Bucs Game Recap

Hammer the nail into the coffin. Slam it shut. Bury it deep, what's left of this ugly 2004 season. With the season on the line, the Bucs pulled an absolute stinker in a 21-14 loss to division rival Carolina that left them with nothing but 2005 to play for.

There was plenty of blame to go around, starting with special teams, moving through the defense, and crashing into the offense before heading upstairs to the coaching booth. With the season hanging in the balance, the Bucs played like the Yucs of old and are now left in a 5-game mode of seeing what 2005 will bring. It started early and ugly on Sunday in Charlotte. Playing in front of a hostile environment, the Bucs emphasized every single flaw that has brought them to a 4-7 record. Only a mathmetician can figure out a way for the Bucs to make the postseason, a carrot that has been hanging temptingly before their eyes since a recent surge, Against Carolina, start placing the blame on the offense. Brian Griese threw for a season-high 347 yards and touch touchdowns, but was sloppy at other times. One of his passes, a floater intended for tight end Ken Dilger, was short by at least five yards. It ended up in the arms of Carolina's Julius Peppers who returned it 46 yards for the score to make it 14-7 in the third quarter. Griese wasn't the only guilty party. Running back Michael Pittman fumbled twice and, once again, the offensive line was shaky at best. On defense, the Bucs put little pressure on mediocre Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme who burned the Bucs most of the afternoon. He completed two touchdown passes to rookie Keary Colbert, including a 40-yard touchdown with 20 seconds remaining. Colbert beat Bucs cornerback Torrie Cox on both of them, with Cox falling down trying to make a tackle on the game-winner. To top it all off, embattled kicker Martin Gramatica missed three chip shot field goals, including a 37-yard field goal with 1:48 to play that would have given the Bucs a lead. Instead, it went wide right giving Delhomme a chance to work his magic. "The disheartening thing is the missed extra points and field goals,'' Bucs receiver Joe Jurivicius told the Associated Press. "It shouldn't have come down to this. ''It's almost laughable.'' Gruden refused to defend his kicker and may bring in competition this week. The Bucs host NFC South Division-leading Atlanta on Sunday

Bucs Blitz Top Stories