© St. Petersburg Times, published October 21, 2002
TALK OF THE TOWN
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio:
O NO: This is what you feared. Or maybe what you expected. The offense, which was barely good enough against mediocre competition, can't get it done against good teams. The offensive line does not have enough power for a running game and is not proficient enough for a passing game. It is not a good sign when your odds of scoring increase when you're playing defense.
BK BROILER: The Eagles were clearly picking on Brian Kelly, and the Bucs cornerback more than handled the heat.
A TASTE OF WHINE: Referees have a difficult job. The game moves quickly and the action is intense. No one can be blamed for blowing a call. But blowing a call when you have instant replay? That's inept.
REAL ESTATE IS EVERYTHING: The Eagles had three drives begin in Tampa Bay territory and scored each time. The Bucs, meanwhile, had terrible field position. Their average starting position was their 24. More than half of their drives started at their 20 or worse.
ONE OUTTA THREE AIN'T GOOD: It's bad enough the defense has to pick up the slack for the offense each week, but now is it supposed to bail out the special teams too? The goofs on special teams are growing each week.
Five reasons the Bucs cannot score an offensive touchdown in Philadelphia:
5: Couldn't sleep Saturday night because of noise from a Tupperware party at the Iverson house.
4: That toss-left play just doesn't work like it does in practice.
3: Want to make it that much sweeter when they score a TD in 2009.
2: Tailbacks aren't allowed to wear No. 55.
1: The offense stinks.
1: Keyshawn Johnson had single coverage on a deep pass to the end zone in the third quarter, but the pass was thrown to the wrong shoulder and the defender broke it up. The Bucs settled for a field goal.
2: Brad Johnson is stopped short of the first-down markers on a rollout on third and 1 near midfield. The Bucs get so few scoring opportunities that it hurts when you do not play to your strengths.
3: The Eagles win games because Donovan McNabb is a playmaker. Even on one of his weaker days, McNabb made a difference. Scrambling on third and 10 with Simeon Rice in pursuit, McNabb hit a 25-yard pass to keep the drive alive. The Eagles would go on to kick a field goal.
4: Martin Gramatica's missed field goal did not cost the Bucs the game. The chances they would have scored a late touchdown were minimal. But you hate to make the last four minutes of a game meaningless because you cannot kick a 29-yard field goal.
5: The opening kickoff.
Checking out the best bets (and the Bucs) for Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego:
1. SAINTS: Aaron Brooks may supplant McNabb as the most dynamic QB.
2. PACKERS: Of course, this only stands as long as Brett Favre does.
3. RAIDERS: Did they name Sebastian Janikowski activities director?
4. CHARGERS: Do you suppose Marty Schottenheimer has called Dan Snyder?
9. BUCS: At least Carolina, next week's opponent, continues to fade.
Chucky is not in love.