Ghosts of Buccaneers past
As the Bucs left Candle-stuck Park last night and Tampa Bay fans around the world turned off their internet connections, everyone wondered what had just happened.
Was that a one-off aberration? (Hopefully) Or was it a sign of things to come? (Don't even think about it).
This was what former coach John McKay would have had a field day summing up in the post-game press conference. "We didn't block very well and we made up for it by not tackling" was one of his memorable responses in the expansion 1976 season.
The original Bucs never lost a game by 45 points. OK the Steelers beat them 42-0 and could have scored 70 or 80 if they had really wanted to that day, but the 45-point margin of defeat tied the largest ever in franchise history. One of course originally set by a certain coach Tony Dungy three weeks before reaching the NFC Championship game in 1999.
But in San Francisco on Sunday, it looked like Josh Freeman had turned into Jack Thompson, the offensive line was starting Marvin Powell and JD Maarleveld, and was that Vito McKeever and Ivory Sully in the defensive backfield?
These guys made Alex Smith look like Joe Montana. Alex Smith? My game notes had a half-time comment of it being the worst half of football since the New Orleans game last October. The second half set a new low in futility.
But the last time I looked, you don't lose additional games in the NFL based on the margin of defeat. This counts as one in the loss column the same as the one to Detroit did in Week 1, and the same as if you lost on a last-second fieldgoal. The Bucs are 3-2 albeit with a very nasty stretch of games coming up on both sides of the Atlantic.
The only positives we can take from the game are ..... are ...... OK so there aren't any. You can have a ritual burning of the game film at One Buc later today and this one can be consigned to the Halloween nightmare showings that include the 1983 road game in Green Bay and pretty much any game from the second half of the 1986 season.
Any player still on the field in the 4th quarter for the Bucs can consider themselves at the bottom of the depth chart and we even got to see Allan "no moves" Bradford replace LeGarrette "one move" Blount. I do also hope that NFL Films had Raheem miked up when he got his 15-yard penalty for abusing the side judge. For those of you who have seen "Bull Durham", Raheem apparently used the same word that all baseball players know is a no-no to umpires.
That will have been one very quiet flight back across to Florida for the Buccaneers. Now comes the most important week of coaching Raheem Morris has had to do since he took over the job in 2009. He has to prove this was an aberration and not a trend.
You've been great, enjoy Glenn Medeiros.