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Bucs 31, Panthers 16

THE GOOD

Josh Freeman
Some may wonder how the run game got going more than in any other week. When your quarterback connects 18 of 24 times for 241 and two touchdowns AND runs 5 times for 19 yards and is sacked only once, defenses get caught off-guard. There should be no doubt left that Freeman is giving Vick, Rodgers and Brees a run for their Pro Bowl spots. Even with the fumble, Freeman’s velocity was as sharp as his decision-making.

Mike Williams
You have to go beyond the statline. He had 4 catches for 68 yards but his deep speed and physicality get him to draw safeties and other help wherever he goes. He also had a key block on a long Blount run.

LeGarrette Blount
You have to see this to believe it. In the 4th he softened up the defense for Cadillac to shut the lid on the pesky Panthers.

The Secondary
Elbert Mack made a big hit, Talib showed great closing speed. They may have allowed Jimmy Clausen to have his most efficient day as a pro but the defense’s ability to clamp down in the red zone and limit the damage helped win them the game. They also overcame 2 turnovers by the offense and special teams.

LOOKING AHEAD:
They go into face a San Francisco team that has its own scrambling, magic-making quarterback in Troy Smith. As bad as the NFC West is, if the 49ers lose today there would be no reason to be experimental or play the back-ups to see what they’ve got. At 2-7, they’d still be in it. San Francisco always shows up and plays hard.

HICKORY TECH PBTBPL1C 11/15/2010 11/18/2010 $103.53

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