Observations of the Tree Stump In Dad's Backyard, Since I Didn't Have Time to Listen to Much of the Bucs/Falcons 11/25/12 Game

1) Okay, so, looking at the final score, one could claim a moral victory keeping the one of the conference's best teams this season to just a 1-point win. Pity is, moral victories do not count towards playoff contention.

Winning this game was Must for the Bucs to stay in the hunt for a Wild Card. Being 7-4 is much better than 6-5 at this point of the season. The other good news is that so far the other teams close to the Bucs in the playoff hunt have lost as well (or are in the process of losing, knock on formica). But still, getting another leg up in the race is what matters right now. There is little room for error here: the Bucs could afford perhaps one more loss, but they really can't lose any if they want to play in January...

2) To be fair to the Bucs, most of their losses this season have been with a single score, in situations where another FG or another TD could have won it for Tampa Bay. The only loss where the Bucs were really terrible - at Dallas - the score was still within single digits (the loss at New York where the Giants had 9 points on us was a lot closer than the score suggests, and the offense was playing well enough to feel good).

3) The surprising thing from the stats: it looks like Atlanta didn't go all balls-out with the throwing game today. They seemed to stick to a balanced attack with rushing plays as well as passing. This may have been for two reasons: QB Matt Ryan had a 5-INT game last week and needed to play more conservative today; and the Falcons may have wanted to make sure they demonstrated some kind of rushing game to keep opposing Ds guessing for the next 5 weeks.

Considering they were up against a weakened secondary (Wright out with injury, Gods know who was covering Roddy White and Julio Jones today), I was expecting Ryan to have 500 yards passing on 45 attempts.

3a) A disappointing stat: Doug Martin at 50 yards rushing with a 2.4 rushing average. He earned two TDs, which helps on the fantasy stats, but a better performance in terms of yards gained and yards per attempt might have meant better ball control on the offense and more scores for the Bucs.

4) Last week I noted that the team with the most turnovers coughed up tends to lose. Didn't happen this week with the Falcons giving up an INT and fumble vs. a turnover-free Bucs. That was probably because the turnovers led to only Field Goals, not TDs.

4a) The one stat that showed why the Bucs lost: Third down conversion rate for the Falcons (8 of 13) was higher than Tampa's (4 of 10).

5) In other NFL news, stadium attendance numbers are not only weak in Tampa Bay. Other stadiums - even for winning teams - are having turnout woes. Link to article:

6) In college football news: the lack of a playoff system is gonna suck for the Florida Gators this time.

6a) Notre Dame is undefeated and a lock for the BCS title game. There is No God.

6b) The match-up is most likely going to be against whoever wins the SEC championship game: Alabama or Georgia. Again, There is No God.

6c) Why is there word out that USF won't fire Skippy at season's end? This is what big-time college programs doing with losing coaches who GET WORSE at coaching as the career progresses: this is what Auburn did with their guy, and he won them a National Championship two years ago (well, actually, I think Cam Newton willed them to victory...). Skip Holtz has GOTTEN WORSE over his three years of coaching the Bulls, there is no sign he is going to get better. If you're worried about recruiting, we're not going to be getting a lot of high schoolers wanting to come to a program that's showing no life. We're better off getting a solid coordinator looking for a HC job, and enticing kids to a program with fresh leadership.

7) In other news, it's Saturnalia time! Break out the Roman orgy furniture! ...what?

8) In professional hockey news, Gary Bettman punched a Furby in the face and dared anyone to arrest him for that and other crimes against humanity.

9) Next week: the Bucs travel to Denver to face Peyton Manning and a Broncos team that WANTS to rack up 500+ receiving yards against the Bucs' secondary...

10) Also, can anyone recommend a good tree-stump-grinding service?

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