Blowout leaves many Bucs speechless
Ira Kaufman, The Tampa Tribune, published 12 December 2011

Even in Sunday's blowout loss to the Jaguars, it's not difficult to single out the key turning point in a 41-14 setback that rendered several Buccaneers players speechless.

Tampa Bay led 14-0 midway through the second quarter and the Jags had shown virtually no offense under rookie QB Blaine Gabbert when second-year WR Preston Parker settled under Jacksonville's fourth punt of the day.

Parker, who fumbled after fielding a first-quarter punt by Nick Harris, was hit hard by RB Montell Owens and his fumble bounced twice before TE Colin Cloherty scooped it up and ran eight yards for a score that triggered a burst of 41 unanswered points.

That's the second-worst run against the Bucs in franchise history, topped only by a 45-0 debacle at Oakland in 1999. After accounting for two of Tampa Bay's four lost fumbles, Parker declined to speak to reporters.

"There's no explanation on why you fumble the football,'' Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. "There's never, ever going to be an excuse for that. You have to hold onto the ball. You carry everybody's livelihood in your arms and you've got to hang onto the football.''

Coherty was ecstatic after his first career NFL score. "It was awesome,'' he said. "Montell got down there fast and had a huge hit on their returner and I was just right place, right time.''

After their seventh consecutive setback, some Bucs were in no mood to share their feelings. Besides Parker, OLB Geno Hayes waved away reporters and WR Mike Williams said he had little to add. "I'm confused, I have to watch the film,'' Williams said. "We had a 14-0 lead and couldn't hold it.''

But over in another corner, G Davin Joseph patiently made the case for retaining Morris, the embattled head coach who is only one year removed from a 10-win season.

"He does everything he can to give us a chance to win,'' Joseph said. "Raheem's the ultimate coach to play for. He knows how to get us ready while making it a fun place to work. It just so happens on Sunday, when it's time for us to perform as players, we don't play. A lot of it comes down to accountability and we're not accountable enough to ourselves.''