After the debacle that was the 2009 season, who would have thought the Bucs, with that of the lowest payroll in the NFL would be sitting at 2-0 after two games. Behind a stellar performance by Josh Freeman, who carried the offense and improved his recorded as a starter to 5-6 beat the Panthers 20-7 on the road in a hostile environment. Freeman completed 12-of-24 passes for 178-yards and 2 touchdowns. He also added 43-yards rushing on four carries.
Freeman wasn’t the only bright spot for the Bucs, as the defense played an inspired game for the second week in a row. It appears that a trend is beginning to develop early in games as the run defense has a propensity to give up yards on the ground. In the first half against the Panthers dynamic duo of Williams and Stewart the Bucs surrounded 81-yards on 16 carries for a 5.1 yard average. Then as with the game last week against the Browns they do a much better job in their respective run fits and stymie the run evident by the fact the Panthers managed just 38-yards on 17 carries for an average of 2.2 yards per carry.
That’s not all the defense did to help protect a seven point lead. They were able to harass Matt Moore with pressure and ended the game with four sacks, two interceptions, four quarterback hits, and one fumble.
Tim Crowder – even after being demoted behind the hand picked player in Kyle Moore, Crowder continues to show his explosiveness with two sacks and a forced fumble. Crowder who is quickly becoming known as the “King of Hustle” has put Moore on notice that he’s not going to just go away and at this rate might leapfrog Moore after the bye week as the Bucs starting LE.
Kellen Winslow – After missing practice all week with a sore knee Winslow was doubtful and a game time decision. But Winslow who’s had six knee operations somehow managed to be a clutch player when it counted catching four passes for 83-yards.
Ronde Barber – After not recording an interception in 2009, Barber now has two interceptions, in two games and set an NFL record in the process. Barber is now the only player in NFL history to record 25 sacks and 35 interceptions in a career.
Greg Olson – No not so much the calls, but just the conviction he showed in sticking with the run, even when it wasn’t working. It showed patience and maturity. The commitment to run showed Olson’s conviction in helping the Bucs win and protecting his still developing quarterback.
Run Blocking – For the second straight week the ground game has been erratic, almost to the point of nonexistent. Through two games the Bucs are averaging 107-yards per game. Seems respectable on the surface, but if it wasn’t for Josh Freeman who has 36% of the teams total rushing yards with 77-yards on six carries. The Bucs running backs would be averaging a mere 68.5 yards per game or 2.4 yards per carry. It’s not like there not getting touches either as they are averaging 29 rushing attempts per game.
Hard to pick something that was truly ugly when the team wins, especially on the road in a hostile environment. Just like last week, not going to nitpick. Would much rather enjoy the win and look for further improvements from a very young team.