Harrington Ready To Rebound Against 3-0 Bucs

Already over a week removed from their loss at Chicago - and in the thick of preparations for their game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Lions' quarterback Joey Harrington was feeling like it was only yesterday.

ALLEN PARK -- The disaster struck the Lions on Sept. 18 in the form of a 38-6 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Ten days later - in the thick of preparations for their game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Joey Harrington was feeling like it was only yesterday.

"I don't think we're getting any further away from that game," Harrington said. "I know it's still in my mind, I know it's still in my gut. The week off was nice for resting the body but all I did was sit and think about the Chicago game. It's still fresh in all our minds."

If the Lions had any delusions of grandeur going into the Bears game, they were quickly dashed. They couldn't run against the Bears and they couldn't stop the Bears from running; they couldn't pass against the Bears and they couldn't stop the Bears passing game.

And now - a bye week later - the Lions will try to get it together again and see what they can do in another road game, this time against the undefeated (3-0) Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It becomes a confidence game more than anything," Harrington said. "When you talk about a statement game, I'm not worried about making a statement to anybody but ourselves.

"This team is ready to get some confidence; I think that's the best way to put it. I talked at the beginning of the season about getting a few breaks, making a few plays, getting on a roll and this is the perfect week to start that.

"Especially after we played Chicago, where we took one on the jaw. It's time to bounce back."

Harrington has to bounce back personally. He was intercepted five times by the Bears and saw his passer rating plummet from 95.4 to 52.3 with one nightmarish performance.

But the quarterback isn't the only one who has to pick up his game a few notches if the Lions hope to have a chance of handing Tampa Bay its first loss of the season.

His receivers have to do a better job of getting open, he has to get better protection from his offensive line and the Lions have to find a way to get Kevin Jones and their running game untracked.

One thing Harrington knows - it's not going to be easy against the Bucs defense.

"They're not going to give you a lot of gimmicks," he said. "They invented Tampa-2. That's the coverage everybody's trying to copycat. They're going to play some of that; that's what they originated.

"And they're also going to give some single safety snaps and try to stop the run. I haven't seen a whole lot of gimmicks or misdirection or trying to confuse you but teams have been successful against us getting a little pressure on us, so I would expect something along those lines."

SERIES HISTORY: 50th meeting between the Lions and Bucs, dating to Detroit's 16-7 victory in 1977, when Tampa Bay became one of the five teams in the NFC Central Division. The Lions hold a slight 26-23 lead but the Bucs have a 13-12 edge on their home turf.


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