The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a disappointing loss. Kicker Martin Gramatica had never missed an extra point in his professional career only to have his potential game-winning PAT blocked - the third kick blocked on the day.
"You can't let one bad game change the things you have done right before," said Gramatica. "We all have confidence in everybody on the field goal unit. I'm not going to think about it. My first kick in Atlanta I'm definitely not going to think about it."
On Wednesday and Thursday, the Bucs worked on correcting the collapse of their kicking protection. Center John Wade moved from right to left guard on some kicks, replacing Cosey Coleman who was overpowered by defensive tackle Kris Jenkins on the blocked extra point.
"There's no excuse," said Coleman. "That's very atypical of me as a player to let something like that happen. Like I said, I've been on the unit for three years and that's never happened with me before. For this to happen in that crucial of a situation, having that be the game-winning kick after we fought so hard to get back into the game, it's just a sick, miserable feeling."
"We're going to work on the physicalness of our protection on our field goals and our PAT's," said Bucs coach Jon Gruden. "We left seven points out on the field the other day that obviously were pivotal to the outcome."
The Buccaneers have had at least one sack and one interception in their last 43 games. Falcons back-up quarterback Doug Johnson will have a tough time ending that streak. Last week against the Redskins, Johnson was sacked twice and threw two interceptions. His quarterback rating for the week was just 57.29.
Quarterback Brad Johnson, who was held to limited practice Thursday with a sore groin, will be facing a team that already has nine sacks on the season. Johnson's not worried though. He is pleased with the protection his front line has given him so far.
"When you actually look at the amount of times we've passed the ball, we really haven't had any sacks. The one we did, I tried to run for it and just didn't quite make it, so really we haven't had any sacks," Johnson said. "Those two teams we played, in Philadelphia and Carolina, there's probably no two harder defenses that you'll face in the league back-to-back than we have the first two weeks of the season. So I feel good about the way those guys are protecting up front for me."
WR Joe Jurevicius - OUT (Knee)
MLB Shelton Quarles - OUT (Forearm)
CB Ronde Barber - Probable (Hamstring)
QB Brad Johnson - Probable (Groin)
DT Warren Sapp - Probable (Knee)
DE Greg Spires - Probable (Other)
WR Brian Finneran - OUT (Hand)
QB Michael Vick - OUT (Leg)
WR LaTarence Dunbar - DOUBTFUL (Groin)
SS Kevin McCadam - DOUBTFUL (Hamstring)
RB T.J. Duckett - QUESTIONABLE (Thigh)
FS Keion Carpenter - PROBABLE (Hamstring)
SS Cory Hall - PROBABLE (Knee)
CB Tod McBride - PROBABLE (Thumb)
OLB Will Overstreet - PROBABLE (Other)
Bucs lead the all-time series 11-8, including wins in the last five meetings. The Bucs biggest win against Atlanta came in 1987 when they defeated the Falcons 48-10. The Bucs have won four of the last five meetings in Atlanta.
LAST TEN GAMES
November 17, 1991 @ Atlanta L 7-43
December 13, 1992 @ Tampa Bay L 7-35
October 31, 1993 @ Atlanta W 31-24
October 9, 1994 @ Atlanta L 13-34
October 22, 1995 @ Tampa Bay L 21-24
November 9, 1997 @ Atlanta W 31-10
November 21, 1999 @ Tampa Bay W 19-10
November 5, 2000 @ Atlanta W 27-14
October 6, 2002 @ Atlanta W 20-6
December 8, 2002 @ Tampa Bay W 34-10
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