Bucs fans were taken on a wild ride today, as they lost to the Carolina Panthers by only ten points, but left many of their own on the field as two missed Field Goals and 5 interceptions spelled doom for the Pewter Pirates in Carolina.
Call it progress on an small level. The Bucs gave up 158 yards of rushing to Carolina, which was better than the 267 earlier this year, which was better than the 299 at the end of last season. In the 3rd and 4th quarter, the Bucs actually took yardage away from the Panthers totals. The offense meanwhile went almost 500 yards today, but no one on the team should be happy as the maturation process of Josh Freeman entered another chapter with 5 interceptions registered to the rookie signal caller. Most of them costly, Freeman will undoubtedly learn from his mistakes, but the timing of them couldn't have been any worse for Bucs fans who watched Connor Barth doink one kick of off the left goalpost, and push another right of the next. He made his first two kicks today, but that is all the Bucs offense had to show for its 1st place Red Zone ranking prior to this game. Every time the Bucs drove the Ball into enemy territory though, they came up empty. They ran the ball, they threw the ball, but in the end It didnt matter if it was a running play or a pass, the result was basically the same. Lots of movement in between the 20s to the tune of 469 yards of offense, but no scoring.
Some Bucs Shots...
- Kellen Winslow was basically a soldier MIA, yet ended up with 69 yards with a handful of catches with a few late 4th qtr appearances.
- Cadillac Williams almost finished with 100 yards, going 92 yards on 17 plays for a 5.4 avg.
- Derrick Ward had a few good runs as a Buc, averaging 6.4 ypc with 32 yards on 5 carries.
- Antonio Bryant in keeping up with last years showing in Carolina, caught 5 balls for 115 yards.
- Bucs are now 1-15 in the 16 complete games since the last loss at Carolina on MNF, the worst stretch since 1977.
But the only news that really is news, the throwing of young Josh Freeman with his 24 of 44 for 321 yards but the handful of picks he would love to shake off as soon as possible.
On the other side of the ball, the defense was gashed early with sloppy tackling reminicent of previous Bucs/Panthers contests, and the score got to a 10-0 deficit in a hurry. But the Bucs took over the game and put two FGs on the board before all the misfires occured.