Reggie Barlow had three kick return touchdowns on his resume, but his three-yard catch in the second quarter was the first scoring reception of his eight-year NFL career. Usually a gameday inactive, Barlow was active for the second straight game thanks to WR Joe Jurevicius’ knee injury.
After getting good results using defensive tackles Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland as tight ends in goal-line and short-yardage situations, the Bucs moved another surprise player to that spot against Indianapolis. The newest short-yardage tight end is offensive lineman Kerry Jenkins, who started at left guard for the Bucs last year and is backing up that position and left tackle this season. The 6-5, 305-pound Jenkins first came into the game midway through the second quarter, blocking for an Aaron Stecker sweep around left end. Gruden calls the personnel grouping that includes Jenkins and Sapp the Bucs’ ‘Big Country’ package.
The Buccaneer defense has had at least one takeaway in 45 consecutive games, a streak that was extended against Indianapolis by Keenan McCardell’s fumble recovery in the first quarter. That streak is the second longest in the NFL since 1983 (also Pittsburgh, 1985-88); the longest is Philadelphia’s 71 from 1985-90.
Tampa Bay also pushed its streak of consecutive games with at least one sack to 64 games when DE Ellis Wyms got to QB Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter. The Bucs moved one game closer to the record in that category, established at 68 games by Dallas from 1976-80.
The Buccaneers have lost consecutive home games for the first time since the 2000 season. After opening their home slate that year with a 41-0 destruction of the Chicago Bears, the Bucs lost 21-17 to the New York jets on September 24 and 28-14 to the Detroit Lions on October 19. … Bucs left tackle Roman Oben played in his 100th consecutive game on Monday night, a streak that began in the first game of 997, when he played for the New York Giants.
Prior to the game, John McClain, President of the Pro Football Writers of America Association, presented the Buccaneers’ public relations staff with the Pete Rozelle Award. The Rozelle Award, named for the late NFL commissioner, is presented annually to the league’s outstanding media relations department. Tampa Bay’s department consists of Director of Public Relations Jeff Kamis and assistants Zack Bolno, Julia O’Neal, Tony Morreale and Jason Wahlers.
CB Brian Kelly left the game in the first quarter and did not return due to a torn left pectoral muscle. DE Greg Spires sustained a calf sprain. RB Michael Pittman suffered from cramps. RB Aaron Stecker sustained a right knee sprain. FB Darian Barnes sprained a shoulder. FB Mike Alstott incurred a shoulder contusion. WR Keyshawn Johnson sustained a sprained foot. Jack Golden has a foot sprain.