Let’s not beat around the bush league here; the Bucs are in the Playoffs and they made it by showing no mercy to the wounded Detroit Lions!!! A 13-year long drought finally comes to an end as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put the league’s second-longest Playoff drought behind them and look forward to bettering their position with a win over the Falcons in week 17.
Arians will not sit his starters because, well, Mike Evans has history to make.
Evans, who is no doubt elite, joined elite company on Saturday with guys named Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Calvin Johnson, and Sterling Sharpe, as the only players in history to achieve 500 receptions, 60 touchdowns, and 8,000-yards through the first seven years of their career. Evans had already joined Randy Moss as the two receivers in history to gain or surpass 1,000-yards in each of their first six seasons, with 40-yards on Sunday; Mike Evans stands alone as the only one to do it in the first seven seasons.
Bruce Arians already stated it will be one game at a time and that he will not sit his starting players against the Falcons, but he isn’t exactly worried about whether the Bucs will be 5th or 6th seed in the playoffs, he just wants his guys to control their destined spot. It’s a pride thing.
“We’re going to play to win. Eleven and five, that’s very rare. To have a chance to get to 11-5, keep that seeding – we want that seeding just for pride. We don’t care who we play, it’s more for pride. I’d probably have to beat some guys in the head with a stick to try and get them not to play anyway. I talked to them about it before and they said, ‘I’m playing.’ We’re going to practice and play like everything depends on it. It’s not going to be an easy game, either. I’ve been a part of both sides – that five and six seed are different. I don’t care what anybody says – they’re different – and 10-6, 11-5 are different. I’ve been 10-6 a bunch – been 10-6 and didn’t make the playoffs. Eleven and five is special. I think our guys are more than ready to go.” And go, they shall!
“Anything’s possible. Now that we’re in the dance, we’re going to see what next week brings and where we’re going.”
Following the monster win in Detroit, Bruce Arians had this to say about how he felt about the possibility of taking the top wildcard spot this year. “Anything can happen. I’ve been a six seed and gone all the way to the Super Bowl and won it right here in this stadium.” And that he did. In 2005 he was WRs coach for a Big Ben-led Pittsburgh Steeler team, who grinded their way into a sixth- seed in the wild card and ultimately defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl 21-10.
If history repeats itself, like it often does in the NFL, Arians may be on another team that goes from wild card to Super Bowl Champs and this could be the first time in NFL history that a home team will host a Super Bowl in their own stadium. Even if they don’t, we made the playoffs, and that’s good enough for me!