It wasn't a high-scoring affair, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers topped the Carolina Panthers, 16-10, in their season opener, a strong but measured start for a team expected to improve a rough 2011 under new coach Greg Schiano.
The guys over at Bucs Nation were happy to see an approach to the game that was more reminiscent of an earlier era of Buccaneers football, and not the 4-12 2011 edition of Tampa Bay.
Conservative, turnover-free offense was paired with punishing, disciplined defense buoyed by a strong pass rush reminiscent of the late 1990s in the Tampa Bay area.
Greg Schiano came to town with a new philosophy: run the ball and stop the run, and you'll win the close games in the end. That's the way it turned out in today's game against the Carolina Panthers.
Especially encouraging on offense was quarterback Josh Freeman, who received high praise.
... Josh Freeman became a true game manager. With Vincent Jackson bringing a new dimension to the team's offense and Mike Williams looking more like his 2010 self, the quarterback played it safe. There were no forced passes, and Freeman took two sacks rather than attempting a risky throw on third down.
For more coverage from the Bucs' first-week victory, make sure you head over to Bucs Nation.