Bucs-49ers game summary, grades

Here are the scoring summary, statistics and position grades for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their 21-19 loss to San Francisco on Sunday, Dec.. 23, 2007:

First quarter

TB: Matt Bryant 34 field goal, 8:09

Drive: 10 plays, 64 yards, 5:08.

Key play: QB Jeff Garcia's 26-yard pass to Ike Hilliard on 3rd-and-4 put the Bucs in 49ers territory.

Tampa Bay 3, San Francisco 0

TB: Matt Bryant 22 field goal, 2:36

Drive: 8 plays, 57 yards, 3:48.

Key play: 49ers Pro Bowl LB Patrick Willis deflected Garcia's TD pass attempt to TE Alex Smith on 3rd-and-goal from the 49ers 5.

Tampa Bay 6, San Francisco 0

Second quarter

SF: Darrell Jackson 21 pass from Shaun Hill (Joe Nedney kick), 14:56

Drive: 7 plays, 72 yards, 2:40.

Key play: Frank Gore had two big runs on the drive of 20 and 11 yards to help put the 49ers in Buccaneers territory.

San Francisco 7, Tampa Bay 6

TB: Jerramy Stevens 24 pass from Jeff Garcia (Bryant kick), 3:49

Drive: 4 plays, 36 yards, 1:44.

Key play: Bucs S Jermaine Phillips forced a fumble from 49ers TE Vernon Davis, which LB Barrett Ruud recovered to give the Bucs the football and the 49ers 36-yard line.

Tampa Bay 13, San Francisco 7

Third quarter

SF: Vernon Davis 5 pass from Hill (Nedney kick), 9:30.

Drive: 3 plays, 14 yards, 1:27.

Key play: 49ers LB Patrick Willis forced a fumble from Bucs QB Luke McCown to give the 49ers possession at the Bucs 14-yard line.

San Francisco 14, Tampa Bay 13

Fourth quarter

SF: Frank Gore 23 pass from Hill (Nedney kick), 14:11.

Drive: 1 plays, 23 yards, :06.

Key play: McCown is intercepted by Niners CB Nate Clements after Smith is unable to catch McCown's throw. Clements returns the INT 62 yards to the Bucs 23.

San Francisco 21, Tampa Bay 13

TB: Stevens 24 pass from McCown (pass failed), 1:20.

Drive: 8 plays, 61 yards, 1:25.

Key play: McCown did an exceptional job buying time to hit Stevens for the touchdown. But the game-tying 2-point conversion failed because WR Michael Clayton's back foot came down out of the end zone.

San Francisco 21, Tampa Bay 19



Tampa Bay


Earnest Graham—9—21—0—10

Luke McCown—2—17—0—13

Michael Bennett—5—16—0—7

Michael Pittman—7—13—0—4

Jeff Garcia—1—0—0—0


San Francisco


Frank Gore—21—89—0—29

Moran Norris—1—6—0—6

Maurice Hicks—1—3—0—3

Shaun Hill—6—-1—0—2



Tampa Bay


Jeff Garcia—20—12—196—1—0

Luke McCown—32—18—185—1—1


San Francisco


Shaun Hill—24—11—123—3—1



Tampa Bay


Michael Pittman—7—54—0—16

Alex Smith—6—79—0—32

Michael Clayton—5—71—0—25

Jerramy Stevens—4—73—2—24t

Ike Hilliard—3—50—0—26

Michael Bennett—2—14—0—8

Earnest Graham—2—11—0—6

Joey Galloway—1—29—0—29


San Francisco


Frank Gore—4—43—1—23t

Vernon Davis—3—30—1—15

Darrell Jackson—2—27—1—21t

Delaine Walker—2—23—0—14


Bucs Gradebook

Quarterback: B-. Jeff Garcia had a crisp day, throwing a TD pass before exiting. Luke McCown was less sharp, though he led the Bucs back to a late touchdown and nearly tied the game. He's still struggling with getting rid of the ball on the run, which led to a fumble.

Running backs: D. For the first time in nearly two months, the running game was completely ineffective. I'm not sure if it was a great game by San Francisco's defensive line or a disinterested effort by Tampa Bay's run offense.

Wide receivers: C. TE Alex Smith had a big afternoon. But most of the starters were done by the second quarter. Maurice Stovall left the game with an injury. Michael Clayton made some nice plays late, but he needed to get that second foot inbounds on the 2-point conversion.

Offensive line: D. The Bucs ran the ball horribly. Jeff Garcia and Luke McCown were knocked around. And at least three linemen committed penalties. And this came less than a week after most media outlets heaped well-deserved praise on the unit.

Defensive line: C+. Jovan Haye, Greg White and Gaines Adams each put pressure on Niners QB Shaun Hill, laying out several big hits. They didn't do as well plugging up the holes in the run game, though. Ryan Sims had his first sack.

Linebackers: C. Barrett Ruud recovered a fumble. The starters were done by halftime. Jeremiah Trotter proved he had some value with solid play in the final 30 minutes. Quincy Black had three tackles in a half of football.

Secondary: B+. The starters had some nice chances to pick Hill off, but only did so once. Jermaine Phillips forced a fumble. Hill didn't do much better with the Bucs' backups in, as their coverage remained sound.

Special teams: B-. The coverage units did a nice job on Sunday, limiting the Niners in terms of field position. But their own return units didn't fare well, either, despite a plethora of chances (SF's Andy Lee punted nine times).

Overall grade: C. At times this outfit looked pretty disinterested, even though playoff seeding was still on the line. Without the effective running game, the Bucs struggled to hang on to the football at times. The QB play was all right, but the Stovall injury could be a big blow to special teams and depth, if it's serious. All things considered, the Bucs played down to the level of the 49ers. This was a game they should have won, and if they had run the football better, they would have.

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