Buccaneers Victory Should End Overreactions

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Photo R. Matamba

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

Wait, are we sure this was the same football team that was routed by the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium last week?

42-14. Those two numbers, along with the stats of Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, inspired overreactions that were running rampant this past week. The Bucs, who promised to turn the page, did just that on Sunday with a 26-19 road victory over the New Orleans Saints.

“It would’ve been easy for us to say, ‘Oh, we got blown out last week, let’s go in the tank,’” said rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. “No, those guys fought hard, bounced back, and we got us a win against a very good team.”

After a disappointing NFL debut, fans gave up on Winston. No, really, fans around me last week were chanting for Mike Glennon, the team’s backup quarterback, by the time the end of the third quarter rolled around. The 21-year-old was three quarters into his NFL career, but fans were calling for him to go back to Florida State.

On top of the uproar from fans, analysts jumped the gun on declaring who should have rightfully been the top pick in this year’s draft.

CBS Sports’ Adam Schein said last week: “Sunday proved why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have drafted Marcus Mariota.”

That seems a bit premature.

Winston, who finished his debut 16 of 33 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, bounced back to complete 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown (in addition to a rushing touchdown) in week two’s win. Are the fans still sure that Glennon is the better option?

It’s worth noting that the defense was the biggest letdown in week one as they gave up 42 points while looking completely clueless in the process. Sunday was a different story. The front seven was after Saints quarterback Drew Brees all day, generating pressure that they couldn’t produce against the Titans. Defensive end Jacquies Smith led the way, sacking Brees three times and forcing two fumbles. Safety Chris Conte, who replaced an injured Major Wright, came up with an interception and a crucial forced fumble late in the game. It was a huge step forward for Lovie Smith’s defense that is at its best when forcing turnovers.

Sunday wasn’t perfect. Winston, the offense around him and the defense all have a long way to go. However, Sunday should temper the overreactions from last week. The old saying rings true, as usual, that in sports, you can’t get too high or too low. The Buccaneers know that all too well.

There’s no telling what lies ahead for the 2015 Buccaneers, but week two provided hope. Now, does Sunday’s victory mean that down payments on playoff tickets should be in order? Hold off on that, too, but Sunday was a step in the right direction.

Tampa Bay will travel to Houston next Sunday for a matchup with the Texans. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.