Stovall shows encouraging signs

Second-year receiver Maurice Stovall netted career highs in receptions and yards during his first serious play this season. Plus, check out news and notes from Sunday's loss to Jacksonville.

Maurice Stovall showed some encouraging signs that he's ready to be a more prominent part of Tampa Bay's passing offense on Sunday.

Stovall finished second on the team in receptions with five against Jacksonville, going 47 yards. Both totals were career highs.

Stovall made three straight drives on the Bucs' final scoring drive of the first half, though the third came back due to his offensive pass interference penalty. He also partially blocked a Jaguars punt that helped give the Buccaneers great field position at the Jaguars 30 late in the third quarter. That led to another Matt Bryant field goal.

"I believe my energy was the same as it is every game and every practice," Stovall said. "Just come with the approach that you are playing, and you are a starter. That way, if the situation does come at hand when somebody gets hurt, or you have to be in to make a play, you'll be ready."

Stovall saw a more prominent role because Michael Clayton was inactive with a sprained ankle.

GARCIA'S STREAK ENDS: Jeff Garcia's streak of pass attempts without an interception ended in the second quarter when Jaguars cornerback Aaron Glenn jumped Garcia's short pass to Joey Galloway on the sideline. Glenn returned it for a touchdown to give the Jaguars a 17-3 lead.

Garcia had gone 217 attempts without an interception, which was the longest current streak in the NFL (it dated back to last season in Philadelphia). Garcia had gone his first 197 pass attempts of 2007 without an interception.

He threw three interceptions for the game.

BENNETT STARTS: Running back Michael Bennett started in his second game with Tampa Bay, and scored a 19-yard touchdown run on what was supposed to be a short swing pass in the third quarter.

The run play led to a 20-17 Buccaneers lead.

Bennett rushed twice for 23 yards. He failed to catch a pass, though he and Garcia came close to hooking up on a route down the field in the second quarter, one that might have led to a touchdown.

"It definitely was bittersweet," Bennett said of the touchdown in relation to the loss. "But it was just good to get involved with the offense, to be able to go out there and gain coach (Jon) Gruden's confidence."

LONGEVITY GROWS: Linebacker Derrick Brooks and defensive end Kevin Carter each logged their 200th straight game on Sunday. They are tied for most consecutive games played among active defensive players. Neither has missed a game to injury.

GALLOWAY ADDS TO HIS TOTALS: Wide receiver Joey Galloway caught his 75th career touchdown on Sunday, giving him 27 total touchdowns as a Buccaneer and tying him for fifth place on the team's all time list with wide receiver Mark Carrier.

LUCAS, SIMS PLAY: Wide receiver Chad Lucas and defensive tackle Ryan Sims both played on Sunday. Sims had been inactive for the season's first seven games. Lucas was called up from the practice squad earlier this week after Mark Jones's season-ending knee injury. Lucas handled two kickoffs for a 17.5-yard average before being replaced by Phillip Buchanon. Sims did not record a tackle.

ASKEW'S CAREER LONG: Fullback B.J. Askew's 21-yard catch in the fourth quarter was a career long.

NFC SOUTH WATCH: Carolina (4-3) lost to Indianapolis, while New Orleans (3-4) defeated San Francisco. That left the Panthers a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay (4-4) in the divisional race, and the Saints one game back. The Bucs have victories over both of their divisional rivals from earlier this season.

INJURIES: Bucs DE Greg Spires left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. He did not return. Jaguars CB Aaron Glenn was dogged by cramps most of the second half. Glenn started for the inactive Brian Williams. Bucs CB Torrie Cox injured his knee returning a kickoff in the first half. He did not return.

INACTIVES: Bucs — QB Luke McCown (third quarterback), CB Brian Kelly, RB Michael Pittman, LB Jeremiah Trotter, DE Patrick Chukwurah, G Dan Buenning, WR Michael Clayton, TE Alex Smith. Jags — QB David Garrard, PK Josh Scobee, WR John Broussard, CB Brian Williams, DT Derek Landri, T Richard Collier, G Uche Nwaneri, DT Tony McDaniel.

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

Bucs Blitz Top Stories