The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost a tightly contested game in Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons. A win would have vaulted the Buccaneers ahead of the Falcons in the NFC South, but several miscues – both early and late in the game – cost the young Tampa Bay squad a precious road victory. When you’re right in the thick of things in the division, there’s no such thing as moral victories. But when you’re as young as the Bucs are, there is something to be said about having a chance to win on the road in the final minutes against a Falcons team that had been playing solid football during the first half of the 2010 season.
Head coach Raheem Morris is trying to find the right balance of not being content with moral victories while trying to keep his team upbeat and believing in themselves. Mostly Morris just wants his young team to learn from their mistakes moving forward.
“We’re 5-3 and you’re in a meaningful game against the Atlanta Falcons,” said Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris. "That’s what everyone in the National Football League wants to be right now – they want to be in meaningful games.
“When you’re at the midway point and playing meaningful games rather than worry about draft status, you’re feeling much better about where you are, what you’re trying to do and how you want to improve your team every week.”
Rookie running back LeGarrette Blount, who had impressed since earning more playing time in recent weeks, had several costly mistakes late in the game that crippled Tampa’s chances.
“(On Blount’s run) he just made a wrong cut,” he said. "He bounces out there and runs over (Thomas DeCloud) and scores a touchdown, we’re all having a pool party. He stuck his foot in the ground, he made a cut. His vision at the time was different from ours would be today or looking at tape. He should go downhill and he didn’t. That happens.
“That’s part of a young football team making a mistake,” Morris said. “But we’ll come back and get better from it. We win and we lose games together. That was not the singular play of the game.”