WINDY DAY Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants was played in windy weather conditions. There were 25-35 mile-per-hour winds that made it difficult for either team to throw the football. The Giants improved to 5-2 on the season by downing the Bucs, 17-3. The Bucs are 2-5 on the season and face the New Orleans Saints at home next Sunday.
KEY MISTAKES PLAGUE BUCS The Buccaneers made plenty of mistakes Sunday, but perhaps none of them were more critical than the ones made by wide receiver Joey Galloway and Michael Clayton, and running back Cadillac Williams.
In the second quarter, Galloway dropped a deep pass from rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski down the right sideline that would have given the Bucs the ball inside the Giants’ 10-yard line. He dropped another pass across the middle of the field later on that drive. Clayton dropped a 25-yard pass from Gradkowski in the corner of the end zone in the second quarter, and fumbled a pass he hauled in from Gradkowski on a fourth-and-7 play in the second half, which resulted in a turnover.
Speaking of fumbles, Williams had a costly one in the second quarter when he failed to handle a pitch from Gradkowski. The Giants recovered the loose ball and took just three plays to put the ball in the end zone to go up 14-0.
BUCS OFFENSE CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE For the second times in as many games, Tampa Bay’s offense failed to produce a touchdown.
Windy weather conditions and a stout New York defense made it difficult for Bucs rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski to get anything going on offense. Of course, dropped passes by his receivers didn’t help matters, either. Gradkowski completed 20-of-48 passes for 139 yards for a quarterback rating of 49.3. Gradkowski struggled, especially on third downs, where the Bucs converted just 2-of-16 (13 percent) of their attempts.
To make matters worse, the Bucs rushed 13 times for 40 yards (3.1 avg.) on Sunday.
DEFENSE DELIVERS Despite giving up two touchdowns to the New York Giants, Tampa Bay’s defense kept the Buccaneers in Sunday’s game by holding the Giants offense, which entered Sunday’s game ranked No. 2 overall, to 251 yards. New York had extremely favorable starting field position throughout the game, but Tampa Bay’s defense managed to hold running back Tiki Barber to 68 yards on 26 carries, which in turn helped this unit get itself off the field and the offense on it. Unfortunately for the Bucs defense, their offense couldn’t deliver on Sunday.
BUCS INACTIVES The following Tampa Bay players did not suit up for Sunday’s game in New York: Quarterback Chris Simms, cornerback Alan Zemaitis, fullback Jerald Sowell, tackle Donald Penn, guard Jeb Terry, wide receiver Maurice Stovall, wide receiver/punt returner Mark Jones and defensive tackle Julian Jenkins.