Talk of the town
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
1. Divided in the division: So much for that critical three-game stretch of NFC South games. The Bucs went in with a grip on first place and came out with wild-card aspirations. Technically, they can still win the division if they win their final two games and Carolina loses theirs. Realistically, the Bucs are heading to Arizona Jan. 3 or 4.
2. The (non)play of the game: Atlanta's Matt Ryan was scrambling toward a first down when Kevin Carter stripped him from behind in overtime. The ball fell at the feet of Barrett Ruud and Derrick Brooks, and was recovered by guard Justin Blalock, who, at 320 pounds, apparently moves like a ninja.
3. Yo, Mike Smith: You're not the first coach I've seen yell at an opposing player this year. Just the first one who wasn't coaching a team with Junior or Peewee in the name.
4. Unfortunately, looks are not deceiving: The Bucs either punted or turned the ball over on nine of their first 10 possessions. If only they gave extra credit for the number of players in motion before the snap.
5. Hey, a bright side: The little guy who wasn't all that quick is getting it done in his 12th season. Ronde Barber gives up a few more plays these days, but the best cornerback in Bucs history has 37 career interceptions and is getting close to making a case for Canton.
A list of five
Five things overheard in the Bucs huddle.
5. "The two-minute offense is supposed to be a style not a result."
4. "So I told him, 'No Joel, I've never heard Bryan toot in your office.' "
3. "Yes operator, a number for Galloway. G-a-l-l-o-w-a-y."
2. "First my wife, now the referee. I'm telling you I don't false start!"
1. "Um, Jon, I don't think $&#* @&%#@* is in the playbook."
Five most ridiculous penalties
Fourth runnerup: Harvey Dahl is called for a personal foul, but Jermaine Phillips decided to argue with the referee and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. This could have been worse, but Aqib Talib bailed out Phillips with an interception on the next play.
Third runnerup: Jeremy Trueblood saves both of his false start penalties for third-and-short situations. Trueblood is up to a team-leading 11 penalties this season.
Second runnerup: Bucs try to fool the Falcons with a quick snap on third and 1 at the Atlanta 30. Unfortunately, they fool themselves when center Jeff Faine is called for a false start. They don't convert, and Matt Bryant misses a 53-yard field goal.
First runnerup: Minutes after saving the game with a blocked punt, Brian Clark begins the overtime with a holding penalty on the kickoff.
And the most ridiculous penalty: Having to watch that offense.
Five Super picks
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.
1. Steelers: Mike Tomlin just might replace Jon Gruden as youngest Super Bowl winner.
2. Panthers: Could Jake Delhomme be the weakest two-time Super Bowl QB ever?
3. Giants: Playing the Panthers next week for No. 1 seed in NFC.
4. Ravens: Michael Phelps is teaching them to shave and taper.
8. Bucs: Keyshawn Johnson, in a suit, is better than all but one of their receivers.
Final five words
Better hope San Diego stinks.