It Wasn't Pretty, But Bucs Will Take It
Joe Henderson, The Tampa Tribune, published 3 November 2008

Because there is no such thing as a bad win in the National Football League, we present this basic truth from Sunday: Bucs 30, Kansas City 27 in overtime.

Suffice for now to say it was a marvelous Houdini escape by the Bucs, who should have been dead about 10 times in this game but managed to tie it with 19 seconds left. Jeff Garcia threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant, who was magnificent in this game, and then hit Alex Smith on a 2-point conversion pass.

That completed a comeback from a deficit that was once 24-3, but turned around because Clifton Smith ran a kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown (yawn; they do this so often now, it's not even news) and a 3-yard touchdown pass by Earnest Graham. That's right, Earnest Graham.

And then there was Michael Clayton breaking free from four Chiefs for a 29-yard gain in overtime that set up Matt Bryant's 34-yard field goal with 10:24 left in overtime for the winning score. Of course, that came after Bryant missed a 38-yard kick on third down, but got a reprieve because the Bucs were guilty of a false start that meant the play was dead. It makes as much sense as anything else on a day like this.

Stuff like that helps you forget that for the first quarter and a half, the Bucs were about as bad as a team can be. They were pushed around on defense by the league's 27th-ranked offense, by a team that was 29th in passing, and one led by the NFL's 33rd-ranked quarterback.

They were out-coached, out-played, and basically just about run out of Arrowhead Stadium as they fell behind 24-3 with 2:13 left in the first half. They weren't exactly losing to the Giants, either. Kansas City was 1-6 coming into this and had been outscored 96-34 in their last three games.

Oh, and is this a good time to mention the Chiefs were playing without their best running back? Larry Johnson was inactive for this game for general all-around jerk behavior. So the Bucs were being trampled by a quarterback named Tyler Thigpen except, of course, on the play he caught a 37-yard touchdown pass thrown by receiver Mark Bradley and by a running back named Kolby Smith.

Another fun fact: Smith had gained 52 yards in the season's first seven games for Kansas City, but was only six yards from that total when he was carted off with a sprained knee midway through the second. Yes, the Bucs didn't have Warrick Dunn and that hurt.

Unless Dunn was suddenly switched over to defense, though, his absence doesn't explain how a team that has basically been as inept as Kansas City could leave tire tracks all over a unit that has been the strength of the Bucs. There is something to be said for resiliency, though. There is a lot to be said for that, actually.

So you don't look at it that they had to work like this to beat a lousy, self-destructing team. You look at it as a road victory that leaves them 6-3 and right in the playoff picture as we hit the open date. They did what they needed to on a day that seemed to be getting away from them early. They overcame the Chiefs. They overcame themselves. It's a bottom-line league and there's no such thing as a bad win.