It's a shame that in the afterglow of a big (i.e. much needed) victory over the Kansas City Chiefs that the Buccaneer radio waves was focusing on a certain trouble ridden cornerback who must not be named. We will not talk about him in this column, there are plenty of other places on BN to focus on that person.
We're going to give you the 10 things we think we learned from Tampa Bay's demolition of the Kansas City Chiefs.
1. Credit to Coach Schiano and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan for their self evaluation during the bye week. The Bucs identified what Freeman and the offense do best. Instead of adhering to Schiano's ground and pound mentality, the Bucs spread the field three-wide the majority of the ballgame and took shots deep. It not only led to some huge offensive plays but it helped Tampa Bay's struggling rushing attack as well.
I think in the process the Bucs may have discovered the happy medium between LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin.They're more effective as a tandem than giving one a significant majority of carries over the other.
Tampa Bay finished with 463 yds and 31 points of offense against the 8th best defense in the NFL. For a coach who has been said to be stubborn in his ways, hats off to Schiano for adapting.
2. Speaking of the offense, Josh Freeman is like a golfer who can drive the ball but has a terrible short game. The worm burner returned for Josh this week but that would be one of the few complaints out of a solid performance against a top notch secondary. Freeman succeeded where Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers and Joe Flacco failed - he destroyed the Chiefs secondary. A lot of that was due to something we haven't seen a lot from Freeman this season - trust in his receivers to come down with the football. Free tossed a lot of passes high, expecting Mike Williams or Vincent Jackson or even Tiquan Underwood to come down with it. Most of the time, they did.
By the way, I think Freeman got banged up on the sack fumble in the second half. He was favoring his throwing arm, rotating it repeatedly as if trying to loosen up a stinger or spasm. I think it effected his first few passes after the hit. After a while though, it seemed the Free-chise shook it off.
3. Mike Williams was beast mode this week. Two unbelievable catches, huge YAC, Vincent Jackson is the best thing to ever happen to this kid. The good thing is with Williams playing well, it can only help Jackson. Big Mike finished with his second straight 100 yd receiving day on 4 catches for 113 yds and that amazing touchdown.
4. What an outstanding performance by the Buccaneers against the run on Sunday. The Chiefs came into the ballgame with the NFL's leading rusher in Jamaal Charles and a formidable ground attack with Charles' backups. Tampa Bay shut down Charles, limiting him to a season worst 40 yds on 12 carries and limited the Chiefs as a team to just 80 yds rushing.
5. There was a Muscle Hamster sighting! Doug Martin finally showed some explosiveness the Bucs hoped they were getting breaking loose on a 23 yd run and making a wicked move on a pass in the flat, then taking it 42 yds downfield. On the day, Martin averaged 5.9 yards a carry and caught 2 balls for 55 yds.
6. I'm not sure what in the world Punter Michael Koenen was thinking when he had his punt blocked and then attempted to throw a pass out of the endzone (which was intercepted and returned for the Chiefs only touchdown). Fall on the ball, give them the safety. I'm no math major but 2 points surrendered is certainly better than 7.
7. For those Chief fans hoping that Brady Quinn was the savior - uh no. The Chiefs rarely challenged the Buccaneer defense's greatest weakness - the deep pass. When Quinn wasn't dumping passes off, he was firing them late or into triple coverage. It made for a relatively easy day for the Bucs' pass defense.
8. How about the ageless wonder Ronde Barber? First of all, having the awareness to realize in that bang-bang play that the ball never touched the ground and then taking his 37 year old frame down the sideline for a 78 yd interception return for a touchdown. Simply amazing.
9. Mark Barron was a man among boys out there on Sunday. Barron was punishing any Chiefs receiver that came down with the football (he was actually lucky a few times not to get the dreaded defenseless receiver penalty), he was fierce in his support of the run and he got a key red zone interception off a deflection. Well done, young man.
10. Forget the Chiefs - It's Saints week. We Dat.