This was a season of highs and lows for the Bucs. They would have their best win of the season on the road against Carolina, only to suffer their worst loss the next week against New England. The Bucs lost ugly to the Panthers at home, but the next week brought an exciting win over the Redskins. And yesterday's game was no exception.
On the bright side, Monte Kiffin's defense shut down Joe Gibb's offense. The 'Skins could not move the chains on offense and, as a result, set a record for offensive futility by a playoff team.
But the 'Skins defense played well also, and won the game for Washington.
In the end the Bucs shot themselves in the foot with those two odd turnovers in the first quarter which resulted in 14 points for the 'Skins. You can't blame Simms for the first interception since the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage. And the fumble by Cadillac was down right unlucky, considering Marcus Washington should have been ruled down, and then that he was able to fumble the ball forward to Sean "Hock-a-Loogie" Taylor.
But the Bucs benefitted from some good luck just to make the playoffs, so it's only fair that karma balanced out the universe in the end.
Going into the offseason the Bucs have a good deal of decisions they have to make, but that is not necessarily a bad thing this time around. At the quarterback position, the Bucs have to decide between Griese and Simms. Right now Griese is more mature and a better quarterback. Simms, on the other hand, has more upside although he makes immature decisions. I don't think this is as clear cut decision as most people do, since Gruden was forced to simplify the offense for Simms this season, which handicapped the offense.
Additionally, the Bucs have to decide what to do with Simeon Rice and his expensive contract (most likely cut him if he does not restructure), although Rice is a key player on this defense and extremely difficult to replace. And the Bucs have to decide which position to draft in the next couple of months. Do they go with an offensive tackle, cornerback or another position?
With Round One of the playoffs finished and the Bucs out, who are you rooting for? Lovie Smith and Chicago or NFC South opponent Carolina? John Lynch and Denver or Tony Dungy and Indy?