It appears Smash-and-Dash is going to stick. And for good reason, last night was just simply amazing to watch, for everyone but a Bucs fan that is. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart just dominated in the running game. But while I would give them the game ball, the offensive line deserves a large piece of the pie, or rather a whole cake of there own, for their performance.
In just their third game back as a complete starting line, the line dominated the Bucs. It brought back memories of the preseason game against the Redskins. It was also great to see Muhammad, Smith, King, and Hoover all do their part in blocking. Steve Smith during one of Stewart's long runs, screens his cornerback, then breaks off and throws a hit on the safety (see Stewarts' highlights at 1:09 at the end).
Here's what Steve Smith had to say after the game:
While the line played well, center Ryan Kalil knows there's room for improvement:
"The best part about it is even with all the success, all the stats and all the touchdowns we got tonight, there's still a lot of room for improvement,'' center Ryan Kalil said. "We came out against a really good defense and did what we did and we know there's room to keep getting better.''
Kalil continued to be humble when asked about the line being back together from injuries:
"I don't think Jeff and I by ourselves make that much of a difference,'' Kalil said. "But the rhythm and continuity of having the same guys in there is the biggest part. It was rough early on with not having a lot of stability. But these last couple of games have helped us get in a rhythm. When you get comfortable as a group, you know what the call is going to be and don't have to call it, you can play a lot faster and do what we did tonight.''
Coach Fox like the performance as well:
"I thought our blocking element and our runners were outstanding tonight," said Fox. "That was fairly obvious." "Those two backs are both very special." He added. "People remember what you do in December,'' Fox said. "This was a big stage. I like the way our guys met this challenge.''
Of course, it wouldn't be Fox if he didn't temper his excitement:
"I just don't want them to drink the Kool-Aid they're about to go into."
That's going to be important for the next three games. Sure we ran the ball well this week but that's no guarantee for next week. It seems that J-Stew has the right attitude:
"We aren't trying to send messages," Stewart said. "We are just trying to win a game."
Here's what Julius Peppers had to say about the win:
"I wouldn't necessarily call it a statement game," said defensive end Julius Peppers, who had 1-1/2 sacks and a blocked extra-point attempt. "It was just a game with a lot on the line. And we played well at the right time.
DeAngelo Williams adds:
"We've flown under the radar all year and we've had no problem with it and if we continue to fly under the radar, we still don't have a problem with it," Williams said. "I have a feeling we won't be flying under the radar anymore."
I think he's right.
DeAngelo Williams NFL.com highlights.
Jonathan Stewart NFL.com highlights video.