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FIVE MOST IMPRESSIVE BUCS
PewterReport.com lists the five players who impressed us in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 17-14 loss at Miami against the Dolphins. Running back Earnest Graham definitely makes this list, but because he is this week’s PewterReport.com MVP, we will focus on five other players who caught our attention for their solid play.
P JOSH BIDWELL
Bidwell, who may be Tampa Bay’s preseason MVP, has had a phenomenal three-game stretch in August. Against Miami, Bidwell averaged 50.2 yards per punt on five punts. After one of his punts surpassed 60 yards against Tennessee, Bidwell outdid himself against the Dolphins with a crushing 73-yarder that went out of bounds inside the Miami 5-yard line.
K TODD FRANCE
Former NFL Europe Todd France might have gotten a leg up (no pun intended) on fellow kicker Matt Bryant with a strong showing in Tampa Bay’s 17-14 loss at Miami. France was 2-of-2 with kicks of 46 and 27 yards. France remains perfect through the preseason and is now 4-of-4, including a 46-yarder and a 49-yarder. Bryant is 3-of-4 with a potential game-tying 53-yard miss last week against Jacksonville. It was disappointing to see head coach Jon Gruden deny France the opportunity to hit a potentially game-tying 52-yard field goal against Miami.
WR JOEY GALLOWAY
After a nice, circus-like 21-yard grab near the left sidelines, Galloway saw a holding penalty on Bucs guard Sean Mahan negate a 47-yard touchdown catch near the end of the first quarter. Although the play didn’t count, Galloway made a great adjustment on Brian Griese’s deep ball and showed his trademark blazing speed in beating safety Yeremiah Bell. Galloway is healthy, looks fresh and seems poised for huge season in 2005.
CB RONDE BARBER
Barber almost had an interception in the first quarter, but couldn’t get both feet in bounds down the left sidelines. But he did come through with a pick when he stepped in front of Wes Welker in the second quarter. Barber was also active in run defense with five tackles, including four solo stops.
WR J.R. RUSSELL
Whether it was Jon Gruden’s plan to feature Russell against Miami or just Russell getting open, the rookie wide receiver easily had his best game of the preseason. Russell led all receivers with 78 yards on four catches, including a 38-yarder from Chris Simms, which set up Earnest Graham’s 19-yard touchdown on the next play. So many times young wide receivers get lackadaisical on running plays when the play call goes the other way, but Russell stayed with his block and actually helped pave the way for Graham on his scoring run. Russell made two catches that picked up two fourth quarter first downs, including a 23-yarder.
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