Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

Bucs ‘Brees’ past Saints 31-14

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The Bucs game was shown by SKY this week and allowed fans this side of the pond a first real look at the 2007 Buccaneers. Like most fans I approached the game with some trepidation as the Saints have been on a roll against the Bucs in recent fixtures. Prior to the game all the talk was about whether Cadillac Williams would play and if he did how much time he would actually get. I think it’s fair to say that the Bucs turned in two good quarters against the Seahawks and would need to do a lot more to beat the Saints. What happened over the next 60 minutes certainly surprised me and for the moment gives me some positivity about the fortunes of the Bucs this year.

Cadillac scored twice despite injured ribs

The Bucs started the game fast and didn’t really let up until the 4th quarter when the game was won. On the Saints second possession Barrett Ruud set the tone for the day. Ruud hit Deuce McAllister hard on a run play forcing the Saints RB to fumble and then recovering the loose ball. The Bucs offense marshalled by Garcia marched down the field and Cadillac punched it in from 1 yard. On the next Saints possession Ruud was influential causing McAllister to fumble again but this time the ball was recovered by Reggie Bush. The Bucs and Saints then traded possessions and early in the second quarter Jeff Garcia hooked up with a speeding Joey Galloway and thanks to a huge hit by Michael Clayton in midfield Galloway was free to showboat to the endzone to celebrate a 69 yard TD.

By this time the Bucs defense had their tails up and were able to limit the gains of the misfiring Saints offence. Derrick Brooks forced another fumble but this time it was Reggie Bush who coughed up the ball but Eric Johnson was able to pick up the loose ball. The Bucs effectively finished the game just before half time when Garcia found Joey Galloway for a 24 yard TD reception. The attempt was set up by another Bucs veteran, Ike Hilliard who hauled in a 41 yard pass from Garcia the play before.

Garcia – 2 TD’s and excellent offensive leadership

The Bucs continued the intensity after half time and were able to limit the effectiveness of the Saints offence. It was left to Joey Galloway and Cadillac Williams to end the game as a contest in the 3rd quarter, Galloway hauled in a 41 yard pass from Garcia and 3 plays later Cadillac punched the ball in from the 1. The Saints were already chasing the game but this score made it 28-0 and the game was won.

The Saints did score two TD’s one late in the 3rd by fullback Mike Karney and a touchdown reception for Marques Colston who finished the game with 70 yards although most of these were racked up late in the game.

Defensively Barrett Ruud was outstanding and his 16 tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery earned him is first NFC Defensive Player of the week award. Tanard Jackson appears to have played safety all his life and Sammy Morris also made some nice plays from Corner. Also on defense it was good to see the rotation players getting in the game and making some plays. The main downside was the lack of pressure generated by the front 4. This will need to improve as other teams won’t misfire as often as the Saints did.

Offensively it was all about double G, Galloway and Garcia. Joey showed he still has the speed to give any secondary fits. Garcia looked composed and was able to avoid pressure well with roll outs and some pocket smarts. However the other WR’s need to step up to help. Michael Clayton made a great block for the first TD but will be worried by his lack of a reception in the game. Alex Smith looks composed at TE, Hilliard made 1 key reception but they need to make plays when Galloway is having an off day. Cadillac seemed unworried by his rib injury but I have to question Gruden, when he pounded the rock late in the game and did’nt replace him with Pittman or Graham. The line looks to be solidifying but a lack of running lanes is a bit of a worry and something the Bucs will need to work on.

Overall it’s hard to be too down on a team that beat up last years NFC Championship team but there are stiffer tests to come and their is still room for improvement

Game Ball : Barrett Ruud – Set the tempo early and was at the heart of all things good on the defensive side.

Ruud – set the tempo on defence

Written by UK Bucs Fan

September 21, 2007 at 12:08 pm

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