1) So I get a call Monday morning, it's my brother who'd gotten tickets to the Colts game from a friend (hey, Denny!) and so I got a chance to witness first hand how a referee crew can nearly mess up a football game.
We got blown calls. We got bad calls. We got flags for every conceivable penalty. We got flags for excessive flagging. It was not pretty. Seriously, I spotted at least three penalties that the refs shouldn't have called, and one penalty (illegal block to the back) they should have called on that second Garcon touchdown. Terrible, terrible reffing.
And as for the rest of the game?
1a) WHAT PART OF OPEN UP YOUR DAMN PLAYBOOK DO YOU NOT GET, COACHES? Once again, our offense is lethargic in the First Half. Did we make a Third-Down conversion in the First Half at all? It didn't seem that way. /headthump
Thank God we won.
2) Player of the Game: BLOUNT! He made decent run attempts all night, occasionally getting stopped at the line but more often getting 5-6 yards a carry, and ending up with 127 yards rushing and the game-winning TD that came on a beautiful 35-yard broken tackle dash.
2a) Our defensive line played pretty well, keeping Colts RB Addai a non-factor all night long (he pretty much had just one big run, and a good number of tackles for losses). DT Bennett in particular had 2 sacks and one fumble/fumble recovery. DT McCoy got a sack, and DE Clayborn got a key sack late in the game. At this pace, we ought to expect 40 sacks from our D-line by season's end.
Peter Preston Parker became the go-to receiver that night, getting 5 catches for 70 yards and making the game-tying touchdown reception in the Third Quarter.
2c) While it's only something close observers would note, I heard on the radio later that OT Penn did a decent job against Colts' DE Freeney all night. Considering Freeney didn't record a sack... actually, now that I look at the box score, I don't see Dwight Freeney's name at all. He is still with the Colts...?
3) Goat of the game: whoever is in charge of clock management during the two-minute drill for the Bucs. Guys, what our team did in the last 20 seconds of the First Half is inexcusable. Don't you guys have a short-yardage pass play other than dumping it off the middle to Graham? Don't you guys teach Freeman to throw the ball in 3 seconds or less when he's down in the Red Zone? He held onto that ball two seconds too long. Grrrr.
3a) There were 20 flags on the field for the whole game, and while the Refs were questionable in their decisions about 5-7 times, that doesn't excuse the other 13 penalties they called. Sloppy, sloppy.
4) Speaking of bad calls, the two most egregious were:
4a) Calling the Bucs for 12 men on the field during the hurried field goal try at the end of the Half. Video replay may not have been clear if the Bucs had gotten off in time, but the replay clearly showed an extra Colts player was still on the field as Barth was kicking! Wouldn't there be off-setting penalties? Of course, that then leads to the next question: does off-setting penalties allow for the play to be re-done, or did the Halftime clock run out?
4b) Failing to call at least one illegal block in the back during WR Garcon's second touchdown run. Video replay caught a Colts lineman hitting CB Barber in the back when Ronde was within tackling reach.
5) Stats of the game: No INTs. At all. Which is good news for QB Freeman who needs to cut down, and bad news for the Bucs secondary because they were facing a third-string Colts QB in Painter. In fact, there were three dropped would-have-been INTs by Biggers, Talib and Jones. While the incomplete passes still helped in slowing down the Colts O, those INTs could have given the Bucs more scoring chances and a bigger lead early in the game.
5a) Blount's run average was 5.1 yards per carry. Of course, that 35-yard TD run skews the average, but he had at least 3 rushes for 10 yards each and a slew of 5 yarder gains throughout the night.
5b) McCoy had a monster game: not only the sack, but also 3 tackles for loss and 2 QB hits. He was getting into the Colts' pocket on a regular basis, which is good.
5c) I mentioned the penalties. Even considering the penalties the Bucs deserved, this was a sloppy night all around. Penalties kill drives and take away points. :( Gotta work on playing smarter, guys.
6) Thing about a Monday nighter: it brings all the veterans back. Cameras spotted Derrick Brooks and Tony Dungy in one luxury box, some of our guys from the 2002 SB team (Gramatica, Dexter Jackson) in another, and of course ex-QBs Steve Young and Trent Dilfer on the sidelines (with the ESPN football crew). Chucky Gruden wasn't spotted for the in-stadium camera but he was in the MNF booth as well.
7) Seriously. Why no Mason Foster jerseys yet?
8) In other Monday Night Football news, no more Hank Williams Jr. Time to bring in someone more culturally relevant and "hip" for the "Are You Ready?" theme song. Say, Frank Sinatra?
8a) Whadda ya mean, he's dead?
9) In other bay area sports news... sniff... whimper... Rays lost at home to the Rangers 4-3. We got to see some of the baseball game during pre-game warmups and stuff on the stadium screens, but... well... sniff... damn it all! We started so well...! But giving Price just one hit in support just isn't going to cut it, Maddon...
10) Next up: Bucs travel to the West Coast to play the 49ers. Never a fun time for the Bucs (we're like what 2-45 playing on that side of the world), and coming on a short week to boot. Oy.