Healthy Galloway Makes Difference
Joey Galloway's walk off the field Sunday was much different from the wide receiver's departure from last year's opener. "Last year at this time, I was on crutches and couldn't move one leg," Galloway said. "To be able to walk out of here, smiling and happy with a win, feels good."
Galloway had a game-high five receptions for 97 yards in Tampa Bay's 24-13 victory against Minnesota on Sunday. His first touch of the game, a run on third-and-4, resulted in no yards, but his first two receptions, one for 14 yards and the other for 30, picked up first downs and kept a scoring drive alive that resulted in the Bucs' first touchdown. "He's a great player and it's great to have Joey out there healthy," QB Brian Griese said. "I'm looking forward to playing some more games with him because he adds another dimension to our offense that we haven't had in the past."
Galloway opened last season, his first with the Bucs, by tearing his groin at Washington. The injury kept him out of six games. To better prepare for this season, Galloway's workouts were limited at training camp to keep him fresh. "I talked to Coach Jon Gruden about that every day. I tell him I really appreciate the way I feel right now. I feel as good now as I've ever felt coming into a season. I'm excited about the way I feel right now and hopefully, they're excited and we just keep this thing going."
When the Vikings turned the ball over on their third consecutive possession of the game, it was a former teammate who collected it. Bucs NT Chris Hovan approached Sunday's game with a businesslike attitude, but afterward admitted to some minor adjustments. "It is a little weird in the visiting locker room," Hovan said. "It's bigger than the other one."
Hovan spent five seasons with the Vikings before a "change in philosophy" resulted in his departure. He finished the game, the first facing his former team, with two tackles and a fumble recovery. "He did a good enough job for them to win," Minnesota QB Daunte Culpepper said. "I don't watch just him every play. I just play the game against their defense. They won, so it doesn't matter how he played."
Newman's own way
On consecutive plays in the first quarter, Minnesota LB Keith Newman nailed Griese after he just got a pass off to WR Michael Clayton, which was dropped, and then he tackled rookie RB Cadillac Williams for a 5-yard loss. The former Jefferson High School standout wants to keep making big plays like that so he can stay out on the field longer. "Right now I'm not a starter," Newman said. "So when they put me in the game, I have to come out smoking and contribute as much as I can to the defense."
The Bucs were penalized 13 times for 99 yards. Six of those infractions came in the second half. On their first possession of the third quarter, the Bucs had back-to-back penalties -- a holding call against G Sean Mahan and a delay of game. "We obviously had some penalties in the second half that disrupted some offensive opportunities," Gruden said.
Griese's touchdown pass to TE Alex Smith on the first play of the second quarter set a team record. It was the 12th consecutive game with a TD pass for Griese, who had been tied with former Bucs QB Brad Johnson at 11. Johnson, now the Vikings' backup quarterback, saw action in Sunday's game as the holder on extra points and field goals. "Brad Johnson, I owe a lot of my career to," Gruden said. "Some of the great moments I have had, have been with him. I told him before the game I miss him and he looked great." ...
The Tampa Tribune 12 September 2005