Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

Bucs dominate Panthers in a 20-7 win

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The Bucs move to 3-1 and top the NFC South after a dominating performance against an out of sorts Panthers. The game was shown in the UK so fans on this side of the pond have got to see the Bucs twice in a month, how long it is before they are on again is anyones guess. The Bucs set the tone for the game when Jeff Garcia orchestrated an 11 play, 71 yard drive that culminated in Garcia scampering the last 3 yards for a TD. However the win will be overshadowed by a serious knee injury to Cadilliac Williams and another knee injury to Left Tackle Luke Petitgiout. Petitgout was hit accidentally by a fellow lineman and didn’t return, although his injury only looks like a sprained knee and he could be back next week for the trip to the Colts. How serious is the injury to Cadillac

How serious is the knee injury to Cadillac ? (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Bucs headed to Charlotte for a game that promised much, a growing rivalry with the Panthers and a top of the NFC South clash would surely provide some fireworks. The Bucs silenced the home crowd on the first play of the game, the Bucs took the ball from the kick off and marched 71 yards down the field. The drive a nice mix of pass and run with key receptions by man of the day Ike Hilliard culminated in a 3 yard TD scamper for Jeff Garcia. The Bucs defence continued where they left off last week and forced a quick 3 and out from the Panthers. The teams traded possessions and then the Bucs defence and special teams made plays. The defence kept the Panthers pinned at their 21 and Mark Jones was able to return the subsequent punt to the Panthers 48 and provided a short field for the Bucs offence.

Then disaster struck for Cadillac, he burst through a gap on the right side of the line and was lining up to take on Chris Harris when his cleats seemed to stick in the turf and he twisted his knee and fell awkwardly. Cadillac was carted off the field clearly in agony and his season looks to be headed towards IR. The break and the injury to Cadillac didn’t affect the Bucs as 4 plays later Earnest Graham punched it in from 1 yard and the lead was 14. The Bucs added to the lead in the second quarter with a Matt Bryant field goal.

The game was strangely lacking in intensity from the Panthers. David Carr looked nervy in his first start and Steve Smith clearly had his invisible uniform on as he was oddly ignored. Carr got the biggest cheer from the home fans when running for a first down he performed a aerial front flip over the onrushing Derrick Brooks. Defensively the Panthers were down as well. Julius Peppers was no threat from the outside and the only pressure was applied by Kris Jenkins and Make Kemoeatu up the middle.The Bucs tried to finish the game early in the 3rd quarter by going for it on 4th and Goal at the 1 but the Panthers in a rare stand held firm. The game really then petered out as a contest, the Bucs clearly had the Panthers number and two Matt Bryant field goals made the game safe. A late consolation TD roused what was left of the crowd into a half hearted cheer but the game was over as contest sometime ago.From the Bucs perspective the game will be overshadowed by the injuries sustained by Cadillac Williams and Luke Petitgout.

On Offence:

On a positive note it was nice to see Hilliard step up (114 yards on 7 receptions) and Alex Smith made 4 nice catches. The lack of Clayton or Stovall in the offence is clearly worrying but their time may come. Garcia also seems to lock onto a reciever and use him as his goto guy, the first few games it was Joey Galloway and last night it was Hilliard. I’m not sure if its Garcias’ way but I think we need to spread the ball a bit more. Pittman and Graham showed that they can be a nice RBBC in lieu of Cadillac but we have some tougher tests ahead. The O-line played well and Aaron Sears is a great addition inside. Donald Penn stepped in nicely after the injury to Petitgout but he’s going to have harder days at LT, especially against the Colts D-Line next week.

On Defence:

The defence keeps improving game on game and there’s not much more to be said. Tanard Jackson and Jermaine Phillips have solidified the safety positions and the mix at LB gives us strength in depth. Despite notching three sacks the defensive line need to generate more pressure from a 4 man rush. Patrick Chukwurah nearly made a great play coming off the edge and hopefully that’s a insight into the future.

Game Ball:

Tough call, but for me 7 receptions for 114 yards and some key plays on the first drive makes Ike Hilliard the Game Ball recipient.The 3-1 Bucs now roll to Indianapolis to face the 4-0 Colts. Despite giving up 223 yards on the ground the Colts rolled the Broncos 38-20 and will provide the sternest test of this team yet.

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Written by UK Bucs Fan

October 1, 2007 at 5:28 pm

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