Both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets struggled offensively due to the great play from their respective defenses. Both teams struggled to move the ball in the first half, with the Jets only collecting 59 total yards of offense and the Bucs racking up 154 total yards, but only coming up with nine points. After giving up a big 31-yard reception on quarterback Vinny Testaverde's second pass of the game, the Bucs defense allowed only 24 yards the rest of the half.
Tampa Bay did not get into a groove until the middle of the fourth quarter, when the Bucs drove down the field after an interception by cornerback Ronde Barber on a long ball thrown by Testaverde. After creating that turnover, the Bucs eventually had to settle for a Matt Bryant field goal, which was his fourth of the game.
CADILLAC IN THE BODY SHOP
After getting off to a fast start in the NFL, Bucs rookie running back Cadillac Williams has been limited the past two weeks. Last week, Williams came out of the game just before halftime with a foot and hamstring injury. This week, he was made inactive due to his lingering foot and hamstring injuries.
With Williams sidelined, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden turned to the rest of his runners to carry the load. Backup running backs Michael Pittman, Earnest Graham, and fullback Mike Alstott all contributed with 46, 18, and 12 yards, respectively. They combined for 23 carries and averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Quarterback Brian Griese contributed eight yards on three carries.
The Bucs entered Sunday's game as the third-highest penalized team in the league. Tampa Bay was penalized 12 more times on Sunday for 87 yards. Penalties actually favored the Bucs in the first half, overturning two interceptions thrown by QB Brian Griese. Tampa Bay has been penalized at least ten times in eight of its last 17 games.
Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant drilled four field goals from 35, 36, 43 and 30 yards out vs. New York. Bryant kept Tampa Bay in the game when the offense could not punch the ball into the end zone. With those four field goals, Bryant has now made eight field goals out of nine attempts (88.8 percent). Bryant's kicking has contributed heavily to Tampa Bay's 4-1 record. Ironically, Jets kicker Mike Nugent, whom the Bucs had considered drafting to fix their kicking woes last April, had two misses on both of his attempts on Sunday.
The following Buccaneers were declared inactive for Sunday's game at New York: safeties Jermaine Phillips and Donte Nicholson, offensive tackle Chris Colmer, defensive tackle Anthony Bryant, wide receivers Paris Warren and J.R. Russell and running back Carnell Williams. Luke McCown was designated as the team's emergency quarterback.
Tampa Bay reported no injuries throughout the game.
Tampa Bay's 4-1 start is the third-best in franchise history. ... Tampa Bay has lost six straight games to the Jets. ... Thirty-one of New York's 59 first-half yards came on Testaverde's first completion. ... Rookie running back Carnell Williams missed the first game of his career. ... Bucs WR Michael Clayton was held without a catch for the first time in his pro career on Sunday. Defensive end Simeon Rice notched his fourth sack of the season, and he leads the Bucs defense in that category through five games. ... Linebacker Ryan Nece notched his first career sack vs. the Jets. ... The Bucs allowed Curtis Martin to score his first rushing touchdown of the season. ... Tampa Bay allowed its first second-half touchdown of the season. ... Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde was the fourth-oldest quarterback to start a game in NFL history. ... Tampa Bay attempted its first two fourth down conversions of the season and was successful on both of them. ... Bucs wide receiver Edell Shepherd made his first reception of the season for nine yards. ... Tampa Bay out-gained New York in time of possession, 33:11 to 26:49. ... The Bucs were held without a touchdown on offense for the first time since their 10-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 19, 2004.
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