- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: I’m not a big believer in moral victories, but what the Bucs did Sunday came about as close to that as possible. They went on the road and took the defending Super Bowl champions right down to the wire. They blew a big lead, but showed plenty of character by rallying to tie the game late on a touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to Mike Williams. I look at the Bucs and see a team that definitely is way better than last season. But this one showed they haven’t turned the corner yet. They’re a .500 team right now.
What I didn’t like: A defense that, when all was said and done, allowed Manning to throw for 510 yards and three touchdowns. You can win a lot of games when you're scoring 34 points, but not too many when your defense is giving up 41 points.
Free agents paying off: So far, it looks like Tampa Bay’s decision to spend big money in free agency was a wise one. Wright had the big interception and the Bucs finally have given Freeman a true No. 1 wide receiver. Vincent Jackson had five catches for 128 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown.
What’s next: The Bucs travel to Dallas next Sunday to play the Cowboys.