Bucs' win a sneak preview of team Lovie Smith wants to be

Bucs cornerback Johnthan Banks heads for the end zone for a touchdown after intercepting Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. [AP photo]
Bucs cornerback Johnthan Banks heads for the end zone for a touchdown after intercepting Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. [AP photo]
Published Nov. 17, 2014

Best win

This is how it was supposed to look all along.

When Lovie Smith took over as head coach of the Bucs, and when he brought in veteran quarterback Josh McCown as quarterback, and when he told everyone that being a good football team in 2014 was possible, surely he had games like Sunday's in mind.

An aggressive and dynamic offense. A swarming ball-hawking defense. Heck, even some nice special teams. Add it all up and you have, easily, the best Bucs performance of the season.

If nothing else, it's a sneak preview of the type of team Smith wants the Bucs to be.

Against Washington, the defense had six sacks, 11 hits on the quarterback, seven tackles for losses, three takeaways and a score on cornerback Johnthan Banks' interception return for a touchdown.

The offense centered around first-round pick Mike Evans, who has needed less than a season to establish himself as one of the best wide receivers in the game. He was dominant Sunday with two touchdowns and more than 200 yards receiving.

Most off all, the Bucs won the turnover battle, three to one. Tampa Bay's lone turnover came on a muffed punt, but otherwise, McCown and the offense protected the football.

In the end, that's how all this is supposed to look.

Worst win

Not that you would ever throw back a victory, but in the grand scheme of things, maybe winning games down the stretch isn't the best thing in the world for the Bucs. Too many wins are going to gum up the team's chances at a really high draft pick in the spring.

Current players don't care about that stuff. They are trying to keep their jobs and restore some pride. The coach is trying to get players to buy into his program, so he's sifting through the pile for every victory he can find.

When you get right down to it, you could argue that seasons come down to one thing: Do you make the playoffs or not? If you do, great. And if you don't, isn't it better to have the best draft pick possible?

Still, most Bucs fans would rather spend their Sundays watching wins than cursing at the screen, dreaming about future drafts.

Worst quarterback

Rotten day for Washington QB Robert Griffin III. He was 23-for-32 for a mere 207 yards and two interceptions. Funny how just a couple of years ago, everyone was raving about how good all these young quarterbacks were: RG3, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. I wouldn't give up on any of these guys, but these days, it seems like the only absolute sure bet to be a star for years and years is Luck.

Three things that popped into my head

1. No doubt, Lovie Smith will preach how the Bucs are only two games out of first place in the NFL South with six games left. I'd like to tell him that such talk is a bunch of nonsense for a two-win team, but the fact is, uh, the Bucs are only two games out with six games left. Amazing.

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2. The Bucs still have plenty of cleaning up to do. They committed 11 penalties for 101 yards. It was the fourth time this season they were flagged at least 10 times in a game.

3. The stats for the Bucs' Michael Koenen: four punts, 41.3 average, two punts inside the Washington 20. That's how you do it. Guess flirting with another punter on the practice squad is pretty good motivation.

Final thought

The only crying after the game came from Washington fans. Not only is your team's nickname offensive, but those wearing the uniforms are pretty offensive, too … and I don't mean in a good way.