1) Banks Delivers on the Call-out to "Take It Away and Score"
The play came early in Sunday's contest in Washington after the Bucs had already gotten an interception from Danny Lansanah that led to a 3-0 lead. With five minutes left in the first quarter on Washington's third possession, second-year DB Johnthan Banks hauled in a pass deflected by teammate Mason Foster, and then, more importantly, Banks ran it into the corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown, setting the tone for the rest of the day. All season long you've heard everyone from Head Coach Lovie Smith right down to the Bucs defenders saying they must not only take the ball away from opponents, but also "go score" when you do. Banks did just that, and got the Bucs a 10-0 lead.
2) Evans is a MONSTER (And That's a Good Thing)
When it happens once, you can explain it away. Twice in a row, you raise an eyebrow and tell others to pay attention. The third straight game? Now the entire NFL is on notice after seeing what rookie WR Mike Evans did again this Sunday. By now you've heard the accolades and the stats, things like three-straight 100-yard, one-TD games as a rookie putting Evans in the company of Randy Moss circa 1998. The bottom line is this: Mike Evans has lived up to the hype thus far and has clearly become one of the big play receiving threats to contend with in the entire NFL. From here out, we can expect to see times when defenses shift their double-teams away from the deserving Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson, and towards Evans. This will open Jackson back up for one-on-one big play opportunities down field, too, right alongside the emerging star. Evans and Jackson are well on their way to truly becoming the 1-2 punch that Bucs have hoped for all along.
3) The Pass Rush Was Back … and BOY Was It Back!
Bucs fans who remember the Sapp-McFarland-Rice, "QB under siege" days, tell me, did you enjoy that yesterday?
For the first time since the September win at Pittsburgh, the Bucs got constant pressure in the backfield resulting in sack after sack after sack. Whether it was Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald up the middle or young Jacquies Smith and Michael Johnson on the ends, RGIII had nowhere to go for much of the afternoon. Even when they did not get him on the ground, the consistent pressure and harassment kept the 'Skins QB uncomfortable and inaccurate throughout the game. This was an A performance by the Bucs D-Line and the pass rush overall, and we all now celebrate the result. It was another big reason for the easy road win.