After Cadillac Williams dropped two passes, it was easy to spew the standard 'he can't catch' criticism he has received since tuning pro three years ago. Then Williams started to get into a groove. He had six carries for 41 yards before sustaining a major knee injury late in the first quarter that could sideline him for the season. Much like when WR Paris Warren dislocated an ankle in Tampa Bay's final preseason game, every Bucs player rushed from the sideline to be at Williams' side. WR Ike Hilliard and TE Alex Smith knelt on one knee and prayed for Williams. Williams' injury rallied this team, brought them closer together, and considering the turmoil Tampa Bay has faced since Simeon Rice was cut on the eve of training camp until now, the Bucs once again proved they can handle adversity.
Top 5 Reasons Why Tampa Bay Won
5. Carolina QB David Carr made it a goal to duplicate his Houston starting performances. 4. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy gave Tampa Bay a heated pregame speech after reading a column stating how old Jeff Garcia, Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard were. 3. Steve Smith missed his 'Dancing With The Stars' lesson with Mark Cuban and was uninspired. 2. Kenyatta Walker explained Jon Gruden's offense to Panthers coach John Fox before he was released. Fox's team never could successfully mess up the snap count until getting Walker's advice. 1. Gruden was scared to become less popular than Jim Leavitt.
Ignore Carr's final stats that he inflated when the game was out of reach. After three quarters, Carr had competed seven of 19 passes for a measly 40 yards.
A Matter Of Perspective
Many have been more skeptical about Tampa Bay's success than Michael Vick would be if asked to judge The Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show. Those skeptics say Tampa Bay has not defeated any good teams, but the Bucs will face a real test when they finally face a top-notch opponent. Um, try not to forget Tampa Bay was a bad team last season. The Bucs clearly won two games, and if it were not for a miracle Matt Bryant field goal and a fortunate call against Cincinnati, this would have been two-win team. There is no need to give them a parade down Dale Mabry, but no need to put their achievements in the doghouse, either.
There is nothing wrong with wearing that Mike Alstott jersey, but considering he will not play this season, it is sort of like wearing a throwback - one you should throw back into the closet. Now would be the time to run out and pick up the uniform of some hot Bucs contributors, and here are the jerseys to consider wearing for Friday's office casual day: 7 - Jeff Garcia (no picks this season) 19 - Ike Hilliard (seven receptions, 114 yards) 31 - Phillip Buchanon (six tackles and standout defense at corner) 32 - Michael Pittman (90 yards on 15 carries)
Locker Room Talk
'Three wins in professional football is huge. It's hard enough to get a victory, and even harder to get three, but we don't want to stop there. We'll go to practice today and get ready for the Indianapolis Colts.' - CB Ronde Barber 'If we play like that every single week, it certainly gives you a great chance to win football game.' - Garcia 'It's a lot of fire in this team. We wanted to make a statement. We weren't really comfortable with the way we played last year.' - RB Earnest Graham 'They know next time it is going to still be a dogfight. It is never going to be an easy win, especially knowing that they have to come and play us at home.' - SS Jermaine Phillips on Sunday's win being a statement game. Anwar S. Richardson