Emotional moments played out all over the NFL on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. In Atlanta, just like everywhere across the league, there was a video message from President Obama prior to kickoff. That was followed by a moment of silence and a stirring rendition of the national anthem. In a time when much of the country is bitterly divided over the upcoming presidential election, it was meaningful to come together and remember the tragic events of that horrifying day. For at least a few minutes, America, just like the day following 9/11, felt united again. GRADE: A+.
NO FUN LEAGUE
So let me get this right. You can blast away at a quarterback's head all you want (see last Thursday's game when Panthers QB Cam Newton was practically decapitated by the Broncos), but you better not celebrate a sack. Seriously, the NFL needs to lighten up. After Bucs defensive tackle Gerald MCoy sacked Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan early in the third quarter, he celebrated with teammate Kwon Alexander. Apparently, you can't do that. McCoy and Alexander were flagged for a "choreographed celebration." McCoy and Alexander would be welcome on Dancing With The Stars, but not in the NFL. The league's disciplinary system for on and off the field infractions is completely out of whack. So, judges, what say you? GRADE: B (for the celebration) and F (for the flag).
YOU'RE IN GOOD HANDS
Four touchdown passes by Jameis Winston. Four different receivers. Four sensational catches, each one more spectacular than the last. It started with a sure-handed grab by Brandon Myers for his first touchdown with the Bucs. What followed was Charles Sims catching a screen and bouncing off tacklers like one of those old Electric Football games. Then came leaping, diving, juggling and whatever awesome adjective you can think of catches by Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Mike Evans. Call them the good-hands people. GRADE: A.
WHAT A FEET
Guess that whole narrative about how kicker Roberto Aguayo was the worst second-round draft pick in the history of sports is on hiatus. The Bucs kicker was a perfect five-for-five in his NFL debut, booting home four extra points and a 43-yard field goal. On our pass/fail grades (that's how it works with all kickers) Aguayo gets a ... GRADE: Pass.
In Sunday's Tampa Bay Times, we told you how Dirk Koetter's favorite book is Dr. Suess' Oh, The Places You'll Go. But Koetter's best book might be his offensive playbook. Koetter did a masterful job getting the Bucs offense going after a slow start by quarterback Jameis Winston. Mixing in running plays and screens, along with some well-timed deep balls, Koetter directed the Bucs to 31 points. That makes Koetter's playbook a must-read. GRADE: A.
WHY I OUGHTA
Play turned a little chippy Sunday with several personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to go along with the usual griping and complaining about the other guy that you get in a divisional game. Should make for an interesting rematch when the teams meet Nov. 3 at Raymond James Stadium. In the meantime, as far as the conduct of the players? GRADE: Unsatisfactory.