Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow

September 29th, 2014
vincent jackson 0929

Vincent Jackson hauls in the game-winning touchdown yesterday. Photo courtesy of

A long look at the Bucs yesterday, today, and what to expect tomorrow and beyond.

PITTSBURGH – So Joe is sitting in his downtown hotel room in the Steel City as Sunday night creeps into Monday morning. The only people awake are cops, bums, hotel workers and, yes. Joe.

As a cabbie told Joe as he left Heinz Field, the site of the stunning Bucs upset win over the Steelers, when the home team loses, the locals go into a depression that turns into either hibernation or violence, depending on the importance of said loss.

Given that Joe hasn’t heard sirens or seen any cars overturned tells Joe most Steelers fans drank themselves to sleep.

But on TV, oh, wow, the hollering is at full-throat. On a Sunday night wrap-up sports show following the local news, Mark Madden, a local sports yakker, bellowed how the Steelers were so bad they let a “Waiver Wire Wonder roast them.”

He would be referring to Louis Murphy, the pride of Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, who the Bucs signed off the street earlier in the week. It was Murphy’s 41-yard catch down the right hashmark that set up Mike Glennon’s toss to Vincent Jackson for the win.

The improbable win.

The stunning win.

Joe remembers Twittering twice yesterday during the game when he looked up and was stunned to see, though outplayed, the Bucs were but one score behind the Steelers.

Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette referred to the Bucs’ win as the worst home loss in the Mike Tomlin Era. If the late-night Sunday TV sports shows here and local scribes are any indication, Tomlin is in deep s(p)it. He is being blasted at every turn. Why? Because he and his Steelers lost to the Bucs.

That’s how bad the natives are freaking out. It is sort of funny, actually.

WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh reported that Murphy, just moments after his clutch catch, stated the Steelers broke out a Cover-2 defense on the final drive, which is what the Bucs found they would do on tape, which allowed Murphy the real estate to get open downfield. When one of the station’s reporters confronted various Steelers defensive backs about this, they did not dispute it.

Yes, Joe stands by what he typed earlier: The Bucs were outplayed. But when push came to shove, when the Bucs needed plays, they got the job done. Consider that stud running back Le’Veon Bell, one of the better running backs in the NFL, was held in the second half to 1.1 yards a carry. That is strong.

Oh, and the Bucs held the Steelers to a lone touchdown in the second half. Pretty impressive.

Is this game a turning point? Is Mike Glennon now the franchise quarterback of the present and not the future? Has the Bucs defense finally stabilized? Was this game a fluke?

Time will only tell. But the fact Glennon engineered two nice drives in the fourth quarter with all the pressure in the world on him sure seemed a good sign.


Joe didn’t see the final drive live. No, Joe was in the bowels of Heinz Field as the clock ticked down. Joe did hear the aching groans of Steelers fans when Murphy made his big catch.

As the Bucs left the field, they were bouncy, as one can imagine. Even guys like Michael Johnson and Mike Evans, who had bum wheels, dragged and limped their way down the concourse, albeit with wide smiles on their faces. Finally the Bucs had a win.

No one seemed happier than Anthony Collins. The Bucs left tackle sang out loud and skipped like a schoolgirl. He was as loud and happy as he was PO’ed when the Lambs beat the Bucs when he left the field cursing out loud at no one in particular, just like a dog barking at the moon.

The player who came as close to being as giddy as Collins was Jonathan Casillas. But the outside linebacker really had no reason to be happy. He was benched before the game in place of Danny Lansanah in one of the changes Bucs coach Lovie Smith promised after the debacle in Atlanta.

Casillas had every right to mope, no matter the outcome. He just got benched. Yet there he was, celebrating more coming off the field than all but one other teammate.

To Joe, that shows what a class act Casillas is and what a good teammate he is.

No Offensive Coordinator

Joe knows Bucs fans want to know who is in charge of the offense. Who is the offensive coordinator? Who can we blame or give credit?

 Well, the Bucs have put out a Leninist-narrative that the offense is being led by a “collective effort.” What that truly means and what the mechanics are in the play-calling and coaching, Joe can only guess. Arroyo hinted last week he does not have the final say in plays.

Weekly, per NFL rules, each coordinator is required to hold a press conference. So far, in Jeff Tedford’s absence, Marcus Arroyo, the quarterbacks coach, has represented the offensive coordinator, but he is careful to push the “collective effort” doctrine.

In the locker room yesterday, Bucs general manager Jason Licht, while lauding the coaching staff, let this little item slip:

“We don’t have an offensive coordinator right now,” Licht said.

Now Joe isn’t going to try to read the tea leaves here. Feel free to speculate what Licht means. This seems to infer that the offensive coaches do their thing and Lovie gives them his blessing. Again, that’s just a guess.

It was such a priceless day yesterday for the Bucs, the Benn’d Around worked!

NFL Thoughts

Giants: So Eli Manning throws for four touchdowns? Sure seems to be too early for folks to be kicking dirt in his face.

Crows: How stupid was it for the Stinking Panthers to wave goodbye to Steve Smith? The dude roasted them for seven catches and 139 yards with two scores as the Crows rolled.
Packers: Hey, what happened to that vaunted Bears offense? And, yeah, Aaron Rodgers was Aaron Rodgers. He sliced up the Bears in Chicago. Again.

Texans: Man, J.J. Watt is a friggin’ mother lode. How often do you see a defensive tackle with a pick-six? With Watt, it is not surprising he is so damned dominant. It won the game for Houston.

Colts: Again, for reasons Joe can’t comprehend, the stat geeks are always trying to make an argument against Andrew Luck. Why? So throwing for 393 yards with four touchdowns is such a horrible thing? Then again, Joe doesn’t understand the stat geeks.

Lions: Joe wrote last week to watch out for the Lions. They are not winning pretty. They are not playing beautifully. They are just getting the job done. A pair of Matthew Stafford touchdowns does the trick over the hapless Jets.

Dolphins: So Joe Philbin’s high school stunt (“I don’t know who the quarterback will be”) was what Joe thought it was: A joke. Ryan Tannehill started and threw for two touchdowns. Now, the Raiders have soiled two continents.

Chargers: Joe wants to write about what a wonderful day Philip Rivers had with 377 yards passing and three scores. Then, Joe realizes they played the Jags.

Dixie Chicks: Man, the Dixie Chicks just pummeled the Bucs (did you, by chance, hear about that?) and then go out and lay a rotten egg at Minnesota against a rookie quarterback making his first start. Joe can hear the drumbeat for Mike Smith’s head after that one. By the way, that rookie, Teddy Bridgewater, tossed for 317 yards without a pick. Not too shabby.

49ers: The Niners scored 16 unanswered points to rally and beat the mighty Eagles. Earlier, Frank Gore scored on his longest catch of his career, a 55-yard catch-and-run.

Cowboys: The fact the Cowboys and their rotten defense bottled up the Saints tells Joe that maybe the Bucs still have a prayer the way the rest of the Bucs’ division foes are playing so miserably. Speaking of defenses, how long is Sean Payton going to put up with crazy Rob Ryan?

Non-NFL Thoughts

1. Joe always liked the line that Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski used to say about polls. “The only Pole I care about is my mother,” he used to quip. That sprung to mind when Joe noticed the AP coaches poll had Florida State drop to No. 2 behind Alabama. Huh? Florida State hung 56 points on North Carolina State and Alabama didn’t play but Bama jumped in the polls?

Whatever. Polls are meant to create controversy and stir the pot. Case in point.

2. Man, that Texas A&M-Arkansas game was sure fun. A pass-happy offense against a ground and pound team that goes into overtime. Fun! Oh, and college football has the best overtime. Sorry NFL.

3. Another fun game was Tennessee at Georgia. The Vols are going to be damned good in the near future. They are just too young. They gave the Bulldogs a run for their money.

4. Why the hell is Mark Richt so scared to use Todd Gurley?

5. Charlie Weis got the ziggy from Kansas. And yes, there have been Bucs fans asking Joe about the Bucs hiring him. Really.

6. So the Redbirds squeaked in to win the National League Central. Not sure they get past the Dodgers but the Cardinals have a good history of beating the Dodgers in the postseason, including last year.

7 It is so good for baseball that the Yankmees and Blow Sux are out of the postseason while Kansas City and Pittsburgh are in. Yes, that’s good for baseball.

8 Joe hung out Saturday afternoon at Jerome Bettis’ bar to watch football. Cool bar. What was weird was the urinals have a window in front of them as you face the bar. It was just weird to be doing your business in front of a window. At least the glass was one-way.

9 Joe meant to write about this last week. Yes, this nonsense about people wanting to run Roger Goodell out of his job really irks Joe. This dog-and-pony show two weeks ago where haughty NFL national reports thought they were breaking Watergate was out of hand. The thing that summed up the circus best was Benjy Bronk of the Howard Stern Show crashing the party screaming not to be put on the elevator by security. Joe never thought Benjy was that funny. He screams. Gee, who can’t do that? Oh, for the halcyon days of the Stern Show when Stuttering John crashed a press conference by Gennifer Flowers, who claimed she had a tryst with them presidential candidate Bill Clinton. Stuttering John asked Flowers, “Does the Governor wear a condom?” It was beautiful. Joe really misses Stuttering John.

10 Eric the Midget died last week. He was not one of Joe’s favorite’s either on Stern’s show. Whenever Joe heard that fingernails-on-a-blackboard voice, Joe would immediately change the channel. For Joe, Eric the Midget was a showkiller, and not in a good way.

14 Responses to “Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow”

  1. STFU Sapp Says:

    Checking MMQB (been doing it religiously for many, many years) and no doubt Peter King will belly-ache about how bad it is for the Steelers, and not give much to the Bucs. It’s been a long-standing pattern for the general media. A handful of teams represent the lion’s share of coverage.

    I know it’s only one win. But it was a big moral victory for the Bucs and I hope we continue forward progress and the media starts including us in their lexicon of worthy teams.

  2. andres Says:

    Goodbye for now Eric the Midget.

  3. Tom Edrington Says:

    Like that “worst loss of the Mike Tomlin era” stuff.

    Has anyone mentioned that this was the first-ever Pittsburgh win for the Bucs?

    Yes, props to the backup receivers, they made plays and Vincent “I drop alot” Jackson finally did what he’s paid to do.

    You could see the Steelers were actually afraid in the final minutes of the game, they were simply trying to “avoid losing” a phrase used often by Doug Dickey when he coached the Florida Gators.

  4. Chef Paul Says:

    Last week my Hawkeyes won in Heinz Field. Now the Bucs win there yesterday. I’m starting to like that stadium.

  5. STFU Sapp Says:

    OK. He was a little more fair to the Bucs than I anticipated. But glad we have JBF to give us more than any other media!

  6. snook Says:

    Joe: the Falcons D is horrendous. That’s what makes that sorry loss to them even worse. 3 of their 4 games, they’ve been LIT up. And it will only continue.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Getting beat by the Bucs is a disgrace…..that should just fire us up some more.

    I hope Lovie learned a lesson…..go to the two minute when there’s 15 minutes left in each quarter.

  8. Mitch Says:

    A lot of people need to chill out in reference to V-Jax dropping balls. They are going to happen more often because he is playing with a fractured wrist!! Did anyone else notice that he couldn’t grip the ball to spike it after his touchdown catch yesterday? It’s a double edged sword but we are lucky to have him out there on the field.

  9. Fort Myers Dave Says:

    First win in Pittsburgh for the Bucs, have to love that!

    Charlie Weis got run from the Jayhawks? Well thats what you get for going 1-18 in the Big 12 and 6-22 overall.

    I’ve noticed a lot of credit being given to Michael Johnson, McCoy and the rest of the DL along with MG and Arroyo: all well deserved but how about these 2 guys: LaVonte David, he had 3 or 4 tackles for loss and had double digit tackles for the game and Patrick Murray: the kid got that 50 yarder to go over the crossbar; thats got to be worth some kudos as it was a tough kick to make at Heinz Field and perhaps it will silence the critics about the fact that he is attempting these FGs instead of Barth…..

  10. Sapp, STFU Says:

    TampaBayBucsFan “I hope Lovie learned a lesson…..go to the two minute when there’s 15 minutes left in each quarter.”

    Love this quote.

  11. NewTampaChris Says:

    Yes, just because too many NFL players are criminals, why should Goodell lose his job?

  12. Skyline Crew Says:

    I’m sure Pitt fans are freaking out. Just like some of our so called fans were freaking out when we lost to said backup QBs. The Steelers just lost to a backup QB. So they probably think their season is done are going to go cry on their blogs just like some of our so called fans did/do.

  13. Buccfan37 Says:

    Chef Paul… apparently it was’nt such a big deal that Iowa edged Pitt at Heinz Field. The Akron Zips just beat them there after getting blown out the week prior by about 60 points.

  14. Buccfan37 Says:

    make that a 48-17 loss by Akron.