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Three plays worth another look for Sunday's Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New England Patriots game

Barrett's big miss

. Barrett Ruud didn't mince words. What looked like a simple crossing route became a 21-0 deficit when receiver Sam Aiken escaped the linebacker's grasp around midfield and jetted down the right sideline for a second-quarter touchdown.

"It always starts in the mirror," Ruud said. "And it's not going to be good when you play, individually, like I did. I recognized the play. It was just tackling. It was routine. It's what I've done thousands of times in my life. When you miss one like that and it turns into a touchdown, it's hard to let that go. It's not a hard play."

Ruud didn't have to wonder where the ball was going. Tom Brady stared Aiken down seemingly from the snap until Aiken caught the ball between the hash marks. Ruud's missed tackle proved critical because help from the safety had been taken away by receivers down the field, leaving Ruud in a one-on-one situation. Though he was chasing Aiken from behind, Ruud was in position to make the tackle.

"It's a play I should make 100 times out of 100," he said. "There's just no excuse for it."

Brady beats the blitz

. The Bucs, admittedly, were leery of blitzing Tom Brady, knowing the quarterback can exploit such tactics with his split-second decision-making and ability to diagnose defenses. But with 9:19 left in the third quarter, the Bucs did it anyway.

With Brady in the shotgun and the Bucs showing blitz, he found the resulting mismatch and hit tight end Benjamin Watson on a seam route for a 35-yard touchdown. Watson, considered one of the league's faster tight ends, was isolated against linebacker Geno Hayes, who trailed Watson from the moment he ran by him at about the 25.

It was "one of those situations when you talk about Tom Brady being special and recognizing the mismatch," coach Raheem Morris said. "You have to be able to hide it a little bit better. We can make that play, and I've seen Geno make it before. And I've seen him make it on tight ends. But their guy made a better play."

Morris doesn't go for it

. Down 28-7, the Bucs were at the New England 35 with 37 seconds left in the third quarter. And after receiver Antonio Bryant dropped a seemingly catchable ball on third and 6, coach Raheem Morris opted to punt rather than go for the first down. What was Morris thinking?

"Not to give Tom Brady … the ball with the short field," he said. "He's going to put a dagger in you. You try to keep him backed up. You don't want to give him the ball there and, with two first downs, give him the opportunity to get more field goals and points."

In the end, it didn't matter. The Patriots took over at their 11, and 10 plays later, Laurence Maroney scored on a 1-yard run..

Three plays worth another look for Sunday's Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New England Patriots game 10/25/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 25, 2009 9:15pm]

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