Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

Bucs sneak win against Titans

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Matt Bryant sealed a 13-10 win against the Titans with a 4th quarter field goal with 11 seconds remaining. Jeff Garcia somehow managed to guide a seriously one dimensional offence to the most unlikely of wins and the Titans will wonder how they lost this game. The final drive to get the team into FG range was pure veteran nous from messers Garcia, Hilliard and Galloway. Yet again the Bucs win will be overshadowed by what appears to be another serious injury, this time to TE Alex Smith. Smith was blocking on the right side of the line and was hit from behind by players who had managed to get pressure from the left. Smith left the field on a cart with what appeared to be ankle damage.The Bucs are now a surprising 4-2 and sit atop the NFC South with a road trip to the Lions next week.

Garcia evades the Titans Pass rush – again !! (Photo Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

On Offence:

It’s all about #7. Garcia marshalled the offence and was quietly effective from QB. His veteran smarts and ability to avoid the pass rush allowed him to make key plays and keep the team moving forward despite no run game. Earnest Graham had a mixed bag in his first start as the Bucs RB. His 13 attempts gained him 29 yards on the ground but his 10 receptions for 52 yards out of the backfield was a huge help in keeping the team going forwards. Joey Galloway again showed his deep speed when he connected with Garcia for the Bucs only TD.

The lack of a run game is a big concern. The Titans do have a top ranked run D and Albert Haynesworth and the rest of the Titans line were able to clog up the lanes to limit Graham. If you take out his long run of 10 yards he had 12 attempts for 19 yards which just isn’t going to worry opposing defences. Next up are the Lions and the Bucs will need to look at the run game as Garcia won’t be able to pass the team to a win each week.

Other positives were to see that Michael Clayton got in the game early with 2 nice catches for 53 yards and hopefully that’s a sign he’s starting to find his feet again.

The line looked shaky and a less mobile QB could have been in a lot more trouble. Garcia was able to evade the rush and was able to not gift away possession. It’s hard to judge the performance of the line in the run game watching it live but there didn’t seem to be that many run lanes available to Graham. I’m not sure thats down to good D-line play by the Titans or the Bucs line struggling.

The injury to Alex Smith again overshadowed the performance and I have to hope that it’s nothing too serious

On Defence:

Could Ronde Barber make any more plays in a game and not get an INT ? His interception late in the game that got overruled because he landed out of bounds was a great play and he did have another INT only to fumble the ball away whilst trying to make ground up field. Like the offence there are questions on our Defence. The lack of a pass rush from the 4 down guys is still evident. We racked up a sack late on but generally Young or Kerry Collins had the time to stand in the pocket and find their wide receivers. We have to get some pass rush or teams will be able to pass across the middle and expose Barrett Ruud in coverage. Ruud is OK in coverage but unless we generate more pressure teams will exploit the middle of the field against the Bucs.

The Bucs did get a lucky call on the Phillip Buchanon “Interception”. From all the replays I saw it appeared that his toes were over the whitewash as he took the ball in and the call should have been reversed.

Overall the Bucs were dominated in time of possession and yardage, but won the key battle in turnovers and in a tight game turnovers will kill you. A muffed handoff between Vince Young and Chris Brown led to a Patrick Chukwurah fumble recovery and the Buchanon interception stopped Titans drives in their tracks.

The Bucs already have the same amount of wins as last season and will head to Detroit to face the Lions with a bit more confidence, however it seems that there are cracks in this Bucs team and I am starting to wonder how long it is before opposition teams figure it out.
Game Ball:

Jeff Garcia. He spent most of the game evading the Titans pass rush and working with an ineffective run game but when the play was there to be made he found Joey Galloway for a 69 yard TD that gave the Bucs some breathing room.

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Written by UK Bucs Fan

October 15, 2007 at 1:30 pm

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