Bucs' signature win full of exclamation points
They're 2-0 on the West Coast this season, 3-0 if you go by Raheem McNally's Atlas.
Given the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' putrid past in San Francisco (1-11) and the state of California (2-23 all-time), Sunday's 21-0 victory over the 49ers might pass as a signature win.
But at the end of the signature there were a few exclamation points.
There was LeGarrette Blount lowering his head and pancaking 255-pound San Francisco linebacker Parys Haralson in the second quarter. There was Williams, who perhaps shouldn't haven't been in this game, making two big grabs late in the third quarter, including an eight-yard TD catch that gave the Bucs a cushion.
But above all of that was the Bucs defense. The defense was everywhere in a 21-0 win as it registered the franchise's first shutout since 2004. It stopped the run, it stopped the 49ers, it stopped quarterback Troy Smith.
The Bucs entered the day with just eight sacks through nine games, but they had six Sunday alone. The San Francisco never even came close to scoring. It was the first time the 49ers had been shut out at home since 1977 -- before Montana, before every Bucs defender but Ronde Barber was born. And Donald Penn caught a touchdown pass.
Also, this just in: Gerald McCoy had a sack. Okay, so it was a piece of a sack, one he had to share with fellow Bucs lineman Al Woods.
And there was the interception by Barber. This defense was all in. It was the best and most complete game it played all season, and that's never a bad thing in any 10th game of any football season.
This was a grinding, methodical kind of victory, just the kind that was needed after the lack of discipline Williams showed in getting tossed in jail. Like I said, I'm not sure this kid starts this game if I'm running this club.
But the real story is all the Bucs who started and finished this one. And Donald Penn caught a touchdown pass.
It was a convincing win in a place where the Bucs have never been convinced of anything. And after Barber's pick, the 40th of his NFL career, Josh Freeman dropped back from the San Francisco 1-yard line and … Donald Penn, all 305 pounds of him, caught a touchdown pass. West Coast Killers, baby.
|About the writer|
Martin Fennelly has been The Tampa Tribune's leading sports columnist for many years and is always on hand with a topical and witty opinion on any Florida sporting event. He was named the Bucs UK's Writer of the Year four consecutive years from 2001 to 2004.