The Bucs have just 16 sacks through eight games, including 10 by the defensive line. Tampa Bay also has not produced a turnover in two games.
Defensive end Simeon Rice leads the club with three sacks, but failed to produce a tackle against the Panthers. Under tackle Anthony McFarland has just one sack and nose tackle Chris Hovan has yet to produce one.
"It hasn't been what we've been accustomed to around here," coach Jon Gruden said of the Bucs pass rush. "We have half a season to address that and make improvements.
"We are doing some very good things now on the defensive line, some very good things. Stopping the run and we are having some good pressure downs. We just haven't had the overall consistency in game-changing-type quarterback pressures and sacks that we need and that goes without saying."
The Bucs defense used to thrive on creating turnovers but has done nothing in the last two weeks to create field position for young quarterback Chris Simms.
"It's obvious we need that," Gruden said of the turnovers. "For years and years, the defense has been able to do that and there's no reason why this defense can't do it or won't do it. So we're going to go back to work here, back to the grind, and try to reach down deep and try to pull it out of them, because we have the potential to get that done.
"But we certainly have been missing the dynamic, playmaking, game-changing type plays that we're accustomed to seeing around here."
--QB Chris Simms will make his third start of the season Sunday against the Redskins. Simms has lost his last three starts for the Bucs dating to last season. He has completed 52 of 86 attempts for 592 yards with two TDs and four interceptions this season.
--RB Cadillac Williams still ranks seventh in the NFC with 496 rushing yards. After setting an NFL record with 434 rushing yards in his first three games, Williams has been held to 62 yards in 35 attempts in his last three games.
--FB Mike Alstott produced two first down receptions and a 1-yard touchdown run in his three touches against Carolina.
--TE Alex Smith leads Bucs tight ends and is fourth on the team with 19 receptions for 177 yards and 2 TDs. Smith also is improving as a blocker and seeing lots of action in the team's two TE set.
--WR Joey Galloway is tied for 12th in the NFL and sixth in the NFC with 44 receptions. His 731 receiving yards rank fifth in the league.
--WR Michael Clayton has caught just 25 passes for 275 yards and has yet to score a touchdown at the midway point of the season. That's way off of his rookie pace when Clayton caught 80 passes, including seven for touchdowns.
--DE Simeon Rice failed to record a tackle or sack against Carolina.
--LB Shelton Quarles tied a career-high with 18 tackles against the Panthers.
--PK Matt Bryant is 11-of-13 in field goal attempts this season with a long of 47 yards at San Francisco. He has just one FG attempt in the last two games.
The Oakland Raiders look to pick up the pieces of a dream that has been repeatedly shattered by the demands of the AFC West.
They're in last place in their division, and for good reason. The Raiders are 0-3 in division games, losing twice to the Kansas City Chiefs - including Sunday's 27-23 heartbreaker - and once to the San Diego Chargers.
And here come the Denver Broncos and coach Mike Shanahan, whose last words to his team before their bye week, as caught by NFL Films cameras, were "Let's come back ready to face my favorite team, the Raiders."
Shanahan saves some of his best sarcasm for the organization that dismissed him during the 1989 season. Shanahan is 15-5 against the Raiders since becoming Denver's head coach in 1995.
He is not the only one using Oakland as a punching bag in the AFC West.
The Raiders have been swept by the Chiefs for three straight seasons, with every game going down to the wire. Oakland hasn't beaten the Chiefs since the 2002 regular-season finale.
Since winning their third straight division title and an AFC championship in 2002, Oakland is 2-13 in the AFC West. Coach Norv Turner, in his second season, is 1-8.
In a perverse way, running back LaMont Jordan found the postgame despair after the most recent division debacle inspiring. The Raiders trailed 20-9 in the fourth quarter to Kansas City, rallied to take a 23-20 lead with 1:45 to play, then lost 27-23 when Larry Johnson scored on a 1-yard run as time expired.
"This is the first time in awhile I actually walked off the field and had tears in my eyes," Jordan said. "That locker room, you get a sense of how the team was hurt. That's something the fans really need to know - that we might have lost this game and things aren't looking too bright for us right now, but we're not giving up.
"That's pretty much the mindset of this team right now."
Right tackle Robert Gallery said the anger could be beneficial against the division-leading Broncos.
"We know they are a good team, but every game we play this year is important," Gallery said. "I think everyone is going to be a little salty from last week's loss. We just have to come out fired up and win the game."
Strong safety Jarrod Cooper pointed to professional pride.
"Last time I checked, everyone signed up for 17 weeks of football," Cooper said. "It's not over yet. So we'll just swallow and keep going just like we did when we did when we lost early in the season."
--QB Kerry Collins threw his third interception of the season into triple coverage against Randy Moss, with Greg Wesley getting the pick. He nearly had another one when threw late on an out pattern to Jerry Porter, with Bennie Sapp dropping what would have been an 80-plus yard interception return for a touchdown.
--RB LaMont Jordan, who had 19 carries for 93 yards, had rushes of 11, 5, 5 and 5 yards to open the second half, but then went 13 plays without touching the ball as the Raiders went from a 9-6 lead to a 20-9 deficit.
--RB Justin Fargas played on special teams but has not carried the ball since gaining 2 yards on one carry on Oct. 2 against Dallas.
--WR Randy Moss, slowed by injury, is averaging 20.8 yards per catch. His stats would project to 52 receptions, 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns over the full season.
--WR Jerry Porter, who leads Raiders wide receivers with 38 receptions, is only 48 yards shy of Randy Moss in receiving yards with 494.
--WR Doug Gabriel, chided by coach Norv Turner for being locked up the previous week by Pacman Jones and not catching a pass, caught 3 passes for 37 yards against Kansas City.
--TE Courtney Anderson caught 2 passes for 26 yards, his first receptions since Oct. 16 against San Diego.
--PK Sebastian Janikowski, who has converted his last 10 field goal attempts, successfully executed a plan to kick off high and toward the sideline toward Chiefs return specialist Dante Hall. Hall averaged just 15.8 yards on four kickoff returns.
--CB Fabian Washington, a rookie first-round draft pick, surrendered a key 13-yard reception to Eddie Kennison on Kansas City's final drive but otherwise had a solid game in coverage and continued to be a fine tackler in the open field. He led the Raiders with nine stops.
--DE-LB Grant Irons, who began the season as a starter until the Raiders began to utilize a 4-2-5 "big nickel" alignment more extensively, saw his most action since Week 1 and had two tackles.
--LB Kirk Morrison, a rookie who has had an excellent season, had his most invisible game of the season against Kansas City. He had a season-low two tackles and was an ineffectual fifth rusher on the 36-yard pass to Larry Johnson which set up Kansas City's winning touchdown.