Defensive line gets pressure on Delhomme
Ira Kaufman, The Tampa Tribune, published 13 September 2010

Surrounded by Tampa Bay's hungry youngsters, veteran defensive end Stylez G. White took on a Pro Bowler Sunday and didn't back down in the trenches. White won his share of the second-half battles as the Buccaneers limited Cleveland to only four first downs after intermission in a 17-14 comeback victory.

Second-year pro Roy Miller and rookie tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price filled the inside run gaps while young ends Kyle Moore and Tim Crowder combined with White to apply a steady edge rush against Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme.

"The rooks kept going hard, chasing the ball,'' said White, who led Tampa Bay's defensive line with five tackles and often got the better of elite left tackle Joe Thomas in the second half. "Joe Thomas is a Pro Bowler for a reason, but this was game day and I was ready. We're 1-0 and I'm already excited about going up to Carolina next week.''

McCoy, the third overall pick in the draft, registered three stops and a forced fumble in his first regular-season game. Price and Miller added two tackles apiece and the Browns ran 12 times for only 17 yards in the final two quarters.

"It was just great to get a win,'' said McCoy, who usually lined up across from savvy veteran guard Eric Steinbach. "I think I played fairly well and we got a win for our fans. I'm happy about it, but I'm not going to dwell on it.''

Price, who had seven family members in attendance for his first pro game, was part of the defensive tackle rotation on a hot, sticky afternoon at Raymond James Stadium. "I had fun out there,'' said the second-round pick from UCLA. "It feels good to win and I think I had a solid game. I got my feet wet out there.''

The Bucs wasted little time unveiling a few defensive wrinkles in an effort to confuse Delhomme, who was 9-2 against Tampa Bay as a member of the Panthers. On Cleveland's initial possession, Crowder drifted back into coverage against tight end Benjamin Watson and broke up a third-down pass. "We had to keep chopping wood out there and we stayed poised,'' White said. "This was a great team effort and our coaches did a great job of rotating us in today in that heat.''

Although the Bucs didn't register a sack, they posted three turnovers and Cleveland converted only 1-of-7 third-down opportunities after halftime. Delhomme threw for 227 yards and one touchdown, but also finished with two interceptions and a 59.2 passer rating.

Cornerback Ronde Barber, who changed the game's momentum with a 64-yard interception return late in the opening half, credited his teammates up front for the turnaround. "Jake threw a bad ball, but we were starting to get a bigger push as the game went on,'' Barber said. "Stylez did well against Thomas and Gerald gave us exactly what we expected.''

The Bucs had been 6-34 since 2005 when trailing after three quarters, but that was before some dynamic play up front sparked a defensive surge. "The old guy (Barber) made a great play and our D-line got the job done,'' said middle linebacker Barrett Ruud. "Once we got the lead, you really saw our rush come alive.''