Although Michael Clayton earned a reputation as being the Buccaneers’ go-to receiver during his 80-catch, 1,193-yard rookie campaign in 2004 – that was last year. This season, Joey Galloway has also emerged as a favorite target for Tampa Bay quarterback Brian Griese, and that certainly was the case against Detroit.
In addition to gaining four rushing yards on a reverse, Galloway hauled in a game-high seven catches for a career-high 166 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown pass from Griese in the first minute of the third quarter to put Tampa Bay up 17-10. For his efforts, Galloway is this week’s PewterReport.com Pewter Player of the Game.
His 80-yard touchdown came on third-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 20 when Griese audibled after sensing a Detroit blitz and caught the Lions with a single safety deep. Galloway ran a post pattern and caught the ball in stride in front of Lions safety Terrence Holt and outraced cornerback Andre Goodman to the end zone for the score.
“You should have seen him when he was 22 years old coming out of Ohio (State) before two serious injuries,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said of Galloway’s speed. “This guy’s very fast, and very good. He’s a very heady player. He’s got great intelligence and instinctiveness and he can still run fast. He proved that today. We haven’t had a lot of 80-yard touchdown passes in this franchise’s history.”
Gruden is correct. Galloway’s 80-yard score is tied for the sixth-longest pass play in team history with Jack Thompson’s 80-yard pass to tight end Jimmie Giles at Dallas in 1983. The play was also the longest reception for the Bucs since 1992 when tight end Tyji Armstrong hauled in an 81-yard TD pass from Vinny Testaverde against the Los Angeles Rams.
The 80-yard touchdown was the second-longest of Galloway’s career. His longest was an 81-yard TD at San Diego in 1998 when he was a Seattle Seahawk.
Galloway’s 100-yard receiving day was the 19th of his career and the first as a member of the Buccaneers. Galloway’s 166 receiving yards beat his previous best of 146 yards, which came versus San Francisco as a member of the Dallas Cowboys in 2001.
Three of Galloway’s catches converted third downs, while four of his receptions picked up first downs against Detroit.
After Clayton finished the game with just two catches for 11 yards, Galloway became the Bucs’ leading receiver this season with 17 catches for 316 yards (18.5 avg.) and three touchdowns. Clayton has 17 receptions for 196 yards and zero touchdowns through four games this season.
Galloway experienced some leg cramps with 27 seconds left in the third quarter and was carted off the field to get an I.V. before returning in the fourth quarter.
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