It never entered my mind - the Bucs losing on Sunday. I never considered it a possibility. The Eagles were a horrible, horrible football team and the Bucs had just gone toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the NFL - two that could very well play in New Orleans in February.
The Eagles had quit on their coach, had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL and were starting a rookie quarterback (and not one of the good ones).
Add to that the Bucs had their first true blue sell out since the Monday Nighter last season and they were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Super Bowl.
There was no way the Bucs were going to lose in front of the Mount Rushmore of the franchise - Sapp, Brooks, Lynch and Alstott.
Yet, they did. Here's the 10 things we know we're ticked off about -
1. On Tuesday, I'll be giving you my NFC Playoff scenario madness which will tell you exactly how the Bucs can climb into the playoff race. Make no mistake, Bucs fans. This team isn't going to the playoffs. If you can't beat THAT team in THAT situation - who in the world are you going to beat?
2. The Seattle Seahawks - who seem to actually WANT to be a playoff team - showed how you handle a bad opponent at home. You crush them. Destroy any hopes they have and make them quit. The longer you leave a pitiful team in the ballgame, the more they believe they can win - and that my friends - is when you get upset. The Bucs are certainly not a good enough team to throw their helmet on the field and say, "Fear us." The Eagles weren't afraid, they didn't like the whispers that they quit on Andy Reid and they played their backsides off to ruin our party.
3. Josh Freeman. All week long the fishwraps have been cooing about how the Bucs should sign Josh Freeman to a long extension worthy of a franchise quarterback. The reason you want to wait to sign Freeman to that massive franchise QB contract is because of days like yesterday.
Had the Eagles secondary not S-U-C-K-E-D sucked (the Philly fans seem to be fond of spelling at a first grade level, I thought I'd throw them a bone) Freeman would have been picked off four times.
Mr. Freeman, when you manage 189 yds of passing and complete only 41% of your passes against THAT defense - you sir were terrible. There's no way to candy coat it. There's no explanations or blaming the receivers for running the wrong routes or the o-line for not giving him time or what have you.
Freeman was indecisive, held the ball too long and was inaccurate when he delivered it. He got Dallas Clark, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson lit up while reaching for high passes.
I never put much credence in Boomer Esiason's assertion that Freeman was a partier who didn't get into his playbook. Everything we've heard from the Bucs lockeroom was different. He's a hard worker on and off the field, etc. But I tell you folks, if you told me Josh was boozing it up Saturday night and playing with a hangover on Sunday, I'd full-fledge believe it.
So do we have a Donovan McNabb or Ben Rothlisberger type here in Tampa Bay? He's certainly not Eli or Drew Brees and he might not even be Andrew Luck or RG III. Right now, he's more David Garrard or Jason Campbell.
Just remember Bucs fans - Freeman is Raheem's quarterback. Schiano has no ties to him, just as John Fox had no ties to Josh McDaniel's Tebow in Denver. Now, it's not every day you have Peyton Manning hit the free agent list and I wouldn't expect that caliber of quarterback to be there this off-season - but one thing is certain - it's time Josh had a challenger and worried about his job.
4. Speaking of Freeman, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and RG III walk into the league and have their football teams in prime position to make the post season. Freeman? 4 years, no playoffs. Were those teams any worse off than the Bucs were when Freeman got here?
I want it clear I'm not off the Josh bandwagon - I still believe him to be a quality quarterback. But if you only complete 54% of your passes on the season and can't take advantage of the NFL's worst pass defenses - you're not a great or even good QB. You're slightly above average and these are questions that beg answers.
5. Bill Sheridan should be fired. Now. Immediately. How does your defense completely rattle and destroy a rookie quarterback with six sacks and then in the final two drives you drop back and 3 rush play coverage? Then, when the kid begins to complete passes, you try blitz at just the most idiotic times, leaving your sorry secondary exposed?
The front four was pounding this cat all game long - it looked like the 99 Bucs out there for a while. Why the heck would you change?
Sheridan's defense was terrible in New York and it's just as bad here. He's had team leaders openly question his calls. We understand Schiano had a late pick and did the best he could with it - but let's not compound that mistake by being hard headed about it.
I hear Monte Kiffin is available.
6. Speaking of our god awful secondary. Yes, I know that we're playing guys that by all rights should be working at UPS right now. But how do you leave guys wide open in the deep middle of the field when you're playing prevent. How does that friggin' happen? I'm looking at you Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer.
Nick Foles, a rookie quarterback who has never passed for more than 251 yds in a game, goes for 381 yds, 2 touchdowns and a rushing score against you.
You have four opportunities in the final drive to end it, get off the field and win the game. Two fourth downs, a dropped pick and the final play. Make one of those and it's over and the Bucs escape thanking their lucky stars. Yet in every instance - they failed.
7. While Doug Martin has been a brilliant addition to the Bucs and second rounder Lavonte David has been an outstanding contributor - so far the rest of the draft has been garbage.
Mark Barron - it would be nice to see him make a play at some point. He's been the invisible man.
Najee Goode - Is he still on the team?
Keith Tandy - See Najee Goode.
Michael Smith - See Najee Goode.
Drake Dunsmore - Isn't on the team.
I don't know if two pro bowl caliber players in a draft make it a good one - but Barron is starting to inch closer to the Myron Lewis and Brian Price level of irrelevance. Missing on high picks is something the Bucs cannot continue to do.
Hopefully Barron will turn it around.
8. We've been calling Mike Sullivan the mad genius for the offense's performance this season. I have to say, in the last few weeks, he's been questionable in his decision making. Now, you can only work with what you have and truth be told if Freeman was even semi-accurate it would have been another big day for the Bucs, but let's face it. It was pretty dang evident to everyone watching that game that Freeman was off.
Yet the Bucs passed, passed and passed some more - resulting in 7 punts in the first half. Meanwhile, Doug Martin was running through the Eagles like butter...but wasn't getting the carries.
Now, one play call I didn't have a problem with was the 3rd and 8 during the final Bucs drive of the game. The Monday Morning quarterbacks are all getting uppity about not trying to throw the football in that situation rather than run it and force the Eagles to call the timeout.
I have one question to those pundits - did you see the same Josh Freeman I was seeing on Sunday?
9. The fact that the Bucs lost on Sunday was bad enough - but the way they lost made it all the more disheartening. For the third time this season, Tampa Bay blew a double digit lead. It's one thing to blow a lead to Eli Manning or Drew Brees but Nick Foles?
10. I don't expect the Buccaneers to quit despite the daunting task that is before them. Yet, it certainly feels like the collapse is on, doesn't it? From 6-4 to 6-7. We've seen this before haven't we Bucs fans? The '08 Bucs falling from 9-3 and talk of homefield advantage to 9-7 and out. The '11 Bucs going from 4-2 to 4-12. It will be interesting to see how this team finishes off.