He has been the Bucs’ difference maker this season.

He has been explosive and electric.

He has dazzled the fans with his second gear and scored a plethora of touchdowns this season.

Without him, Tampa Bay’s offense wouldn’t click.

Without him, the Bucs wouldn’t be 11-5.

He has had a record-setting season.

He is Pewter Report’s 2005 Buccaneers Most Valuable Player.

He is wide receiver Joey Galloway.

With four catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Galloway pushed his season totals to 83 catches for 1,287 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 10 touchdowns is the most ever in a single season by a Bucs receiver. Galloway’s 83 catches rank fifth-best in Tampa Bay’s single season records, while his receiving yardage total surpasses Michael Clayton’s 1,193 yards from last year and Keyshawn Johnson’s 1,266 yards in 2001. Only Mark Carrier had more receiving yardage in a season with 1,422 yards.

While some may argue that Tampa Bay rookie running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams should be the Buccaneers’ 2005 MVP, Pewter Report begs to differ and can make a compelling argument in Galloway’s favor.

While Williams earns Pewter Report’s Rookie of the Year award, and will almost certainly win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award due to his 1,178 rushing yards, Galloway has simply had a better, more consistent season. It is true that Tampa Bay was 6-0 when Williams rushed for 100 yards, but it also won almost as many games – five – when he didn’t top the century mark.

Fullback Mike Alstott has scored just as many rushing touchdowns as Williams, who typically left the game in goal line and short yardage plays, in addition to third downs, when Michael Pittman replaced him at halfback. On the other hand, Galloway rarely left the field on any down.

In fact, after missing almost half of the 2004 campaign with a torn groin and being limited to 33 catches for 416 yards and five touchdown catches, Galloway stayed remarkably healthy and started all 16 games this season. Conversely, Williams missed two and a half games with a sprained foot, and that missed time likely cost him Pewter Report’s 2005 Buccaneers MVP honors.

While Galloway was held without a catch in wins over Buffalo and Atlanta, he did catch at least four passes in every other game. Williams was held to less than 30 yards rushing in a total of five games, while posting at least 10 carries in each of those contests. That’s also not including the two games he missed with his foot sprain. While Williams has been a huge addition to the Buccaneers this season, he didn’t contribute much in a total of seven games.

Galloway produced four 100-yard receiving games, but had a total of seven games with 96 yards or more. He also scored touchdowns in six of the Bucs’ 11 wins, including the only TDs for Tampa Bay in its wins at Green Bay and at New Orleans. In the season finale against the Saints, Galloway scored the Bucs’ only offensive touchdowns.

In Williams’ worst game as a pro against Detroit, in which he rushed 11 times for 13 yards, Galloway saved the day for the Buccaneers with seven catches for 166 yards and one touchdown. Against Washington, Williams was held to 20 yards on 10 carries and had a costly fumble that set up a Redskins touchdown in the third quarter. But Galloway came up huge with seven catches for 138 yards and a key touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Galloway has also been Tampa Bay’s chain-mover and big-play producer. While Williams led the Bucs with 59 first downs in 2005, he achieved that total on 310 touches. Galloway was right behind him with 55 first downs, but managed to produce that total on just 85 touches. That’s four less first downs on 225 less touches.

Galloway produced 19 plays over 20 yards to Williams’ nine, and also scored a total of 10 touchdowns compared to Williams’ six. Galloway caught the lion’s share of touchdowns in the receiving corps. Ike Hilliard and Edell Shepherd only had one touchdown apiece, and Michael Clayton did not score in 2005 after catching seven TDs a year ago.

The 11-year veteran receiver often drew double coverage as there was not a real receiving threat opposite him. No other Buccaneers wideout had more than 35 catches and 372 receiving yards. Simply put, without Galloway, the Buccaneers would not have had a viable passing game in 2005, and there is virtually no way that the young Chris Simms could have developed at the pace he did without him.

While both Galloway and Williams complemented each other, it is more likely that the threat of Galloway beating defenses with the deep ball kept opponents from religiously stacking the box with eight defenders against Williams and Tampa Bay’s running game. Without the vertical element that Galloway brought to each game, Williams may not have posted 1,000 yards rushing during his rookie campaign, and that’s why number 84 gets the nod for the Pewter Report 2005 Buccaneers MVP award.

“He’s a great player,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said about Galloway after Tampa Bay’s 27-13 win against New Orleans. “I was mad at him. I thought he had a chance earlier in the game to make a big play on our sideline. He’s got 10 touchdowns and has probably put together one of the most prolific receiving years in the history of this organization. He’s 34 years old and he’s playing like he’s 24. That’s the key. He’s got a lot of football left in him. He’s been a leader. He’s been consistent and he’s been explosive. He can hurt you a lot of different ways. If we’re going to go anywhere in the playoffs, he’ll have to help us do that.”

Aside from Williams, quarterback Chris Simms, cornerback Ronde Barber, linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive end Simeon Rice, defensive tackle Chris Hovan and kicker Matt Bryant also garnered consideration from Pewter Report. Pewter Report will have its full slate of 2005 Buccaneers awards in its January issue.

If you liked this story, be sure to get the inside scoop and more detailed information on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offseason plans regarding roster changes, free agency and the NFL Draft with a Pewter Insider premium subscription. uccaneers merchandise in the world.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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