I love my team. You guys know that. I love the things the new staff is bringing in the areas of intensity, focus and discipline. I am disappointed that the team lost in New York but proud of the improvements that the team has shown in a relatively short period of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a Super Bowl contender. Sadly, a game that despite being statistically revolting was filled with a lot of positives will be forgotten as discussion about the last play of the game will take center stage.
First, the game talk. Offensively the dominance on the line was nowhere to be seen. We could not dictate to this team on this day. That was OK though, as the defensive backfield was soft and we got to see our shiny new receiver stretch the field like we hoped. Josh looked solid, the team moved the ball and the defense gave the offense plenty of shots at putting points on the board as they continued to take the ball away from Eli and turn the Giants away with only 3 points regularly.
But as a longtime fan you had to feel it. That sick feeling that we were not far enough ahead. Not against a team like the Giants. As the defense continued to have to blitz everyone to even make Eli breath hard, the islands our corners and/or safeties were left on started to get exploited as we watched the Giants storm back and take the lead. The offense that had been hibernating in the 2nd half woke up and started to engage in the shoot-out. Sadly, it was too much Eli at the end and our young Bucs lost a game we could have won.
We will cover the details of the game on the show Tuesday but the last play has caused an interesting outcry. On a kneel down, the Bucs fire off the line to, I assume, try to cause a fumble that they would have to recover and return for a touchdown to have a chance to tie. Even if I ignore the ridiculous odds of that combination of things happening I am at a loss as to how anyone thinks that play was OK. Coach Coughlin expressed his displeasure and I agree. I LOVE playing to and through the whistle. I love going to 00:00. You KNOW I love hard nosed football. Coach Schiano said essentially, “tough shit.” (I am paraphrasing). If people don’t like the way he plays, tough. His team will play to the end. This is a GREAT sentiment but in my opinion and with regards to that play, it is horseshit. That is a crap play that if executed against us, the 35K fans in Tampa that go to games would have marched on the NFL offices. I hope that the PR machine cleans this up but more than that I hope people realize that playing hard is one thing. Playing cheap is another.
I want my team to be better than that. I think they are. I believe our Coach is.
I’ll get over it and move forward but right now I am far more disappointed in that play and our Coach’s response than I am in the loss.