The Bucs fall to division rivals New Orleans in the Superdome - 11/6/2011
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday October 16.
Ntohing beats a win in on national TV in front of a sold out crowd!
By Tom Krasniqi
This was more than just the start of the season. It was the beginning of a new era in Buccaneers football. The 2012 season got off to a dazzling start as the Bucs beat the Carolina Panthers 16-10 at Raymond James Stadium to make a winner out of Greg Schiano in his NFL head coaching debut.
Schiano emphasized discipline, ball security and tough defense. At the half, the Panthers had just minus-1 yard rushing and the Bucs did not commit a penalty in the first half. Tampa Bay also did not commit a turnover on the day.
The Bucs played efficient football to start out the game. Josh Freeman led them down the field on an impressive opening drive that lasted 13 plays for 80 yards. Freeman culminated the drive with a 6-yard TD pass to Mike Williams to give the Bucs a 7-0 lead. Freeman started the game by completing his first 8 passes. Connor Barth kicked a pair of field goals to give the Bucs a 13-0 halftime lead. Freeman turned the football over 27 times last season. Today, the Bucs did not turn the ball over at all.
The Panthers drew a bit closer in the 3rd quarter. Cam Newton found Brandon LaFell on a 22-yard TD pass to cut the Bucs lead to 13-7. And when the Bucs went 3 and out on their next possession, the Panthers got the ball back with great field position at the Tampa Bay 41, looking to get closer. But on the first play, Newton was picked off by Ronde Barber. On Carolina’s next possession, Newton was intercepted by safety Ahmad Black and that killed any momentum the Panthers had. Defensively, the Bucs were outstanding. They forced two turnovers and they also sacked Newton three times on the day. On top of that, the Bucs defense held the high powered Carolina rushing attack to just 10 yards. For the whole game.
Meanwhile, the Bucs were getting it done in all three phases. The offense was efficient and did not turn the football over. Tampa Bay rushed for 130 yards on the day. The special teams contributed on a blocked punt by Aqib Talib and kicker Connor Barth was perfect on the day with three field goals. All in all, it was a complete team effort and a satisfying victory over a Carolina team that scored 86 points combined in beating the Bucs twice last season. Let’s not forget this team lost 10 straight to end the season. “It was important for team confidence”, says quarterback Josh Freeman. “It feels good because it was a divisional opponent”, says right tackle Jeremy Trueblood.
What more can you say about Ronde Barber. Today marked his 200th consecutive start and he celebrates with a sack and interception of Newton. A perfect way to celebrate the milestone. Schiano achieved a milestone of his own with his first NFL head coaching win. The team gave Schiano the game ball after the game.
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