Close doesn't cut it for Bucs

Published Sept. 16, 2013

Close doesn't count

Take absolutely no solace in the fact that the Bucs have come oh so close to winning their first two games. This is the NFL. Most games are close. Most games come down to a big play here or a turnover there. And when you do the stupid things the Bucs have done the first two weeks, you deserve to be 0-2.

Let's count the brain cramps Sunday.

There were three more personal foul penalties for shots to the head. There were two plays when the Bucs literally couldn't line up correctly, including one that wiped out a touchdown. They were called for a delay of game on the first play of a series. Oh, you'll love this one: The Bucs had to use a timeout before a punt return.

Even when the Bucs did something good, such as stuffing the Saints on a goal-line stand late in the first half, they did so because a player had to race onto the field just to give the Bucs 10 players.

Not exactly what you would expect from a team run by Greg "Toes on the Line" Schiano. At least Schiano took full responsibility, although, geez, should a coach have to go out there and physically show NFL players where to stand?

"It's very disappointing, and it falls on me," Schiano said. "I'm not getting it done, so I'm going to get it done."

Disturbing numbers

QB Josh Freeman deserves every bit of criticism you can throw his way, but can we all agree that the only receiving weapons he has are Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams? Of Freeman's 22 attempts Sunday, 17 were to Jackson or Williams. In 56 attempts over two games, Freeman has targeted Jackson or Williams 38 times. In fact, so far Freeman has thrown only eight passes to someone other than Jackson, Williams and Doug Martin.

Good sign, bad sign

Give the offensive line some credit. After being thrashed and criticized after Week 1, it rebounded to protect the quarterback and open up enough holes for Martin to rush for 144 yards. That's good. What's bad? You would think an effective running game would benefit Freeman's passing game. It didn't.

Best quote

"A loss is a loss."

— Bucs LB Mason Foster, correctly pointing out that this isn't horseshoes

Three things that popped into my head

1. For the second week in a row, S Dashon Goldson was flagged for a hit to the head and, honestly, it's a wonder he doesn't get busted more often, as often as he leads with his head. Any more and Goldson is being flat-out reckless.

2. Despite giving up a winning drive in the final minute for the second straight week, this Bucs defense appears much improved. It gets after the QB and creates turnovers. And you barely even notice CB Darrelle Revis because teams rarely even look in his direction.

3. Schiano might take some heat for going for a field goal on the last offensive drive instead of punting or going for a first down. But, come on, an NFL kicker needs to make 47-yarders.

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Final thought

Next up: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots. The only way this thing gets worse is if the Bucs sign Joel Peralta to play quarterback. Actually, the way Freeman is playing …