Once again, there's no polling available so for the LOVE OF GRONK LEAVE COMMENTS AND LIKES!!!
My home Internet is also screwed up so this may have
OH CMON STOP THAT!!! Had to turn my mobile into a hotspot... grrr.
1) Well the good news is, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Dallas Cowboys on the road, in an opening game that a lot of pre-game predictions suggested would be one of our toughest matchups. The other good news is, our defense for the most part showed up for it, giving the Cowboys little room in the passing game and bringing enough pressure to make their offense shut down for 3/4 of the night.
1a) The bad news is, our offense did little better. Granted, the Cowboys defense was coming in with a solid reputation and led by a serious talent in Micah Parsons, but we were being led by Tom FREAKING Brady, with wide receiver talent like Mike Evans, Julio Jones, and a hopefully healthy Chris Godwin (with Russell Gage as backup). The Bucs O was able to move the ball more effectively, but when it came time to score we ended up with mostly field goals instead of touchdowns.
There were at least two drives the Bucs got into the Red Zone where bad pass protection allowed Parsons to sack Brady each time too far back to try for the end zone, leaving us with 3 points instead of 7. If we had even one of those make it past the goal line, the score would have been a more convincing 23-3 instead of a rather modest 19-3.
1b) The other bad news is, once again, injuries. For all our hopes that players stay healthy, we got a lot of dings to a number of key players that kept a lot of fans sleepless last night. Losing Left Tackle Donovan Smith early hurt the pass blocking for much of the night. Godwin had to leave early in the Third coming up gimpy on a possible hamstring injury. The 'Boys suffered a major injury when Dak Prescott when out with a broken thumb on the throwing hand, but they're Dallas and we don't care so... anyway. It wasn't a good night in that regard.
1c) What this game was ended up being our last "preseason game" where the starters who missed most of the actual preseason to avoid injures THEN had to relearn this season opener how to play together. This was the first time Brady was throwing to Julio in game-day pressure. This was the first time for a number of rookies and freshly signed free agents figuring how they gel together. The good news about THAT is for the most part they played well, and going forward should play better...
2) Player of the game, considering how it was the Defense that showed up to ball, serious props going out to LB Devin White who had a hell of a game to re-establish himself as one of the top linebackers in the whole league. Two big sacks to lead the stats, plus leading the team in total tackles and 2 Tackles For Loss. Opposing offenses have to keep an eye on where he is from here on in.
2a) Antoine Winfield Jr also showed up, snagging a big interception, mixing up in the team blitzes, and proving our backfield will be a dangerous place to throw to.
2b) On the offensive side, RB Leonard Fournette had one of his best regular season games as a Buc, getting a team-best 127 yards rushing on 21 carries for a 6 YPC average, not too shabby. He also contributed to the passing game with key blocks, including a chip shot on Parsons that protected Brady on a key drive (and pissed off every other defensive player active and retired even though the refs didn't see a problem).
2c) Mike Evans. All he does is show up to give Brady a reliable target for third down conversions, as well as a sure-handed touchdown threat, and getting the only TD pass of the game.
2d) Overall, the Bucs defense deserves a game ball for keeping the 'Boys offense completely out of the Red Zone all night long. The closest they got was the Bucs' 31-yard-line. Arguably one of the best non-shutout defensive performances in team history.
2e) Props to Ryan Succop, whose FGs were most of the scoring we had all night long. Your fantasy owners will be proud.
2f) Punter Jake Carmada had his pro career debut last night... with his first kick bouncing off Dallas' oversized big screen (second-worst ceiling dropdown outside of the Trop's Catwalks), and then the do-over leading to a "Running Into the Kicker" penalty - CMON REFS THAT WAS ROUGHING! - and then getting a third kick downfield for a touchback. This will be one to tell the grandkids.
2g) Julio Jones had a decent debut for the Bucs, showing off his speed on a couple of deep catches. There were not a lot of throws his way, however, but hopefully he and Brady will get in sync by next week now that they've been tested for reals...
3) Statistics of the game: Red Zone offense. Mentioned it earlier but it bears repeating: Dallas NEVER got into the Red Zone, which is a major reason the Bucs kept them to 3 points. Sadly, the Bucs made three visits but went 1-for-3 in the TD category, which doesn't bode well at the moment. You want to be better in the RZ, like 3-for-5 or even 3-for-3. We can't win an entire season on field goals alone.
3a) Rushing numbers: Bucs garnered 152 yards, almost double the Cowboys' 71. Bucs also got 9 first downs via the ground compared to the 'Boys 4, underscoring how Tampa Bay were able to maintain drives where Dallas could not.
3b) PENALTIES WILL BE THE BANE OF... actually the Bucs did okay, only getting flagged 5 times for 25 yards (mostly false starts and offsides) compared to Cowboys' 10 flags for 73 yards. Oddly enough, neither team earned first downs via penalties.
3d) Sacks: Bucs totaled 4 over the Cowboys' 2. We brought a little more pressure and a little more success.
4) It's too early to make impressions, but for the Cowboys this game's results do not bode well. Their coaching/playcalling was suspect for much of the night, and the loss of wide receiver talent during the off-season made it harder for them to challenge the Bucs' more confident secondary. For the Bucs, the lack of scoring power with the passing game can be troubling if we can't adjust and improve against the upcoming games vs. New Orleans and Green Bay.
5) In other NFL News: We almost had three tie games but ended up with only one, between Houston and Indianapolis. The AFC South is already establishing themselves as the most suspect division of the whole league...
5a) Who told Chicago they were allowed to win? That said, the sogginess of Soldier Field - where it got so bad their QB was flagged for wiping down the ground with a dry towel! - begs the question "what happened to tarmacs before the game to keep the grass dry?"
5b) Anybody who has the Vikings Justin Jefferson as a WR on your fantasy team? I officially HATE you. >:(
5c) On the other hand, watching Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers die on the field like that is enjoyable schadenfreude. Tasty.
5d) DAMMIT ATLANTA FALCONS YOU HAD ONE JOB. For the LOVE of all that's holy... they had another big lead, this time on rival New Orleans, where the Saints were just absolutely terrible for the three quarters, but then in the Fourth Quarter they rally back and scored 17 unanswered points to eke out a 27-26 win. This is sad and pathetic and doubly sad. Ever since Atlanta BLEW that Super Bowl game (28-to-3) the team has lost its nerve, its goddamned mind.
5e) Kansas City Chiefs lost like five or six seriously good offensive players - Tyreek Hill above all - and they reloaded and scored 44 points on what's supposed to be a good Arizona team. Okay, I know the popular pick for the AFC champ was Buffalo, but KC is making a strong argument already.
5f) That said, Buffalo wasn't lazy this Thursday either, making their opponent the Rams look haphazard and broken coming off their L.A. Super Bowl high.
5g) Considering how the previous AFC champ Cincinnati Bengals suffered a loss versus what's supposed to be a rebuilding Steelers team, by giving up seven (!) sacks on their young franchise QB Joe Burrow and letting Burrow cough up 4 (!) INTs, points to the obvious problem of how Cincy did little to nothing bulking up that O-Line. You win games in the trenches as much as you win with the scoring talents, people...
6) In college football news: DAMMIT TEXAS, YOU ALMOST HAD THEM. YOU ALMOST BEAT ALABAMA! YOU BLEW IT! WE NEEDED YOU TO RUIN THE BCS AND YOU BLEW IT!
6a) Nebraska finally fired their bad head choke, uh coach Scott Frost after five years of making them look worse than a Conference USA team. They fired him three years too late.
6b) Dear NCAA poll voters: WHY THE EFF DO YOU KEEP PUTTING NOTRE DAME IN THE TOP FIVE EVERY PRESEASON ONLY TO WATCH THEM COLLAPSE AND SINK OFF THE POLLS ALTOGETHER BY WEEK TWO? Okay, I exaggerate, sometimes the Irish are gone by Week Six, but CMON PEOPLE THEY ARE OVERRATED! THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN OVERRATED EVEN IN THE 1990s WHEN THEY WERE STILL COMPETITIVE. I swear to god, the voters keep thinking it's 1947 out there.
The situation with Notre Dame - and other big-name programs - getting over-ranked when they didn't deserve it all points to the folly of having preseason polls in the first place. Every year, these programs have enough talent turnover from drafts - and now from transfers - that whatever success they had last season is meaningless to the new season. You can't honestly tell how good a team is until they actually PLAY ON THE FIELD. Preseason polls should be illegal. Polling should only start AFTER each Division I team has played one home game, one away game, and one game against a conference opponent, meaning we shouldn't have any polls until after Week Two. By then you can tell how bad Notre Dame - and Michigan, and Florida (sigh), and USC, and Western Kentucky - will be.
6c) Speaking of my alma mater Florida, the Gators are finding out that their prize QB Richardson may be a great scrambling threat, but he STILL needs to work on his decision-making on throwing. This is gonna be a long season.
6d) Of my other alma mater South Florida, the Bulls did beat Howard, but that's a lower-division opponent. Until the Bulls can beat the Division I big names like we did back in the glory days of 2007, we're not going to impress anyone.
6e) If the BCS system DOES expand from 4 to 16 teams in a playoff schedule, might as well say goodbye to the invitational Bowl games. They are mostly meaningless now - good for bragging rights and recruiting for the teams able to play the major New Years Day bowls - and will be completely meaningless as the playoffs will be the only thing that matters.
7) In pro baseball news: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD RAYS, WILL YOU HIT THE DAMN BALL BETTER?! WE NEED THE RUNS. ALSO, STOP LOSING TO THE YANKEES.
Sigh. Honestly, we're not going to win the AL East this year, we're too far behind. The Rays will clinch a wild card, the odds are good for us, but we're not likely to win out against this year's best teams like Houston and New York (DAMN THEM YANKEES).
7a) AND WOULD IT KILL YOU STU TO PUT 500 MILLION OF YOUR OWN MONEY TOWARDS A NEW YBOR CITY BALLPARK!!!!
8) In pro hockey news: Come back later, I'm still crying that the Lightning didn't win a threepeat for a back-to-back-to-back boat parade with the Stanley Cup.
Sigh. If anything good to say, the Bolts achieved a rare feat of three straight Cup appearances, which is pretty hard to do in a post-Free Agency era (hasn't happened since the mid-80s).
9) In Internet Service news, SPECTRUM SUCKS. They said a repair person would be here and NOBODY SHOWED. /rage
10) Next Up: The Tampa Bay Bucs travel to a second straight road game to New Orleans to face the Saints. That team didn't look so hot in three quarters of play but then the Falcons choked on them (again), so there's no telling how good or bad they are. Our defense may give Jameis Winston fits with blitzes and good pass coverage, but will the Bucs offense improve well enough to score two or more touchdowns to outpace them?
PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS, YOU FOOLS! I NEED AFFIRMATION.