Bucs receivers come up with big day
The lack of explosive plays from the Bucs’ receivers had been glaring. And they had been undistinguished in other ways, too, with too many costly drops, penalties and mistakes of other sorts in recent weeks.
For an offense that relies so heavily on a unit it considers a strength, it was an unfortunate trend for Tampa Bay.
That trend came to an abrupt end on Sunday, with four receivers making numerous key plays in a hotly-contested NFC South matchup.
Take, for example, Arrelious Benn’s 65-yard touchdown on a deep post, exploiting the Saints’ use of single-safety coverage, hauling in a rainbow pass from QB Josh Freeman. Or, consider Dezmon Briscoe’s diving 17-yard reception with 2:31 left, a catch that survived a replay challenge and got the first down that iced the game. And don't forget Preston Parker's 19-yard touchdown reception.
Collectively, it was the unit’s best game of the season. But why?
“I think it was focus,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “When you have a young team like this, sometimes it comes easy to guys. Maybe last year it came easy. But we just preached all week to focus on the details. We still have some things to clean up, but just their preparation and paying attention to the details all week (was better).
“It doesn’t start when you come in on Sunday to play the game. it starts when you come back to work on Tuesday. They were focused – that was part of it – and then there was their preparation.”
Receiver is a position that was projected to be quite deep, but the Bucs finally showed that depth on Sunday.
“It tells you what kind of explosive players we have,” Benn said. “We’re all explosive and we all want to make plays. And we all believe in each other. It’s not just one guy or two guys. If I go down, I believe Briscoe can step up and do the job. Same thing with Mike (Williams). If he goes down, (Mike) Spurlock can do the job. Those are the kind of guys we’ve got.”