What a difference a week can make
Was it just seven days ago that the Bucs were returning home from San Francisco on the back of a total mauling? And message boards and defeatist trolls everywhere were claiming the sky was falling in. Time for a Lee Corso "Not so fast my friends" moment after another thrilling victory on British TV.
That flight across the Atlantic today is going to be a lot more enjoyable now that Tampa Bay are 4-2 and leading the NFC South division. Raheem and his merry men like to make their victories exciting and although Josh Freeman cannot claim this one as a fourth quarter comeback win, a win is a win is a win.
This was opportunistic defense, great play-calling and an offense than can deliver when it really needs to. And a team that beat the Saints with two of their most important players, Gerald McCoy and LeGarrette Blount in street clothes, and another key team leader, Jeff Faine, on the sidelines in the second half with a bicep injury.
And for Tanard Jackson, an emotional return and an interception of Drew Brees in which he showed he really does have tremendous speed (sorry last one I promise) to close down a receiver. You can tell how much the other players love him from their comments in the locker room afterwards.
You had to feel sorry for the referee during the game yesterday. I mean, even I got bored with hearing him say "Number 69 has reported eligible". Even he was wishing Luke Stocker a speedy return from injury.
The newest Buccaneer, Jacob Cutrera, played on special teams and has taken the No.51 jersey. So I guess the Bucs aren't going to retire it in honour of Barrett Ruud then ....
And for Sean Jones, the first NFL defender to take out an opposing head coach. Payton gave new life to the phrase "coaching by the seat of his pants" but you could tell that affected the Saints on the sideline. Sorry but this is a Bucs column so who cares?
Raheem likes to call his team "youngry". I like the term winners even more.
You've been great, enjoy Doctor and the Medics.