock. Regardless, the backs had 30 carries for 52 yards. They get a strong test with the Steelers run defense but, as they alternated Zuttah and Vincent, they need to find a mix that works and maybe give Kregg Lumpkin and LaGarrette Blount some carries to soften up the defense for Cadillac. There are so many hybrid RB/FBs on this team that they can probably get creative with formations if they wish.


Pittsburgh has a ridiculous defense. It helps that they have two masterminds there in Mike Tomlin and Dick Lebeau, but Troy Polamalu is the key to what they do. He made huge plays in the red zone against Tennessee last week as they forced 7 turnovers. The Steelers go from one of the least experienced, most mobile quarterbacks in Dennis Dixon to one of the more experienced quarterbacks who is also the least mobile in all of football, Byron Leftwich. I know he might have revenge on his mind against his old team, but, seriously, even Peyton Manning is more mobile. The young guys can’t make this game bigger than it is while they are playing. It’s just one game. They need to stay loose and have that nastiness they showed in the first two games. That said, as a fan, you have to think this would be a huge win, regardless of Big Ben’s suspension, in helping the Bucs gain ground toward a playoff berth. Whatever the case, the Bucs are unlikely to turn over the ball as much as the Titans did and are now 12-2 in their last 14 games without a turnover.


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One Response to “Bucs 20, Panthers 7”

  1. Everybody seemed to think Carolina would win, guess it didn’t turn out that way : )

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