Gameday: Bucs at 49ers

Sunday's game between Tampa Bay and San Francisco is just hours away. Get ready for the game with's "Bucs Primer," the most complete preview package for the Buccaneers on the Web each week (P-Denotes premium story that can only be accessed with a subscription).

Need to get ready for the game? Look no further than's "Bucs Primer." Along with a game capsule, the Primer also provides links to all of's coverage leading up to the game. So before the capsule, here's a look at our complete package of stories this week:


Jon Gruden's Monday press conference (P).

Observation Deck: Bucs-Falcons review (P).

Buccaneers Blog: Bucs will keep pushing.

Press Pass: Inside the Locker Room (after the Falcons victory).


Buccaneers Blog: No Bucs in Pro Bowl

First Look: San Francisco 49ers (P)

Film Session: Bucs vs. Falcons (P)

No Bucs among Pro Bowl picks

Press Pass: Bucs ST coach Richard Bisaccia (P)


Buccaneers Blog: Spurlock is honored

Bucs seem blasé about Pro Bowl shutout

Jon Gruden's Wednesday post-practice transcript (P).


Garcia set for emotional return to SF

CFL products, two others, work out for Bucs (P).

Jon Gruden's Thursday post-practice transcript (P).

Buccaneers Blog: Askew continuing to practice.

Behind Enemy Lines: 49ers-Bucs Part 1 (P).


Bucs O-Line appears to be on the rise

Buccaneers Blog: Heading west

Behind Enemy Lines: 49ers-Bucs Part 2 (P).

Jon Gruden's Friday post-practice transcript (P).


Observation Deck: Bucs-49ers Preview (P).'s Matthew Postins will update readers throughout Sunday's game on the main page at He'll file updates after every score and at the end of each quarter.

Also, as a premium subscriber, you can now access Matthew Postins' appearances on the Scot Brantley show on WHBO 1470, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Tampa-St. Petersburg. Postins appears with Brantley, a former Buccaneers linebacker, on Tuesday between 3-6 p.m. to talk about the Bucs. His previous can be found in the audio section at

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5) at San Francisco 49ers (4-10)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EST


TV: FOX, Dick Stockton, Brian Baldinger

PREDICTION: Bucs 30, 49ers 13 (Matthew Postins).

SERIES: 18th meeting. Niners lead the series, 14-3, but Tampa Bay has won three of the last five meetings, including a playoff win in Tampa in 2002. But the Bucs' only road win in San Francisco came in 1980.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Bucs expect to see an array of alignments and blitz packages from the 49ers. QB Jeff Garcia has to do a good job of recognizing where the pressure is coming from, but his best friend will be Graham being productive on the ground and limiting how aggressive San Francisco's defense can be. ... 49ers QB Shaun Hill has completed 78.2 percent of his passes in his first six quarters of NFL action. He won't stretch the field much, but Hill he has a quick release and is adept at running a West Coast style of attack. One of the beneficiaries has been WR Darrell Jackson, coming off by far his most productive game of the season.

KEY INJURIES: Bucs: DE Greg Spires (calf) has a chance to return this week. 49ers: Hill (dislocated right index finger) continues to play through the pain; QB Trent Dilfer (concussion) is expected to miss the final two games; RB Frank Gore (ankle sprain) is limited in practice, but continues to play.

FAST FACTS: ILB Patrick Willis is the first 49er rookie to be named to the Pro Bowl since Ronnie Lott in 1981. ... The Bucs have received 14.0 sacks from the right end spot between Gaines Adams (6.0) and Greg White (8.0).



--DE Patrick Chukwurah did not practice again Thursday due to a hamstring strain. He is expected to be doubtful for Sunday's game at San Francisco.

--LB Ryan Nece did not practice Thursday due to a groin strain. He is expected to be doubtful for Sunday's game at San Francisco.

--FB B.J. Askew was limited in practice Thursday due to an ankle sprain. He is questionable for Sunday's game at San Francisco.

--RB Michael Pittman could see some action at fullback with the injury to B.J. Askew. Pittman had full participation in practice Thursday despite an ankle sprain.

--DE Greg Spires could return to action Sunday at San Francisco despite being sidelined the last few weeks with a calf injury.

--WR Joey Galloway returned to practice Thursday after a day off. He needs 15 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving plateau for the third straight season.


--WR Arnaz Battle went through limited practice Thursday and is expected to start and play Sunday against the Buccaneers. Battle has started all but one game this season. He is tied for the team lead with 47 receptions. He leads the 49ers with 581 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

--RB Frank Gore went through limited practice Thursday but is expected to start against the Buccaneers. Gore is just 81 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark. He is looking to become only the fifth back in 49ers history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, joining Joe Perry, Roger Craig, Garrison Hearst and Charlie Garner.

--QB Trent Dilfer has been ruled out for Sunday's game with a concussion. He is not expected to play again this season.

--RB Michael Robinson took part in limited practice Thursday with a left shoulder stinger. He is expected to play Sunday against the Buccaneers in his usual special teams roles.

--P Andy Lee has a 42.4-yard net punting average on a league-high 87 punts. He has two games standing in his way to becoming the only punter in NFL history to average more than 40 yards net for an entire season.



Tight end Jerramy Stevens was disappointed he couldn't celebrate the Bucs clinching the division with his teammates. He was serving a one-game suspension by the league for a September DUI conviction in Arizona.

But the 28-year-old Stevens is relieved the suspension wasn't longer.

"It was real weird to be away, to play the whole season and then be gone the week that we clinch the division," Stevens said. "I was real happy, obviously, for the guys but it was a little strange being away and missing the celebration and the excitement of winning the division and knowing we had our place locked. But man, I was just glad we got the business done."

"I'm really glad I was only forced to deal with a one-game suspension. I'm just really excited to be back with the team and have that kind of behind us and be able to push forward in the playoffs without having to worry if it's next week or the week after. Now I can just go forward."

Coach Jon Gruden said Stevens is valuable in the running game and passing attack.

"It's good for us," Gruden said. "He's a guy we think we can use in situations in the passing game and I think he's improved as a run-blocker. We'd like to see a lot of him here in the next couple weeks."


Veteran defensive lineman Bryant Young does not want to be the center of attention Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the home fans are likely to give him special notice.

Young's 14-year career is expected to come to an end this season. So that means Sunday's game would be his final appearance at Candlestick.

"More than likely this is my last home game," Young said. "But we still have two games remaining and I don't want to take any focus off that."

Young leads the 49ers with 6.5 sacks and is still considered one of the top players on the team. He was named as an NFC Pro Bowl alternate this week. He was also awarded the 49ers' most prestigious honor, the Len Eshmont Award, for the record eighth time in his career. The award goes to the 49ers' most inspirational and courageous player.

Despite being at near the top of his game, Young said it is time for him to leave.

"Do you leave the game when they push you out or when you've barely walking? When is the right time? That's determined by the individual, and you have to listen to your body and what your spirit is telling you."

Young was a rookie in 1994 when the 49ers last won a Super Bowl. He has left a lasting impression with a whole new generation of 49ers players.

"He has an influence on me far more than football," linebacker Jeff Ulbrich said. "When I see him with his wife and kids, and the way he carries himself, he's one of the role models in my life."

Ulbrich said Young's unselfish attitude is what sets him apart. He said there are times when Young eschews the opportunity to pile up individual statistics for the good of the team. He said it is common for Young to be content to occupy blockers so one of his teammates can make a play.

"He does a lot of the little things that don't get noticed," Ulbrich said.

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