Stuffing the turkey and the Seahawks
Twas the night after Christmas and a not a soul was stirring. Well not in the Seattle locker room anyway.
They had just flown across country for a game that turned out to be meaningless to their chances to win the NFC Worst, and ran into a young and feisty Buccaneer team determined to keep the festive magic running a lot longer in Tampa Bay.
The season may well end next week in New Orleans, there may not be playoff football for this 2010 edition of the Bucs, but this has been a special year and you know it is only going to get better for Raheem's team going forward.
In spite of all the injuries, (have you noticed how the Bucs always have to have two at once?), that was an old-fashioned beat-down they handed the Seahawks. And the count of comments of "do they deserve to be in the playoffs" went into double figures by midway through the 4th quarter.
Josh Freeman tied a franchise record with five touchdown passes, equalling the marks of Steve DeBerg in 1987 and Brad Johnson in 2002. And once again his poise and composure was there for all to see - I swear Brian Billick loves him more than his own kids the way he waxes lyrically about him every time he does a Bucs game.
Want to know how badly Seattle got beaten? The Bucs even got Maurice Stovall in the game on offense and he even caught a touchdown pass. Shame we didn't get to see his celebration dance - he's had five years to practice it.
Want to know more about Josh Freeman's demenour? He throws his fifth touchdown pass of the game, puts his helmet to one side as back-up Josh Johnson warms up, and walks over to catch balls for Johnson on the sideline. That is what a team-mate is all about.
Want to know more about these Bucs' resiliency? Arrellious Benn and Earnest Graham go out injured and more youngsters step up, Dezmon Briscoe at receiver, Erik Lorig at full back. The depth on this team is simply staggering now.
43 different players have now started game for the Buccaneers, the second highest in franchise history for a season. Naturally the expansion Bucs hold the record at 48 and one of them, WR Barry Smith, was on hand yesterday to see more of his successors enjoy another success.
Thoughts from around the NFL
Outside of the Jacksonville Jaguars being the biggest choke artists in league history, it would be sad to see Coach Jack Del Rio lose his job. He is by far the coolest dresser in the league with his leather jacket. I mean, do you want to see any more sweatshirt slobs like Bill Belichick?
Wally Whitehurst's father David spent several years playing quarterback for the Buccaneers in the late 1970s and early 1980s and played several games against the Buccaneers. He was crap too.
Does every commentary these days have to include a fantasy football reference? Peyton Manning pulls off a naked bootleg on 4th down to secure the Colts' win over the Raiders and goes to the ground at the 2-yard line to ensure he can run out the clock. And all people can talk about is the points he cost his owners.
Selfless promotional note - dropping to a knee like that to preserve a game, a la Brian Westbrook - I called Charlie Garner out for it during a Sky playoff broadcast in 2002 when he should have done it for the Raiders against the Jets inside the final two minutes instead of scoring a touchdown. And a bunch of people e-mailed the studio claiming you should never try not to score. Now who was right?
So all Buc fans have to become Falcon fans on Monday Night football now against New Orleans. One of my work colleagues in Atlanta is never going to ever let me forget it if I start supporting the Falcons even just for three hours.
You've been great, enjoy Kissing the Pink.