Heading into yesterday’s home opener, the Bucs had more wins last season than their opponent had in the previous three combined. It looked lopsided on paper: a winning team that came close to the playoffs versus the team who hadn’t been in the postseason since the Clinton administration.
It didn’t turn out that way. The Lions are back and the Buccaneers need to right their ship.
It’s a deceptive stat the Detroit only won by a TD, 27-20. The Lions dominated physically, stopping Tampa twice in short-yardage. A simple run up the middle? Couldn’t be done with the Lions smacking the Bucs in their mouths. It was like that all day. The Lions held the Bucs to three-and-out six times in 11 possessions. After three quarters, Tampa only had 128 yards.
This was Detroit playing old school NFC North football, the kind you’d see on Thanksgiving. They pummeled the Buccaneers all day, holding them to just 56 yards rushing and rendering third-year QB Josh Freeman ineffective. Freeman’s first TD came with 1:35 left in the game, when it didn’t matter anyway.
Next, the Bucs travel north to face the Minnesota Vikings, stinging after collapsing against the San Diego Chargers 24-17despite leading by 10 at the half. One team has to score points earlier and not get pushed around; the other has to figure out how to hold on to a lead. It’s only week two, but one of these teams’ playoff hopes could take a big hit with this one.