Remember football adage #43
“The only time you care about how you look when you win is when you play in a nudist colony.”
Remember life adage #17
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
For Bruce Arians, the 20-14 win was as pretty as they come. Only days after that embarrassing loss at home in the season opener, any kind of victory was a sight for extremely sore Buccaneer eyes. Yet, the Bucs went to an NFC South rival and earned their first road win in more than a year.
It was Arians’ first triumph as Buccaneers’ head coach. Arians was brought here to mature Jameis Winston and change the team culture. If it’s possible for one win to change a culture, this had to be it. The Bucs showed toughness. The Bucs survived despite mistakes. And as for Winston, he showed he really can play a football game without spewing an interception.
I don’t care that the defense allowed Carolina to drive 73 yards in the final two minutes while clinging desperately to a six-point lead. With the game on the line, Vernon Hargreaves pushed Christian McCaffery out of bounds on 4th-and-one at the Buccaneer 2 and the Bucs evened their record at 1-1. Carolina made nine trips deep inside Buccaneer territory and never scored a touchdown.
Rough Night For Carolina
Cam Newton and McCaffrey had rough nights. The only human at Bank of America Stadium to look worse was NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin wearing his barf green, red shirt and tie combination. The Buccaneer defense made for the Newton and McCaffrey nights. I have no idea what Irvin’s excuse was.
The defense held McCaffrey to 53 total yards. Shaq Barrett sacked Newton three times and Todd Bowles’ defense harassed Newton to 24-for-51 passing for 333 yards and no touchdowns.
Newton clearly had no feel on this night. Much like announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman who kept repeating on the final seconds, “unless something unforeseen happens, the Bucs will hand Carolina and 0-and-2 start.”
Something “unforeseen??!!” It’s obvious they haven’t seen many Buccaneer games.
Winston was solid, hitting 16-of-25 passes for 208 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Chris Godwin had eight catches for 121 yards and that touchdown. The Buccaneer offense survived despite only converting 2-of-12 on third down. Overall the Buccaneers had 13 penalties, yet it was Carolina that made the biggest mistakes by game’s end.
Don’t expect the Hall of Fame to request the game ball. Chances are much of America tuned out by halftime. But this Buccaneers team and its fans don’t give a rip. To them, this victory was more stunning than a sunset on Clearwater Beach. Or better yet, a full moon over Caliente Resort…not that I would know.