SIMMS ANSWERS CALL AFTER GRIESE GOES DOWN With starting quarterback Brian Griese leaving the game late in the first half after spraining his left knee as a result of a hit by Dolphins star linebacker Zach Thomas, backup quarterback Chris Simms came in to take the reigns.
Simms narrowly escaped an interception at the Dolphins goal line and directed the team to a field goal on the opening drive of the second half. Simms shook off early pressure by a blitzing Dolphin defense to finish the game 6-of-10 for 69 yards. Combined with Griese, Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks finished the game 18-of-26 for 189 yards, a QB rating of 102.9.
RUNAWAY GALLOWAY Tampa Bay wide receiver Joey Galloway continues to show great playmaking ability in the Bucs offense. Although he was flagged for a false start on the second play of the game, Galloway made up for it by making three receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive. Galloway cooled off in the second half, but not before finishing the game with nine receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown.
HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE Last year, Tampa Bay only won four games at home. This year, the Bucs have compiled a 3-0 record at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay went 4-4 last season, splitting their home games. At 5-1, Tampa Bay has also already equaled their win total from last season.
BACKUPS TAKE A STEP FORWARD In 2003 and 2004, Tampa Bay was decimated by injuries at many positions. This year, Bucs backups have helped greatly in contributing to Tampa Bay’s 5-1 record. Backup running back Michael Pittman has stepped in and contributed greatly in rookie Carnell Williams’ absence, making big plays in the passing and running game. Safety Will Allen has been a playmaker when filling the roles of free safety and strong safety. Against Miami, Allen, cornerback Torrie Cox, S Kalvin Pearson and Blue Adams held their own against an impressive receiving group in Dolphins WRs Marty Booker, Chris Chambers, and tight end Randy McMichael. Pearson’s breakup at the goal line of Miami quarterback Gus Frerott’s pass helped preserve the victory for Tampa Bay.
BUC SHOTS Tampa Bay’s 5-1 record ties the best start in team history after six games. … The team started 5-1 in 1979, 1997, and 2002. … The team went to the playoffs in all three years and won the Super Bowl in the 2002 season. … Tampa Bay is 3-0 at home. … Tampa Bay wore the pewter pants for the first time at home this year. … Bucs CB Torrie Cox maintained his kick return duties, returning the opening kickoff 22 yards. … Galloway has scored 10 touchdowns in his last 11 games. … Galloway tied his career high with nine receptions. … Tampa Bay scored 10 points in the first quarter, their most in the first quarter all season. … Running back Earnest Graham made the first start of his career, as a result of a penalty, which nullified the first play of the game where Michael Pittman was slated to start. … Pittman scored his first rushing touchdown of the season on a 57-yard run. … Pittman now has 10 career 100-yard rushing games, eight as a Buccaneer. … Bucs defensive end Greg Spires picked up his second sack of the season. … Rookie middle linebacker Barrett Ruud saw action in his first career regular season game, filling in shortly for middle linebacker Shelton Quarles. … Spires’ sack resulted in a fumble by Dolphins quarterback Gus Frerotte. … Bucs safety Will Allen returned that fumble 33 yards for his first career score. … Allen’s score was the second score of the season by the defense. … Defensive end Simeon Rice recorded his 110th career sack, moving to 14th all-time in NFL history. … Rice has one sack in five of six games this season. … Quarterback Chris Simms completed 6-of-10 passes for 69 yards. … Simms has now played in six career games with two starts. … Kicker Matt Bryant made field goals from 36 and 32 yards. … Bryant is now 10-of-11 on field goal attempts this season. … Tampa Bay scored 17 points in the third quarter, Miami had not given up any points in the third quarter all season before this game. … Tampa Bay entered the game with the top-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. … Miami rushed for a total of 64 yards. … Tampa Bay converted 8-of-17 third downs. Tampa Bay once again outgained an opponent in time of possession, holding the ball for 35:39 as opposed to Miami’s 24:21 of possession time.
BUCS INJURIES Tampa Bay middle linebacker Shelton Quarles left the game shortly in the first half with a lower back bruise. He later returned on the same drive. Quarterback Brian Griese left the game with four minutes left in the first half with a sprained left knee. He was replaced by backup Chris Simms. Safety Dexter Jackson left the game on the Dolphins opening series of the second half with a right hamstring injury. He was replaced by safety Kalvin Pearson. Nickel cornerback Juran Bolden suffered a left shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter. He did not return.
BUCS INACTIVES The following Buccaneers were declared inactive for Sunday’s game versus Miami: safeties Jermaine Phillips and Donte Nicholson, offensive tackle Chris Colmer, center Scott Jackson, defensive tackle Anthony Bryant, wide receiver J.R. Russell, and running back Carnell Williams. Luke McCown was designated at the team’s emergency quarterback.
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