Column: Bucs find O, lose D

It’s about time.

It’s about time the offense clicked. Now it’s time for the defense to get on the same page.

Imagine what the score would have been if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played in the first half of Sunday’s game the way they did in the second. The Bucs would be in second place in their division and 3-1 on the season.

Although the loss to the Tennessee Titans (1-4) was a tough one to swallow, it could be much worse. The Bucs are only 2-2 after a quarter of the season played, and it appears as if more wins are coming their way.

After three dismal games and a horrible first half on Sunday, the much-ado-about-nothing Tampa Bay offense finally gave its fans something. Brad Johnson and Keyshawn Johnson will finally get a chance to start endorsing the famous shampoo and baby powder company after their successful connections on Sunday. In fact, Brad Johnson threw his first touchdown of the season and then threw two more. The only problem was the fact it happened in the second half. Three drives, one for a franchise-record 97 yards, showed Buc fans there still is hope left for the Tampa Bay season. But for all its glory, it weren’t enough.

The Bucs’ 28 points wasn’t enough to put away the Titans who were untouchable by Tampa Bay’s overrated defense. “They aren’t what they used to be,” seemed to be the sentiment Sunday when Tennessee converted on third down time and time again.

Warren Sapp finally acquired the first sack of his supposed record-breaking season. But sacks mean nothing when tackles aren’t made once the quarterback gets rid of the ball. The defense had their worst game since they gave up 35 points to the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football last December. Usually, when the Bucs give up big points, the offense somehow comes alive and ends up on top.

Unfortunately, that didn’t occur Sunday. It’s apparent Tampa Bay’s front office has made its decision about Alstott’s future after the season.

But the question must be begged, “Is letting him go the right one?”

Alstott was the offense against Green Bay last week, and he gave the one touchdown that proved to be all the Bucs needed. One point was all they needed Sunday, and somehow it’s as if the 6-foot-5 behemoth wearing number 40 was invisible.

Warrick Dunn, who is undoubtedly a powerful weapon and a blessing for Tampa Bay, made a miraculous recovery from the ankle injury that sidelined him last week and once again became the go-to guy. If they want to accomplish what everyone expects them to, the Bucs need to find a way to utilize both these weapons.

While at no point was the Tennessee game a must-win situation, it could have easily been a win. The offense showed what it is really made of in Sunday’s second half and the defense proved it couldn’t be relied upon to win games anymore.

It’s time for the offense to continue scoring, and it’s time to start expecting it to happen.

This week, the better-than-expected Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) come into Tampa and it’s time for the Bucs fans to expect better than what they’ve seen.

Game 5 was the downward turning point in last season’s debacle. In this flip-flop season, it’s time for the Bucs to flip.

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