Smith Rebounds With Career Highs
The Tampa Tribune, published 26 December 2005

The only thing TE Alex Smith had to show for last week's performance against New England was a large purple bruise on his forehead. Following Saturday's 27-24 overtime victory over Atlanta, the only visible thing on Smith's face was a huge grin. Smith tied WR Joey Galloway with a game-high eight receptions for 75 yards, career highs in both categories for the rookie tight end. Smith had five catches for 46 yards against the Jets. "I was pretty fired up all game," Smith said. "I really wanted to bounce back because I felt like I had a poor showing last week. That was my main goal, to bounce back and have a good time."

Smith has proven to be a sure-handed target for QB Chris Simms. During the Bucs' first scoring drive in the first quarter, Smith caught two key passes for 31 yards to sustain the drive. "I'm just happy I was able to make plays when my name was called," Smith said.

Injury update
Kenyatta Walker limped off the field with a right ankle sprain in the third quarter after he was penalized for holding. He was replaced by Todd Steussie for the remainder of the series. Walker returned later, but was sidelined again later in the game. WR Michael Clayton left the game in the first half with a turf toe injury and did not return. He finished with one reception for 11 yards.

Not so welcome home
Tampa native Michael Jenkins scored his first touchdown in Raymond James Stadium. He said it didn't matter. "We didn't win, and that's the only thing," Jenkins said. "I didn't do enough. I needed to make some more plays."

The former Leto High standout had to buy about 20 tickets for family and friends. They got to watch him catch four passes for 54 yards, including his 8-yard touchdown that tied the game at 14 with 3:25 remaining in the first half. One play Jenkins would have liked to make was on third-and-2 in overtime in what turned out to be the Falcons' final offensive play. The pass, intended for Jenkins, fell incomplete. "Ronde Barber was pressing me," Jenkins said. "I had to go up and over him to get it and just couldn't make the play."