Alstott Piles On Another TD
The Tampa Tribune, published 28 November 2005

The leap seemed fitting, considering FB Mike Alstott is a Chicago native and was lined up opposite the Bears. Alstott's 2-yard touchdown leap in the fourth quarter marked the fifth time in the past four games the 10th-year veteran has made his way into the end zone, mostly by jumping over the pile.

The touchdown leap has become Alstott's signature move this season, a move reminiscent of late Chicago RB Walter Payton. Alstott's style of play usually has been lowering his head and driving through piles, but lately, he's taken to the air. "I don't care how he does it, as long as he gets in," C John Wade said. "It seems like over the top has been working. If he wants to jump over or jump through, I don't care. As long as he gets in."

Alstott finished the game with three carries for 8 yards and two receptions for 14 yards. Earlier in the week, Coach Jon Gruden credited Alstott's overall play as a fullback. "He's as good as I've ever been around," Gruden said.

Lousy field position
The Bucs lost not only the game, but the battle for field position. Four of the Bucs' first eight possessions began inside the 10-yard line. Tampa Bay's average drive start was the 25, while Chicago's was the 32. Josh Bidwell didn't make it easy for the Bears by downing two of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line. Penalties didn't help the Bucs. PR Mark Jones ripped off a 27-yard return to Chicago's 33-yard line on the Bucs' first possession of the fourth quarter. The return was negated by an illegal-block penalty by LB Ryan Nece, which pushed the Bucs back to the 50. The Bears' only touchdown drive began on Tampa Bay's 1-yard line after QB Chris Simms fumbled on the Bucs' first possession of the game. It was Tampa Bay's only turnover. "We knew it was going to be this kind of game the whole day," Simms said. "We were prepared for it. Who knows what would have happened if we just don't have that first turnover."

Reunited (and it feels so good)
Chicago CB Rashied Davis looks up to WR Edell Shepherd so much, he ranks the Bucs' receiver fourth -- behind God, his mother and his aunt -- as the most important influences in his life. Davis and Shepherd played together at San Jose State, where despite the odds, Davis earned a scholarship. When he was 8 years old, Davis' father was murdered and later, one of his brothers was killed in a car accident. Davis credited Shepherd's support in helping him overcome his obstacles. On Sunday, the two saw most of their action on special teams. Davis returned two punts for 10 yards and three kickoffs for 69 yards, including a long of 33 yards on the opening kickoff. Shepherd returned four kickoffs for 94 yards, including a long of 28 yards.

Injury update
Trainers tended to K Matt Bryant's right hamstring following the opening kickoff, which was a line-drive boot to the 10-yard line. Bryant rode the bike and stretched on the sideline the remainder of the game and missed what would have been a game-tying 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. It was only his third miss of the season. CB Juran Bolden got the wind knocked out of him after tackling TE Desmond Clark in the second quarter, but later returned. LB Marquis Cooper suffered a chest strain in the second half and did not return.

Buc notes
Simeon Rice's sack in the second quarter was his ninth of the season. Rice has at least one sack in six of the past seven games. He also forced a fumble on the play, his sixth of the season, which is one shy of the franchise record held by LB Broderick Thomas (1991) and DE Wally Chambers (1979).
Tampa Bay wore red jerseys at home for the first time this season. It was an interesting choice, since the game-time temperature of 76 degrees could have worked to the Bucs' advantage if the Bears had been in their dark jerseys.
Brian Kelly’s interception in the first half was the 20th of his career, making him just the seventh player in franchise history to reach the 20-pick plateau. Kelly leads the team with four interceptions this season.
Dave Moore’s five-yard catch for a first down in the fourth quarter was his first of the season and first since last December 26, when he caught a 10-yard pass against Carolina.
Mike Alstott caught two passes for 14 yards on the day. He is the only player on the team to have at least one catch in every game this season. His two grabs gave him 276 in his career and left him just four shy of moving into the Bucs’ all-time top five in that category. TE Jimmie Giles currently holds down the fifth spot with 279 career receptions.
Dexter Jackson played for the first time in five games. He had missed four consecutive contests with a hamstring injury. Jackson finished with four tackles and a pass defensed.