Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Broncos say they're prepared for shorthanded Steelers

RECOMMENDED READING


DENVER — The Steelers stagger into Denver for today's AFC division-round game with ailing Ben Roethlisberger, who won't have his leading rusher or his top receiver against the league's best defense.

So what?

The Steelers (11-6) are deep even without All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown (concussion) and running back DeAngelo Williams (foot), and the Broncos insist Big Ben can go deep even with a sprained throwing shoulder.

The Broncos (12-4) swear they won't make the same mistake as last year, either. Denver came off a bye and faced a banged-up underdog. Result? Indianapolis 24, Denver 13.

"I think we were focused on New England," cornerback Aqib Talib said. "There was a bunch of future talk when we didn't even get the Colts yet."

Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, whose 80-yard touchdown in overtime from Tim Tebow was the dagger the last time these teams met in the playoffs four years ago, said, "All we're worried about now is the Steelers."

Roethlisberger threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-27 win over Denver on Dec. 27; Brown had 16 catches for 189 yards and two scores.

And even with Brown out, the Steelers still have Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and tight end Heath Miller, who combined for 163 catches and 14 touchdowns.

"We've got great wideouts," rookie Sammie Coates said. "We're going to … fill in his shoes and make the plays we know we've got to make."

Thomas has extra motivation of his own — his mother will see him play in person for the first time. Katina Smith was released from federal prison last summer when President Barack Obama commuted her sentence on drug trafficking charges. Smith went to a halfway house, then home, but was restricted from traveling until now. "I'll be excited, she'll be excited," said Thomas, whose mother and grandmother were arrested and incarcerated when he was 11; he went to live with an uncle.

Comments
Cannon Fodder podcast: Eye on Julio Jones, new stadium

Cannon Fodder podcast: Eye on Julio Jones, new stadium

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman is back for one more Bucs-Falcons preview podcast, looking at Julio Jones’ rank among the all-time Bucs’ opponents, the new stadium in Atlanta, our story on game balls and much more. Listen below: ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

The Bucs face the defending NFC champion in its new home Sunday in Atlanta.Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s predictions for Tampa Bay’s 1 p.m. game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:MATTY ICE-FOLLIESRick Stroud, @NFLStroud: T...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs’ Will Gholston glad to return from ‘knee-buckling’ neck injury

Bucs’ Will Gholston glad to return from ‘knee-buckling’ neck injury

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston will make a healthy return Sunday in Atlanta after missing two games with a neck injury, and he's thankful and relieved not to have to deal with anything more severe."It was knee-buckling," Gholston said. "I was stand...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Published: 11/23/17

Koetter says Bucs not distracted by Jameis Winston’s off-field issue

The Bucs are 1-0 since news broke last Friday of Jameis Winston being accused by an Uber driver of groping her during a ride in March of 2016.That's really all the evidence coach Dirk Koetter needs to say the issue has not been a distraction to the t...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it’s too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner."We haven’t turned a corner yet," McCoy said Wednesday, preparing for Sunday’s game at Atlanta. "It’s ...
Published: 11/22/17
McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

The Bucs aren't faring well in early Pro Bowl fan voting, with DT Gerald McCoy as the only Tampa Bay player ranking in the top 10 at his position.McCoy, seeking his sixth straight Pro Bowl selection, ranks seventh among NFL defensive tackles, one wee...
Published: 11/22/17
NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Happy Thanksgiving! It's already week 12 of the NFL season, and the football feast is set to begin. It all starts at at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, when the Lions try to win their fifth straight Thanksgiving Day game against a Minnesota team out to bec...
Published: 11/22/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Examining the Bucs’ Hall of Fame semifinalists

Cannon Fodder podcast: Examining the Bucs’ Hall of Fame semifinalists

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman takes a closer look at the three former Bucs who are semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.He also looks at the constant churn on the Bucs’ practice squad and why Julio Jones’ stats have dropped off this season,...
Published: 11/22/17