It shouldn't be that hard
On Saturday my football team, Bristol City, played probably the best team in their division this year. On paper we shouldn't have had a prayer but ended up scoring three goals against them. That's probably a feat that not too many will repeat this year. Unfortunately they scored five.
Our manager said afterwards that "You shouldn't have to score six to win a game". He is right. It shouldn't be that hard. I kept thinking about this when watching the Buccaneers lose in the Meadowlands on Sunday night. It shouldn't be that hard.
If you go to the reigning Super Bowl champions back yard and score thirty four points you should win the game. No ifs, no buts. In the NFL the standard is a relatively level playing field with a few degrees of seperation upwards or downwards. All the teams are pretty equal and any team is capable of beating another...ask Tom Brady and Co.
So when you play a game and score thirty plus points you should win the game. It shouldn't be that hard. When the Buccaneers had a double digit lead in the third quarter the team should have been able to shut up shop and see out the win, however tense a finish.
The Buccaneers had had success going deep down the field all day long but went into their shell with the lead and tried to run against a Defense who are known for being one of the best. On that point a big performance from the Bucs O-Line this weekend.
With two backups in the line up and against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL they held their own and for large parts protected Josh Freeman to give him a lot of time to make those down the field throws. If anyone missed Carl Nicks tossing Pierre-Paul around and standing over his fallen corpse in the 3rd quarter watch it again it is amazing.
Of course any team with a big lead will try and take time off the clock but as Troy Aikman said in commentary on severals occasions the field was wide open for a big play action pass. That pass never really came as the formula of run, run, 3rd and long saw the pewter pirates lose any momentum they had gained. It shouldn't be that hard.
I've read a lot of people (including the Buccaneers own twitter account) saying that the secondary are useless. That simply isn't the case. That secondary picked off a two time Super Bowl winning QB three times on the day, and those turnovers contributed twenty one points to the cause.
Eric Wright, Mark Barron and Ronde Barber all had stellar games in the face of an outstanding passing attack. Only McDonald and Talib were really exposed when left one on one as the Buccaneers committed more and more men to try and get pressure on Manning. If anyone had a poor game it was the Buccaneers front four.
Brown came into the game when Bradshaw left hurt and ran all over the front four and no one got near Manning all day. Frankly you could have Rod Woodson and Darelle Revis covering if they are left on an island against Nicks and Cruz, two of the best receivers in the NFL, then they would get beaten in the end.
There were positives from Sunday like VJax, the play of the O-Line and Josh Freeman looking more like the old 4th quarter wonderkid again. The Bucs will learn from Sunday and will be better for it. If you're not getting pressure on the QB then you can't just commit more and more men being the main lesson.
As someone said to me on Saturday leaving the game, "if we score three every game we'll win more than we lose" and that is true ot the Bucs, thirty four points a game will see the Buccaneers making the play offs and who knows what else and hopefully it wouldn't be that hard.