Freeman's comeback ability - his "signature move" - rubs off on other Bucs
Bucs coach Raheem Morris loved the resiliency and fight his team showed in a 24-20 come-from-behind victory over the Vikings in Minneapolis Sunday.
But as good as Tampa Bay - and, specifically, quarterback Josh Freeman - have been at battling back (like a 17-0 deficit Sunday), Morris said he'd rather have his team start off a little faster in games.
"We don't have to win every game like that," Morris said. "Let's go win some games in a more convincing fashion, just for the head coach's health. But other than that, it's fun. It's Bucs football. That's Buccaneers football."
More specifically, it's Freeman Football. Freeman has orchestrated eight come-from-behind victories in his career, eclipsing Peyton Manning, who had seven in his first 31 starts. And one week after Morris said his team blinked, and lost a little of its swagger, it was Freeman who set the tone Sunday.
"The first game, he kind of got rattled," Morris said. "When we talked about 'blinking,' talked about all those things with the whole team, he's definitely one of those guys that can use him as an example. Yesterday, at 17-0, he was cool, he was as calm as he's been. He was on the sideline, getting everything corrected. Came over to me one time, his mouth bleeding, he looked me right in the face, 'We got this, we're okay.' I'm looking at my quarterback's mouth bleeding and it's kind of a situation you don't want to look at too often. He got things rolling for us, and able to come back in the fourth quarter. It's becoming a signature move for him."
It's so common, it's in everybody's head.
"It happened for me last year, every game we played, it was the fourth quarter, and if we were down, we were up, whatever the case may be, for me personally in my head I'm thinking, 'All right, when is Josh going to do it again? Here he goes.' And the times he didn't do it, I was shocked, the two Atlanta games last year. For our football team, I think it's a great belief when you got that kind of confidence in your quarterback to be able to go out and win those types of games."
Bucs defensive end Michael Bennett put it best.
"He's very poised at any moment - he doesn't really fear any situation. A quarterback like that, a leader like that, you've got to fee that vibe off him where you can't really be scared of any situation, just like him. .. It's what great leadership does. He's such a great leader, when he's in a moment where everybody else is frightful, he's just like, 'This is my time to shine.' That's what makes him so good."
-- JOE SMITH