GRADKOWSKI IMPRESSES IN LOSS Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski impressed in his debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite sloppy play from the defense and a multitude of penalties. Gradkowski went 19-for-30 and tossed two touchdowns in the contest. His most impressive pass came on a play-action strike to wide receiver Joey Galloway for a 52-yard gain.
THE FUTILITY CONTINUES Despite another solid effort by the offense, the other phases of the Tampa Bay arsenal came up flat. Tampa Bay’s rushing defense did nothing to improve its case as one of the worst in the NFL, giving up 143 yards on the ground, with 123 of those yards going to Saints running back Deuce McAllister. Late in the fourth quarter with the Bucs clinging to a 4-point lead, the special teams gave up a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown to rookie Reggie Bush. That play proved to be the difference in the game.
KELLY AND NECE RETURN TO THE FIELD Cornerback Brian Kelly made his return to the field after being sidelined two straight games with a severe turf toe injury. Kelly finished the game with a team-leading eight tackles. Linebacker Ryan Nece also returned to action after missing last week’s game against Carolina with a knee injury. Nece finished the game with two tackles.
CADILLAC PULLS OUT OF GARAGE Running back Cadillac Williams broke out of his early season funk to gain 111 yards on 20 carries against the Saints. Williams’ longest run of the game was on a 34-yard scamper. Williams also gained 14 yards on three catches.
FIRST QUARTER DROUGHT ENDS The Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored for the first time in the first quarter for the 2006 season. Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski hit Joey Galloway for an 18-yard touchdown. It was also the first time that the Buccaneers have led in the first half of a game this season.
2004 ALL OVER AGAIN For the second time in three seasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are off to a 0-4. In 2004, the Buccaneers lost their first four games by a total margin of 23 points. For the 2006 season, the Buccaneers have lost by a margin of 43 points.
BUCS INACTIVE PLAYERS The following players were inactive for Tampa Bay’s 24-21 loss to New Orleans: QB Chris Simms, CB Alan Zemaitis, LB Jamie Winborn, T Donald Penn, G Jeb Terry, WR Paris Warren and TE Dave Moore.
Bucs rookie WR Maurice Stovall was active for the first time this season, and even caught a touchdown pass from rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski in the fourth quarter. But that play was negated by offsetting pass interference penalties. The Bucs eventually scored a touchdown on that drive.
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