Josh Freeman's right thumb still is broken, but his confidence is much harder to shatter.
In Sunday's 17-14 win over the Browns, there were two late passes — to two different receivers with two different results — that defined the Bucs quarterback's opening day.
On the first, Freeman spotted rookie Mike Williams wide open near the goal line. But the football squirted out of his hand and did everything but quack, fluttering high over Williams' head and denying a certain touchdown.
"He was just … so … wide … open," Freeman said. "I overthrew him. It should've been an easy touchdown. I apologized to Mike because … that should've been his touchdown.
"There are no freebies or do-overs because you have a broken thumb."
But on Freeman's next pass, facing an all-out blitz two plays later and the Bucs trailing 14-10, he feathered a tight spiral 33 yards that Micheal Spurlock cradled like an egg in the end zone for the winning touchdown.