Wow - just wow!
I think Sunday night's game may have taken a few years off of all of us. What a finish, what a game, what a demonstration of a never say die attitude. As I commented to our Editor, "The cardiac kids got nothing on last night."
I can only think of one other game in my time as a Buccaneers fan that even comes close to matching Sunday's game for drama, which by the way was the 2005 game with the Redskins that saw Mike Alstott's two-point conversion to win it in the final minute.
This is why so many people say that this sport is the best in the World, literally the "Any Given Sunday" cliche is true and you see upsets and amazing games each and every week. But you don't see many like Sunday's.
It wasn't just the finish that made Sunday's game such an enthralling watch. The Bucs started off like men possessed jumping out to an early lead. The came a massive turning point when the recently faultless Josh Freeman threw a pick six. The whole game literally spun on its head and the Buccaneers' offense looked like it had never seen each other before for the next two quarters of football.
I've never seen anyone's confidence and swagger leave them like Josh Freeman's did after that pick six, he went back to looking like the nervous, indecisive #5 of last season. This was compounded by throwing another pick to the Panthers secondary that defied belief. At that stage his head was gone.
I suggested on the message board, and was possibly rightfully shotd own, that if this continued you'd be better off getting Freeman out of the firing line and let him get himself together. Obviously he wasn't benched and until the final drive of regulation continued to struggle.
I wasn't suggesting that Freeman be benched permenantly or lose his job as starter as one poster misunderstood merely than sometimes however talented players need to be taken out of the firing line. I stand by my point but am glad he was still on the field come the final throws of Sunday's game.
Cometh the hour the man. Never has this been truer than that final drive. Freeman with the help of favourite target Vincent Jackson marched down the field and setup a finish that was beyond tense. In that instance I have seen so many Buccaneer offenses stall at the 10, 5 or 1 and not be able to punch it in. Not a problem for this jet fighter of an offensive unit.
Fantastic play action off of the ever dangerous Martin and a great catch by VJax in the endzone. Even once that had gone in we still needed two and again we've all seen games where the great comeback stalls at this point. Not today. Bang another laser to Jackson and we're off to overtime. By this stage I was a wreck watching at home, I can only imagine being there I think I'd have been on the floor.
With several games going to overtime in the NFL on the same night it some how seemed a worse night to lose. The coin toss was key, even with new overtime rules, as it always gives the team the chance at least to end it. Boy, did we end it.
Another great drive by Freeman and Co, this time featuring the newly refreshed Doug Martin and we were back in the redzone. This time though the Panthers would be expecting the pass to Jackson or even to pound it in with Martin (who had been royally screwed out of a TD earlier).
So what do you do? You find one of the best tight ends to ever play the game, wide open on a wheel route. The much maligned Dallas Clark made a stunning toe tapping catch that made me knock the iPad over, shout out loud, wake the baby and scare my Mrs half to death!
I spent the post game settling my son but it was worth it. This game reminded why I love this game and why I love sport in general you can't write this type of thing and that's what makes it so special.