The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no longer the best team in the NFC by anyone’s standard, but can take solace in the fact they deserve to be called ‘one of’ the best in their division and in the NFC conference. Tampa Bay refused to quit even though they fell down 14-0 and 27-14 and responded with comeback scores from Josh Freeman, who with two major errors may have had one of his worst games of the 2010 season now halfway in the books. Tampa Bay completes its half of its schedule at 5-3, but one yard in the NFL is the difference between being 6-2 or being good for third place in the NFC South one game behind the Atlanta Falcons and half a game behind the Saints who have yet to have their BYE week. So while it’s No. 5 that usually is key for the comebacks, this week Freeman may have been the ultimate demise of the Bucs as his youth provided the plays Atlanta needed for victory over the Bucs. Freeman made two critical mistakes today that he has avoided for the most part in his second season in 2010. The first, with pressure in his face, Freeman threw up a wounded duck prayer that was picked off by Atlanta. The Falcons would score a TD on the short field. Then again later in the game, Freeman stared down his receiver after completing a beautiful pass to Mike Williams, and had the ball picked off. Atlanta did not score a TD off of that turnover however, they did on the first one however. The Bucs defense, porous in the first half, really increased its pressure on the QB greatly, coming up with key stops in the 4th quarter. Yet the Bucs are saying the right things, not claiming any type of moral victory. For us though, as fans, we have to now say the Bucs are a legitimate playoff team with the way they played today. They did NOT get blown out by a good team like they did against Pittsburgh and New Orleans. During the week, starting tomorrow, we will look at the various areas of the Bucs, and how they stack up not only vs other teams, but vs themselves since week 1.
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