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Bucs 38, Cardinals 35

THE GOOD

The Play-calling
Greg Olson kept the Cardinals defense on its toes by balancing run, pass and play-action. You’d probably not want to have eight drives end in turnovers and punts but Freeman had arguably his best game of the season, throwing for 278 yards, his highest total in a game in which he doesn’t throw a pick.

The Poise
Freeman made an uncharacteristic late mistake in taking a sack that knocked the team out of field goal range and Blount’s fumble proved costly, but this task was not too difficult or too intimidating for the young Bucs team on the road. They’ve now tied a franchise record with 8 straight road games. Maybe Raheem is onto something.

The Defense
They made several turnovers that required teamwork to execute. The Geno Hayes TD return was huge. Now, they did allow the Big Red offense to put up and points and Derek Anderson was in a giving mood late as he twice threw into triple coverage for Fitzgerald. That said, the corners hustle, make plays, and this week, Aqib Talib won them the game.

THE BAD

Nearly Costly Turnovers
It’s probably an anomaly or just Blount’s youth but ball security is even more a factor in the red zone.

LOOKING AHEAD: This Sunday will be the true testing ground. There were things the Bucs could have done differently that would have narrowed the gap a little in the blow-out losses to New Orleans and Pittsburgh. I think they are getting better from week-to-week. As I said in my preview, Arizona has playmakers with bad decision-making. Whisenhunt put the ball in the hands of his fourth-string RB who fumbled and Derek Anderson made some bad reads. The Bucs gave up 396 yards of offense but forced four INTs and lead the league with 14 this year. The Bucs did what they needed to do to win. This next week, they can show they belong in the Super Bowl discussion with a win in Atlanta.


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2 Responses to “Bucs 38, Cardinals 35”

  1. greg says:

    let’s be honest here… i’m a huge Bucs fan but superbowl? calm down the hype my bro….keep it real

  2. Chris Bach says:

    I view Tampa Bay as a young team. Young, healthy teams – more than any other kind – usually don’t hit their peak until late in the season. I think that a victory over Atlanta would put them into the Super Bowl discussion, absolutely.

    It’s just talk. Fans talk about the Super Bowl because that is the only goal. Not making it is a disappointment.

    The Bucs were considered by many to be rebuilding. We now know they are more competitive than last year’s squad.

    In the NFC, the only teams that have 2 or fewer losses or 3 losses in which they have been within single digits at least once are Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Atlanta and the New York Giants. Seattle has lost all three of their games by 17 or more points.

    The Bucs, while losing to New Orleans, have one fewer loss than Philadelphia, Green Bay and New Orleans.

    Chicago is highly unlikely to make the Super Bowl with that pass defense (including pass rush), that offensive line and Lovie Smith.

    If the Bucs beat Atlanta, they would be alone in first place halfway through the season. It doesn’t mean they will even make the playoffs. When you consider the teams they’d have to beat to get to the Super Bowl, it’s not THAT crazy.

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