Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  2. Trevor Plouffe is DFA'd by Rays, Kittredge recalled for now


    INF Trevor Plouffe didn't do much with the opportunity the Rays gave him, and time ran out Tuesday when he was designated for assignment after the game.

    Plouffe hit just .178, with one homer and two RBIs, in 31 games for the Rays, his primary playing time from starting at first or third against lefties.

  3. Rays journal: Offense shows signs of waking up in win over Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The drought was so severe that it's still probably too soon to say the Rays are out of it, but scoring a half-dozen runs in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Blue Jays was another promising sign.

    Corey Dickerson high-fives Wilson Ramos after hitting a solo home run in the third inning, putting the Rays up 2-1.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    C Wilson Ramos, coming off right knee surgery, often takes it easy on the bases, though it's not always a good look. But he hustled when he needed to Tuesday and got the Rays a run by beating out a two-out infield single, finishing with three more hits.

  5. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.