Bucs Give Cowboys Early Christmas Present

‘Tis the season for giving.  So, it seems only appropriate that the Buccaneers gift-wrapped a win for the Cowboys today.

 

There were two key plays that stood out.  First, there was Jameis Winston getting blindsided, fumbling, and Jaylon Smith running it all the way back for a touchdown in the first quarter.  Then, it was another fumble by Winston in the third quarter on a botched handoff that Dallas recovered at the Tampa Bay 4.  Two plays later, the Cowboys were up by 14.

 

But there’s more.  On the ensuing drive, the Bucs had the ball for over nine minutes, ran 17 plays, and ended up with zero points.  On the second-to-last play of the drive, Tampa Bay had fourth down on the Cowboys 2-yard line, and got hit with a delay of game penalty.  How the heck does that happen in a situation like that?

 

These are the Bucs; anything’s possible.

 

Tampa Bay had nine penalties in all.  That’s coaching.  I’ve blasted previous head coaches for lack of discipline, and I won’t hold back this time, either.  I’m looking squarely at you, Dirk Koetter.  I hope you have only one game left as head coach in Tampa, despite an NFL Network report saying the opposite may be true.  Yes, Dallas was matching the Bucs penalty-for-penalty, but that’s not what I’m getting at.

 

And don’t give me any of this baloney about how the Bucs outgained the Cowboys in total yards.  You can put up 600 yards of offense every week, but it you keep self-destructing, it makes no difference.

 

So, we have ourselves another 10-loss season.  The season finale is next Sunday at Ray-Jay against the Falcons.  One more week of this torture.  Drink heavily, Bucs fans.

 

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

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Bucs Win! It Wasn’t Pretty, But We’ll Take It

For a moment, it looked like another agonizing defeat for the Buccaneers. Instead, they beat the Cowboys in a game that made you wonder, “how the heck did they pull that out?”

Tampa Bay beat Dallas, 10-6, with Jameis Winston scoring on a bootleg in the final minute.

All of the action happened in the final half of the fourth quarter because….well, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about otherwise. The Bucs were driving late in the fourth quarter when Winston threw behind his intended receiver, and was picked off for the second time in the game. He hadn’t committed a turnover in four games until now.

But the Bucs got the ball back, and marched down to the Dallas 4-yard line. On 3rd and goal, Winston sprinted toward the goal line and leapt through the air, much like he did last week against the Giants. But this time, he lost the ball, seemingly on his own, and Dallas recovered in the end zone.

Game over, right?  Wrong. The Cowboys’ Jeff Heath was flagged for defensive holding, giving the Bucs a second chance. Winston walked into the end zone untouched on the next play to give the Buccaneers the lead.

Gave over, right?  Nope – these are the Bucs. A personal foul penalty against the Buccaneers on the kickoff (they ALWAYS seem to get flagged on special teams!) gave the Cowboys the ball with decent field position. They marched into Bucs territory when Matt Cassel threw one deep for Dez Bryant in the end zone. But Bradley McDougald came up with the game-saving interception. Did McDougald give him a little push? Yes. But on the other hand, he was looking back at the ball the whole time. Geez, it’s about time Tampa Bay caught a break.

With the win, the Buccaneers improve to 4-5. In the Monday Column, I talked about the defense needing to step it up. This was, by far, their best performance of the season. They held the Cowboys to two field goals and 216 total yards. Yes, they caught a break with Tony Romo being out with an injury. But still, this unit has let so-so quarterbacks light them up this season, so it was nice to see them come up big in the clutch.

Photo courtesy: buccaneers.com