TAMPA, Fla. -- I’m heading downstairs for interviews and will be back with a full column in a bit. But, first, a Rapid Reaction to Tampa Bay’s 31-16 victory against Carolina.
What it means: The Bucs are 6-3 and in the playoff race more than a lot of people realize. Look at Tampa Bay’s schedule. It’s not hard to spot four games the Bucs should win. The Panthers are 1-8 and, somewhere, George Seifert is rooting that his 1-15 team from 2001 gets some company in the record books.
Highlight reel: If you haven’t seen Kellen Winslow’s 20-yard touchdown catch at the end of the second quarter -- and chances are you haven’t if you live in the Tampa Bay area where the game was blacked out on local television -- you owe it to yourself to catch a replay somewhere. With two defenders all over him, Winslow made as good a catch as you’ll ever see. It was his first touchdown of the season.
Rising star: Tampa Bay rookie receiver Arrelious Benn started the season slowly, but he’s come on strong in recent weeks. He caught a touchdown pass for the second straight game.
Stat of the day: Cadillac Williams averaged 12.4 yards a carry. He came into the game averaging 2.4 yards per carry.
Positive Panther note of the week: Fourth-string running back Mike Goodson, who got the start because the three guys ahead of him were hurt, turned in a 100-yard rushing day.
What’s next: The Buccaneers travel to San Francisco next Sunday. Cross country trips aren’t easy. But the game is against the 49ers. Tampa Bay has already traveled across the country and defeated a bad team (Arizona) once. The John Fox Farewell Tour continues next Sunday when the Panthers host the Baltimore Ravens.