Deep down, I know things aren’t a rosy as they appear right now.
But nothing cures an 0-1 start like a win in Week 2, and that’s what the Bucs got today, although they spent the fourth quarter doing their best to throw it back to the Saints.
And while I wouldn’t admit it as I was sweating and cursing as we nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, win or lose, this was a major step forward. It would have been so easy for a young team on the road in a hostile dome coming off a bad home loss to look like deer in the headlights and pack it in. I fully expected Drew Brees to absolutely feast on us given how great we made Marcus Mariota look. But we were getting pressure on Brees and running the ball and being a reasonable facsimile of a real football team. And the two lightning drives at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second were things of beauty and exactly why we got Jaemis Winston.
Then we decided we’d scored enough points for one day and why not let New Orleans have some fun and allowed them to make a game out of it in the fourth quarter. You could tell the defense was a little gassed and that the Saints were going to jam the run and force the rookie to carry us and hopefully make a mistake. Winston did fumble, but the defense stiffened and made enough plays down the stretch to secure the win.
Pretty? No. Harbinger of future greatness? Hardly. But winning is a lot about attitude, and you get that attitude by, well, winning. So after the doom and gloom of last week, gutting one out on the road? Yeah, it’s pretty damn significant. Yes, there’s still work to be done, but now it looks like at least we know how to do the job.