Josh Freeman was looking like a franchise quarterback, Antonio Bryant was looking like a wide receiver worthy of the franchise tag and the defense was looking kind of like it used to. It wasn’t just because head coach Raheem Morris dumped Jim Bates last week, made himself defensive coordinator and went back to the Tampa Two or Cover Two scheme.
The Bucs suddenly had a pass rush and they were pressuring Atlanta quarterback Chris Redman, who took over for an injured Matt Ryan, all day. They looked like they were about to eliminate Atlanta’s hopes for the playoffs and they seemed to be playing with an inspiration that wasn’t very apparent all season.
It was all looking so good and, then, Morris got in the way. Instead of playing by the book, he signed off on a fake punt that resulted in punter Dirk Johnson looking like Garo Yepremian. Morris signed off on attempting a long field goal that missed and gave the Falcons good field position.
And he called a timeout that he didn’t need to call. That might have helped Atlanta’s coaches and players a little more time to think as Redman threw a touchdown pass to Roddy White with 23 seconds left.
Maybe Morris did the right thing in taking the defense out of Bates’ hands. Maybe Morris will make another move this week and make himself into a head coach -- one that doesn’t make huge mistakes when his team pretty much has a game won.