Week 5 Wrap Up: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Game: Tampa Bay at Cincinnati
Score: Tampa Bay 24. Cincinnati 21
The storyline: The Bucs are 3-1. That's right. A team that started the 2009 season 0-7 and finished 3-13 is off to a terrific start.
Key moment: The Bucs were down 21-14 with 1:26 to play when quarterback Josh Freeman threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams. It was a terrific play for Freeman who looked off the safety to throw the outside route to Williams, who faked the slant inside. A veteran move from a second-year quarterback to see the Bengals were taking away the slant all day. He picked his spot.
Key stat: Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer threw three interceptions, which negated a 144-yard rushing performance by Cedric Benson. Other key stats: Freeman had 300 yards total offense -- 280 passing, 20 rushing. The Bucs turned the ball over three times, but the Bengals turned it over four times.
Where they stand: The Bucs are 3-1 and play New Orleans on Sunday in Tampa. A prove-it game for the Bucs who are ahead of the Saints in the NFC South.
Notable: The Bucs want to run the ball, but they still can't. They had 125 yards rushing Sunday, but 61 yards came on one run by Earnest Graham. Cadillac Williams had 11 carries for three yards. A big deal was made of getting LeGarrette Blount and Kareem Huggins involved in the run game, but they combined for five carries and 7 yards.
Quick quote: "I've been saying it for two years; nothing fazes him. He's relentless in his want to succeed. Throwing that ball to Mike in the end zone, I don't know if the defense was expecting that. Throw a deep ball in the end zone with two minutes while you're trying to drive. I was almost afraid we left too much time on the clock.
"But that's the way he plays. He's going to take his chances, and when you've got a guy like Mike Williams who catches everything, why not?" -- Ronde Barber on quarterback Josh Freeman to the St. Petersburg Times.