Keeping the faith
The Bucs head to Washington seeking to avoid their first eight-game losing streak since Ray Perkins walked the sidelines at Tampa Stadium.
"I ain't frustrated for my team," said Antonio Bryant, who played despite a bone bruise in his left knee that sidelined him at Buffalo last week. "Everybody needs to come to work and do their job. Point blank, period. I'm a realist. It's about integrity. All teams struggle. We've got to get a little more integrity around here and a little more dedication."
The Bucs have been outscored 30-0 in the opening quarter and the defense has struggled during an 0-3 start that is testing locker room unity.
"We're still a team, and that's the main thing," said DE Gaines Adams, who was double-teamed frequently Sunday. "There's nobody pointing fingers around here. This is about winning and we're not winning. This team is counting on me to make plays and at this point, I'm not making 'em."
Although they trailed 14-0, the Bucs had an opportunity to seize momentum after New York's Lawrence Tynes missed a 21-yard FG attempt in the final seconds of the opening half. Tampa Bay received the second-half kickoff, but Ward was stopped for no gain and Leftwich's third-down pass intended for Clayton fell incomplete, part of an 0-for-9 effort by Tampa Bay on third down.
The Giants then marched 64 yards and Tynes kicked a 26-yard FG, effectively placing the game out of reach. "Stops in the red zone are huge," Bucs CB Ronde Barber said. "We needed a score at that point, but it ended up being more of the same."
With the loss, the Buccaneers are now 6-11 all-time against the Giants. Sunday’s game was the 10th regular-season meeting between the two teams in Tampa, of which the Buccaneers have won exactly half.
Inactives: The Buccaneers declared the following eight players inactive prior to Sunday’s game: RB Earnest Graham, C Jeff Faine, OL Marc Dile, T Demar Dotson, WR Maurice Stovall, DT Dre Moore, DE Kyle Moore and designated third quarterback Josh Freeman. Graham, Faine, Stovall and Kyle Moore were out due to injuries.
Ira Kaufman, The Tampa Tribune 27 September 2009