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Times staff writer Tom Jones looks back at Sunday's Bucs-Texans game.
By TOM JONES, Times Staff Writer
Published December 10, 2007
Sunday's loss isn't going to cost the Bucs a playoff spot, so did it really matter? Well, maybe. Instead of winning a home playoff game and then going to Green Bay for a playoff game, the Bucs now might need to win a home playoff game and then go to Dallas for the next round. A game at Green Bay in bad weather sounds a whole lot better than a game at Dallas in good weather, doesn't it?
Most familiar sight
Hmm, where have we seen the aggressive yet low-risk passing game used by Houston for backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels that allowed the Texans to move the ball all over the field Sunday? Oh, yeah, Dec. 2 with the Bucs and Luke McCown. Seriously, didn't it look eerily similar?
Most dry analysis
Somebody buy Fox announcers Dick Stockton and Terry Donahue a joke book. They do a solid job calling the game, but don't be afraid to crack a smile, boys. We're not asking for knock-knock jokes or impressions, but do something to make it feel like we're not watching the game on C-SPAN2.
Certainly we don't condone dirty hits. But good for Bucs running back Earnest Graham for doing exactly to Will Demps what Demps did to Graham's teammate Ike Hilliard: hitting him right in the face with his helmet. Doesn't it seem like Demps should've picked up a penalty on that play, the play that caused Hilliard to fumble and set up the Texans' second touchdown? Demps didn't mean to make a dirty hit ... but he did. And it should've been called. Not that it would've mattered in the long run.
Fox analyst Terry Donahue asked the question on everyone's mind at halftime: "Where has Joey Galloway been?" The Bucs receiver had just one ball thrown his way in the first half and really wasn't a factor all game. Sure, he ended up with six catches for 87 yards, but two of those for 32 yards came on the pretty-much-meaningless final drive.
Best silver lining
The best part about the Texans scoring and kicking off so often? Seeing Micheal Spurlock return kicks for the Bucs. He looks as good as anybody the Bucs have tried back there.
Enough with the excess celebration penalties. So a guy returns a kickoff for a touchdown and a couple of guys jump into the crowd. Big deal. It's not wasting time. And even if the other team is shown up a bit, so what? You don't want to be shown up? Then don't allow the other team to take a kickoff 97 yards on you. The NFL needs to lighten up.
Greg White, right, continues to be the best feel-good story of the season - from working at Best Buy to being, at times, Tampa Bay's Best Guy. His two forced fumbles kept the Bucs from being completely blown out Sunday.
Play that makes you yell at the TV screen
It's hard to knock Bucs quarterback Luke McCown, considering he has done a better-than-you-could've-hoped-for job since taking over last week. But every time he takes a sack, aren't you screaming, "Throw it away!" The other thought is Jeff Garcia's scrambling ability has spoiled us.
Most depressing thought
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but you do realize, don't you, that if it weren't for Saints coach Sean Payton having a major brain cramp last week, the Bucs would be 7-6, losers of two straight and in danger of being tied by the Saints at the end of play tonight? Just goes to show you how rickety the NFL is. The Bucs deserve to be where they are. But they're a little lucky to be where they are.
Most comforting thought
If you're a Bucs fan, you're thinking this: thank goodness the Falcons are still left on the Bucs schedule.
Biggest head-scratching decision
After calling a near-perfect game in the victory at New Orleans, Bucs coach Jon Gruden had us scratching our heads on the first drive by running the ball twice - on third and fourth down with 2 yards to go from the Texas 34. Going for it wasn't the problem. Running it twice was. If you know you're going to take two downs to get a first down, why not air out one of them?
When the Bucs were snuffed, you had the feeling it was going to be a long day.
A reader named Chris Kennedy of Land O'Lakes sent me this spot-on e-mail during Sunday's game about a couple of annoying commercials:
"Shouldn't the slogan be, 'OnStar - preying upon your fears?' ... Also, if I see those animals singing Rock Me Gently one more time, I will join the NRA."
[Last modified December 9, 2007, 21:55:53]