Bucs 14, Bengals 13
Is this the day the Bucs get off the schneid? Yes, in dramatic fashion.
Bruce Gradkowski had his struggles but led the Bucs on a final drive that concluded with Michael Clayton's catch-and-stretch touchdown with 35 seconds left. The initial ruling was incomplete, but replays showed Clayton lost the ball when he landed in the end zone.
Here's the blow-by-blow account:
- Watch the right side of the Bucs' offensive line: Rookies Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood are starting at guard and tackle.
- Wide receiver Michael Clayton this week called for more throws his way. He and Bruce Gradkowski can't connect on third down.
- Booger McFarland tackles Rudi Johnson for a loss. Let's see how many of those the defense gets today. Well, make that two. Carson Palmer recovers his own fumble.
- Gradkowski shows quick feet in the pocket, but the back-footed throw to the sidelines looks like a pick waiting to happen.
- Three passes so far to Clayton, one completion for 5 yards.
- Four tackles for a loss. Two Rudi Johnson sweeps are stuffed. Some bad luck: Bengals have fallen on two of their fumbles. Three downs and out.
- On a reverse, Joey Galloway runs 30 yards to gain two yards. Honestly, thanks to Galloway's speed, the two yards are a bonus.
- Clayton breaks a tackle for a first down. Four throws his way, two completions.
- Ragged-looking throw is ruled an interception. Gradkowski rips off the interceptor's helmet. Bucs challenge. If the ruling is incomplete, does the personal foul stand? Yes.
- No small achievement. Blue Adams tackles the Bengals' punt returner in the open field. 57-yard kick, 2-yard return.
- Bengals have zero yards rushing at this point.
- Will an offense cross midfield?
- Yes, Gradkowski to Galloway for 18 yards.
- Longest play of game for Cincy: 10-yard pass to Chad Johnson. Followed by Bucs' fifth tackle for a loss.
- Crowd groans as Juran Bolden whiffs on Chad Johnson.
- Running behind the rookie linemen, Cadillac gains 18 yards.
- Two shots at Clayton in the end zone aren't even close. That's six throws his way, with two completions for 16 yards.
- Matt Bryant misses field goal; he's 2-of-5 this year.
- Off his back foot, Gradkowski throws into triple coverage. Interception.
- At the Tampa Bay 39, proud stand by the defense, batting down Palmer's fourth-down throw.
HALFTIME: Bengals 7, Bucs nothing
- Gradkowski: 9-of-20 for 75 yards; one interception.
- Cadillac: 10 carries, 42 yards.
- Palmer: 15-of-20, 132 yards.
- Bengals rushers: 8 carries, 3 yards.
- Third-down conversions: Bengals, 1-of-6; Bucs, 1-of-7.
- Rudi Johnson gains 24 yards on three carries. Shelton Quarles is down on the field.
- Hello. Cadillac for 38 yards. But at the Cincy 21, it's still hard to feel confident.
- Gradkowski escapes the pocket. First down on a generous spot.
- Generous penalty on Robert Geathers. Roughing the passer sets up Bucs at the 9.
Bucs 7, Bengals 7
Gradkowski finishes 5-for-5 drive with TD throw to Alex Smith.
- Rudi Johnson continues his second-half revival.
Bengals 10, Bucs 7
A field goal completes a 54-yard drive.
- Stopping the Bengals is critical. The chance of the Bucs overcoming a deficit of more than one score is remote.
- Ike Hilliard's sure hands are welcome on punt returns. He hurries to field a short punt and sets up the Bucs at the Cincy 46.
- Cadillac at 100 yards. That's two consecutive games.
- Ugh. Gradkowski misses Alex Smith on third and short. Josh Bidwell kicks into end zone. Bengals dodge two bullets.
- Uh-oh. Palmer to Chad Johnson for 51 yards.
- Bend, don't break. Three downs at the Bucs 29 and nothing for Cincinnati.
Bengals 13, Bucs 7
Another field goal and another challenge for Bruce Gradkowski.
- So far, so good: two throws, two first downs.
- First down on Gradkowski's sideline stretch.
- Pffftttttttt. Cadillac is under 100 yards now after a big loss. The drive stalls.
- The defense is asked again for a stop. Watch the bomb.
- Thanks, Bengals. Playing the odds, Cincinnati is conservative, figuring the Bucs are unlikely to score. A safe bet at this point.
- How many times have we heard "almost picked off"?
- Wait a minute now. Clayton for the first down at the Bengals 32.
- Whoa, another favorable break for the Bucs. Roughing the passer on a sack? We'll take it.
- Well, here we go. Another Bucs receiver drops an apparent winning touchdown on fourth down (hello, Edell Shepherd). Replays shows Clayton stretching into end zone with football.
- Too much time for Palmer in the pocket.
- 62 yards into the wind? Yeah, right.