November 08, 2009
They brought to mind greats like Lee Roy Selmon (who was given a place in the team's Ring of Honor today), Doug Williams, Ricky Bell and John McKay. They also brought back memories of 26 straight losses to begin the franchise's history and Steve Spurrier, starting quarterback. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, looking for their first win since Nov. 30 of last year, put on their old "creamsicle" jerseys and took on the Green Bay Packers at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs had to play catch-up multiple times, erasing Packers leads, but they did that. They also picked off three Aaron Rodgers(notes) passes and sacked Rodgers six times. Rodgers' final pick was returned by safety Tanard Jackson(notes) for a 35-yard touchdown that put the game out of reach at a 38-28 final.
On offense, rookie quarterback Josh Freeman(notes) looked solid in his first NFL start, showing the advantage of his size and mobility when protections broke down and a nice feel for the pocket when he was able. The Packers were up, 28-17, at one point in the fourth quarter before Freeman threw touchdown passes to Kellen Winslow(notes) and Sammie Stroughter(notes). Freeman completed 14 passes in 31 attempts for 205 yards, three touchdowns and an interception -- not earth-shattering numbers, but great news for a team that's been struggling to get anything going on either side of the ball all season. There are still major problems on defense; Tampa Bay's frequent man coverage and single-safety looks leave it open to more big plays than just about any defense in the game, even though Ronde Barber(notes) played as if he'd found a time machine. But this was a big deal overall, especially for first-year head coach Raheem Morris, who picked up his first win.
Our only fear is that the Bucs will tie this win, and the totemic value of those jerseys together, and we'll see them again. Back to the pewter, guys!
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