Talk of the town
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
Long may you run: You could make a case this was Tampa Bay's best day running the football in nearly 10 years. It has been that long since the Bucs had at least 30 rushing attempts and averaged more than 6.0 yards per carry. This is a different team in November than it was in September, and LeGarrette Blount is the reason.
Just saying: Everyone has an opinion about playoff chances, but recent history says the Bucs are sitting pretty. In the past five years, 64.2 percent of the teams that have started 6-3 have reached the postseason.
Flailing Irish: Jimmy Clausen did the impossible. He made me feel sorry for Charlie Weis.
Hell no, we won't go: Stop me if this sounds familiar, but Tampa Bay is last in the NFC in attendance. Sunday's crowd brought the season average down to 49,258, which looks even worse when you realize it had been above 64,000 for 13 consecutive seasons.
Sharing the load: By giving Blount more playing time, the Bucs might actually be making Cadillac Williams a more effective runner. Blount is in the backfield when Josh Freeman is under center, and Williams is typically brought in for spread formations. This means most of Williams' carries come in passing situations, which gives him more running lanes.
A list of five
Five signs this is not Jon Gruden's offense.
5. Keyshawn Johnson likes it.
4. Receivers can actually outrun the head coach.
3. If it were, Bruce Allen would be taking credit.
2. Quarterback not a candidate for Cialis commercial.
1. No carries for Mike Alstott. (Hmm, maybe it is Gruden's offense.)
Five scrap heap pickups
LeGarrette Blount: Hard to believe 255 players were drafted while Blount was ignored. He leads all rookie running backs in rushing yards per game, is tied for the lead in touchdowns and has more runs of 20-plus yards than any rookie.
Ted Larsen: It was hardly noticed when the kid from Palm Harbor University was waived by the Patriots and signed by the Bucs in September. Now he's the starting left guard.
Erik Lorig: Technically a seventh-round pick, but the Bucs released him Sept. 14, and then he was fair game on the practice squad for two weeks. Now the former defensive end is the starting fullback.
Rick Scott: Barely a name in the polls in 2009. Now he's the starting governor.
James Lee: Did you know this was his third season here? Undrafted in 2008, waived by Cleveland, Lee spent time on the practice roster and did not play in 24 of his first 25 games. Now, since he replaced injured Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle, the Bucs have averaged 30 points a game.
Five super picks
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLV in Dallas.
1. Falcons: Still have two freebies against the Panthers.
2. Jets: Only Lions and Browns have missed more Super Bowls.
3. Saints: Just keep Shockey away from the beignets.
4. Steelers: Watched Boardwalk Empire instead of Sunday night game.
13. Bucs: Why couldn't 2009 have been the year of the blackout?
Final five words
Can't keep calling them flukes.