Monday, November 5, 2007

Score Does Not Reflect Game in Bucs Win

The Bucs beat the Cardinals 17-10 on Sunday, but the score was not indicative of how the game went. The Bucs dominated the game on both sides of the ball for most of the game. The offense moved the ball all game, but came away empty handed on two long drives, which kept the game close. The Buc defense played great and outside of one long drive in the fourth quarter, held the Cardinals offense in check all game.

The Bucs offensive line had probably its best game of the year against the Cardinals. The Cards used multiple defensive fronts to try and confuse Jeff Garcia and the Buc offense. It succeeded in stopping the pass a couple times, but was ineffective against the Buc rushing attack. Earnest Graham became the first Bucs running back in 14 games to go over 100 yards. The offensive line opened holes for Graham and he ran well through those holes and over people. His touchdown run was only 3 yards, but it was a tough three yards that shows just what this guy can do when he is given the ball. Graham has waited for this moment and he has shown in his time that he can be the guy for this team. He has gotten better every week that he has been the starter and seems to get stronger as the game goes on.

The Buc defense gave up a long pass to Larry Fitzgerald in the beginning of the game, but after that they kept the Cardinals from moving down the field regularly. The secondary had an outstanding game deflecting passes, hitting the wide receivers just as they catch the ball, and grabbing interceptions. The front four did not get a sack, but did get enough pressure up front to stop the run and to make Kurt Warner throw awkwardly. The tackling by the front four allowed both Tanard Jackson and Jermaine Phillips to play deep and not have to worry about run support. With being able to play back in coverage the safeties were able to disrupt passes with devastating hits and getting into the wide outs minds. Jackson had one interception and 5 pass break ups on his own. Jackson and Phillips were laying the wide outs out all game and made them think that they would get hit every time they caught the ball. The linebackers were not asked to do much because the front four were able to stop the run and get pressure on the quarterback by themselves. The defense stepped up and had another great day.

While the Bucs had a great game, you could not tell by the score and that is something that they will need to fix in the future to beat the better teams out there. The Bucs had two very long drives that got zero points out of. Alex Smith's dropped touchdown pass in the end zone turned the momentum in the game and had the defense not stepped up it could have been very bad. When you have long drives like that you need to get points. Hopefully the Bucs will be able to get those points in the future, but it was just enough for now.

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