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FALCONS 14, BUCS 3 // BucShotz

BEST BREAK FOR BUCS

That Falcons animal John Abraham missed the game because of a groin injury. Thank goodness, otherwise the Bucs would not have been able to rack up all those points.

MOST INTRIGUING COMMENT

Jimmy Johnson on the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show suggesting (hinting?) it would benefit everyone if Brett Favre, above, finished his career with the (drum roll) Bucs.

WORST PREGAME PREDICTION

Bucs receiver Joey Galloway telling Fox's Chris Myers that it "should be Cadillac's day.''

WHY IT WAS THE WORST

Cadillac Williams touched the ball on six of the Bucs' first seven plays (including an incomplete pass) then touched the ball only 10 times the rest of the day.

MOST TELLING STAT

The Bucs threw 53 times. That's not a good sign unless we're talking the Arena league.

PLAY THAT NEEDS TO BE THROWN OUT OF the BUCS' PLAYBOOK

The 1-yard out to Mike Alstott.

WORST CALL

For the second straight week, Ronde Barber was hit with a flat-out wrong interference call that led to the other team's first score.

NOT THE WORST CALL

I'm pretty sure I'm in a minority of one, but I thought Ryan Nece did illegally bump into Warrick Dunn on Derrick Brooks' nullified interception return for a touchdown. Either way, by my math, the Bucs still would've come up four points short. And, no, a touchdown there would not have suddenly plugged in the Bucs offense. What, the offense stopped trying after that?

BIGGEST SCRATCH-YOUR-HEAD PASS

On the drive after Derrick Brooks' interception, the Bucs faced third and 8 and threw a 5-yard pass to Anthony Becht. We're just spit-balling here, but ... huh?

A SECOND THOUGHT

Really, really think about this. You do realize, don't you, that the Bucs came within one second at the end of the first half of being shut out for the second straight week.

BUCS MVP

More than anyone, Atlanta's Michael Koenen, above, kept the Bucs in the game by going 0-for-4 on field goals, with one blocked.

FUNNIEST-BECAUSE-IT'S-TRUE COMMENT

Fox's Brian Baldinger on Chris Simms: "At some point, you just stop counting the deflections because there are so many.''

BEST OBSERVATION

Brian Baldinger commenting that even on completions, Chris Simms is late getting balls to receivers. "Because he's not sure,'' Baldinger added.

WORST COMMENT

Brian Baldinger nearly blew his strong game by suggesting the last play of the game could be the Bucs' most important all year. Dude, it was 14-3. And even scoring a touchdown (yippee!) could not have made this pill go down easier.

MOST BIZARRE REQUEST

If our lip-reading was up to snuff, we saw Jon Gruden asking Chris Simms to remove one part of his anatomy from another part of his anatomy. We think he swore, too.

PIECE OF ADVICE

Fox needs to do a better job promoting its show House.

WORST-CASE-SCENARIO GAME

Would you rather be Chris Simms walking toward Jon Gruden after a bad pass or John Grahame, last season, skating toward John Tortorella after a bad goal?

MOST FRUSTRATINGLY OVERUSED WORD

Bucs radio color commentary Hardy Nickerson used the word "frustrating'' 513 times. Okay, we're exaggerating. Only a bit. But we do understand his, uh, frustration.

JUST WONDERING

The Bucs had to choose between a roughing the quarterback call and an interference penalty on the same play. But in this instance, shouldn't both penalties count? If the pass had been caught, the roughing penalty would've been tacked on. But it wasn't caught because the receiver was interfered with. The defense shouldn't benefit because of it, should it?

BEST REDEMPTION

The Bucs' Dewayne White takes a selfish unsportsmanlike conduct penalty but then kills the Atlanta drive by blocking a field goal.

WORST CLOCK MANAGEMENT

Down 11, the Bucs get the ball with 2:42 left and run only two plays for 15 yards before the two-minute warning.

STATING THE OBVIOUS

Gripe all you want to about Chris Simms, the offensive line, the defense, Matt Bryant, the play-calling and the officials, but two words explain this defeat: the second word is Vick.

STRANGEST COMMENT

After the game, Michael Vick, above, told Chris Myers his running was not part of the original game plan. Which begs the question: Why not?

BEST REASON FOR HOPE

The 1989 Steelers started 0-2, were outscored 92-10 in those two games and still rallied to make the playoffs. And Bubby Brister was their quarterback, for crying out loud.

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