Gannon Suffers Early Knockout
Warren Sapp's silver and black No. 99 jersey was the most prevalent team outfit worn by Raiders fans in the parking lot outside Network Associates Coliseum.
Large sections of the upper deck remained empty for the interconference game, which was shown on local television.
The Buccaneers are 0-3 for the first time since 1996, the last year of a 14-year playoff drought for the franchise. The Bucs opened that season 0-5 before winning six of their last 11 and starting 1997 with five straight victories.
The Raiders had an interesting cross-promotion during Sunday nightís game. The team combined with LucasFilms to bring the Stars Wars experience to Network Associates Coliseum. Darth Vader and a number of fully-armored Storm Troopers were on the field prior to the game and the team ran videoboard tributes to the movie series after the first quarter and at halftime.
Both teams paid homage to the heated rivalry and its many cross-team connections during the starting introductions. Tampa Bay introduced its offense and sent its four former Raider starters out last, with G Matt Stinchcomb followed by TE Rickey Dudley, RB Charlie Garner and WR Tim Brown. The Raiders followed with their defense and introduced former Buccaneer DT Warren Sapp last.
Second-year CB Torrie Cox made his regular-season NFL debut on Sunday night after missing his rookie season on injured reserve and being named inactive for the first two games of 2004. It didnít take long for Cox to get involved, as he lined up deep for the opening kickoff and returned it 27 yards to the Bucsí 24.
Derrick Brooks, who finished the game with 11 tackles, made his 131st consecutive start on Sunday night. Thatís the longest active streak by any defensive player in the NFL.
Rich Gannon's 20-month quest for redemption lasted all of seven snaps. Oakland's veteran QB had been looking forward to his first game against the Bucs since he threw five interceptions and suffered five sacks against Tampa Bay in a 48-21 Super Bowl loss. Gannon completed two of four passes on Oakland's initial possession before the Raiders faced third-and-goal from the 7-yard line. Unable to find an open receiver, Gannon began scrambling up the middle when Pro Bowl OLB Derrick Brooks delivered a dynamic helmet-to-helmet hit that left the 38-year-old Gannon sprawled on the ground after a 2- yard gain. A dazed Gannon walked off on his own, but veteran Kerry Collins, obtained as a free agent from the Giants in May, made his Oakland debut under center to start the next series. The Raiders announced X-rays on Gannon's sore back were negative.
Twist of fate
Charlie Garner twisted his right knee in the second quarter and never returned. As Tampa Bay's featured back was being carted off the field, a half-dozen Oakland players came by to offer hopes for a rapid recovery. Another former Raider, Rickey Dudley, left the game in the second quarter with a fractured right thumb.
The Glazers and Raiders owner Al Davis renewed acquaintances Sunday an hour before their teams met in prime time. Malcolm Glazer and his son, Bucs executive vice president Joel Glazer, approached Davis, who was surrounded by security personnel while standing on the sideline in front of the Oakland bench. On Feb. 18, 2002, Davis and the Glazers signed off on a midnight deal that sent Coach Jon Gruden from Oakland to Tampa Bay in exchange for $8 million and four premium draft choices. The Bucs promptly won a Super Bowl by trouncing the Raiders. Oakland parlayed the picks into two starters - CB Phillip Buchanon and DE Tyler Brayton - and two backups, rookie C Jake Grove and T Langston Walker. Buchanon broke the game open by returning a third-quarter pick 32 yards for a touchdown, putting Oakland ahead 23-6.
The Buccaneers named eight players inactive for Sunday nightís game: QB Brian Griese, WR Frank Murphy, FB Greg Comella, T Anthony Davis, G Jeb Terry, WR Joey Galloway, TE Will Heller and DE Josh Savage.