Trouble Sealing Deal On The Road
Anwar Richardson, The Tampa Tribune, published 22 October 2007

Something bad seems to happen when Tampa Bay does not see a large pirate ship or 60,000 of its screaming fans wearing pewter and red. After Tampa Bay's 23-16 loss against Detroit, the Bucs fell to 4-3, but more startling, they are 1-3 away from Raymond James Stadium.

'We were kind of sitting back against Detroit, and that is something we have to improve,' Bucs linebacker Cato June said. 'We do a great job when we're at home, but we have to improve on the road. We have to take that same intensity into different stadiums and play well.'

So far, it has only happened once. Tampa Bay has been defeated by Seattle (20-6), Indianapolis (33-14) and Detroit this season. The Bucs' only road victory was against Carolina, 20-7, but after this loss, players struggled to explain why they play differently when not in Tampa.

'We love our crowd to be into it, and everybody likes to be on their own turf, but at the same time, if you want to be a good football team, you've got to win on the road,' Ike Hilliard said. 'If you want to establish yourself as one of the elite clubs, you have to win on the road. That is something we haven't done well.'

Tampa Bay has a reprieve, because it will host Jacksonville on Sunday, followed by Arizona and a bye week, so the Bucs' next road game will be at Atlanta on Nov. 18. 'I think you obviously feed off the home crowd, but we have to be professionals in what we do and create our own energy and get the job done regardless of where we're playing. It's just something we have to get better at,' Jerramy Stevens said.

A familiar sight
Tampa Bay is unfortunately getting used to players going down with injuries, and that disturbing trend continued against Detroit. Michael Clayton injured his right ankle, while kick returner Mark Jones hurt his left knee during Tampa Bay's loss. The extent of the injuries will be determined after tests are run today, but Clayton expects to be out for several weeks.

'It's not long-term. I should be out for a few weeks and I'll be back,' Clayton said. 'My leg got caught in the turf and I tried to get it out and it got bent back. It's kind of like the same thing Cadillac did, but I was luckier than him. I went straight back and not to the side. My knee is fine, so basically I need to check on my ankle when I get back to Tampa.'

Stevens and Stovall shine
Stevens and Maurice Stovall took advantage of their opportunities on Sunday. Stovall, who barely has been used this season, caught his first touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. It was Stovall's only reception of the game, which was a bittersweet moment for him because of the outcome.

'There wasn't any sweet in it. It was all bitter,' Stovall said. 'We were down the whole game. We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes we normally don't do. We shot ourselves in the foot today, but nothing that cannot be corrected. I did score today, but there wasn't enough time to put more points on the board.'

Game notes
Jeff Garcia tied a franchise record with 18 consecutive completions. Brad Johnson had 18 in a row over two games, at Philadelphia (13) on Sept. 8, 2003, and against Carolina (5), Sept. 14, 2003. Garcia did break Steve DeBerg's single-game record (15), set against Minnesota on Sept. 14, 1986.

Since 2004, the Bucs are 1-19 when trailing after the first quarter.

Graham had 11 career catches before getting 13 receptions on Sunday.

Bucs DE Kevin Carter recorded half a sack and needs one more sack to reach 100 for his career.