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Offense Faces Biggest Test of Season

October 19, 2001 by In the Trenches

Offense Faces Biggest Test of Season

This weekend, the Stillers' offense faces the toughest test of the season. The Bucs did give up 31 points to Tennessee, but they've allowed only 36 points in their other 3 games. In their one and only home game, they held the Packers to only 10 points.

When the Pittsburgh offense lines up, they�ll be facing a Pro Bowl-laden defense with a strong defensive front (Jones, McFarland, Sapp and Rice), an aggressive linebacking crew (Quarles, Duncan and Brooks) and a good secondary (Abraham, Barber, Jackson and Lynch). Both teams' defenses have been likened to one another for their similar styles. This means Tampa has good speed and flocks to the ball. Also, don�t be deceived by the front 4 and their lack of sacks, these guys can still get it done.

Unlike previous opponents that did not always stack the line of scrimmage, Tampa has all the makings of a team that can and will stack the run while still playing solid pass defense. Tony Dungy knows Stiller football (hell, he�s coaching it right now) so he�ll have his team prepped to bury the run. In order to do so, SS Lynch will focus on hawking the RBs and Stewart. This means the offensive line needs to be as good and better than they�ve been all year. In addition, Stewart needs to take yet another baby step forward in throwing the ball.

With the defense clogging the line of scrimmage, Hines and Plex should be able to find seams on quick hit routes. Stewart will need to be accurate on post patterns and he must keep his sideline passes up off the turf to allow run after catch yardage. This will be necessary to convert key third down opportunities.

Famous Amos could have the biggest effect on the offense this week. His speed and cutback ability are just what the doctor ordered against the Bucs. Even if the passing game struggles, AZ could provide the change of pace that keeps Tampa�s defense in check. He should be used more than ever in misdirection runs and catching the ball out of the backfield. Once he gets rolling, all else could fall into place.

This game is extremely important because it will show the true face of the offense. The team will either step up and get the job done, or it will fold against one of the NFL�s strongest defenses. The result could very well determine the team�s playoff destiny year so stay tuned!

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