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Game vs. Patriots no vacation in London

TAMPA — The only thing worse right now for the 0-6 Bucs is the prospect of being thoroughly embarrassed on two continents.

Coach Raheem Morris awoke to the news that playing New England in England on Sunday just got tougher: The Patriots waxed the winless Titans 59-0 as quarterback Tom Brady threw six touchdowns in 35 minutes.

"The obvious thing there is, you're happy to take your game international and make it a bigger game than it already is," Morris said. "You're happy about and excited about that opportunity. But at the same time, you're going to play a team that scored 59 points (Sunday), which I didn't realize until I woke up (Monday).

"(Patriots coach) Bill Belichick is not going to take it easy on us. He just played a (winless) team (Sunday) and he won 59-0. Now he's going to play another one, and I'm sure Bill Belichick is licking his chops, and he should be."

Meanwhile, the Bucs are licking their wounds from Sunday's 28-21 loss to the Panthers.

While the Panthers demoralized the Bucs on the ground — DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 262 yards — the Patriots get it done through the air.

During a 10-minute span in the second quarter against the Titans, Brady threw five touchdown passes. He finished 29-of-34 for 380 yards with six touchdowns. The Bucs secondary has given up eight passes of 40 yards or more this season, including seven touchdowns.

"For some of us, it's the first time out of the country, like myself. But it's not to go out there for a vacation; it's a business trip," said safety Tanard Jackson, who returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown against the Panthers. "If we don't have that mentality, it will show on the film. They're putting up numbers. I just saw the highlights, and that was all I needed to see. … It's definitely a challenge. When you can put up five touchdowns in a quarter, it's a challenge. And you know it's no secret, they're going to try to do the same thing about us and put the ball in the air."

Morris tried to remain upbeat Monday despite watching his defense get beat up on the final drive of the game — a 16-play, 80-yard march that melted 8:04 off the clock and was capped by Williams' 1-yard run for the winning touchdown.

"It's obviously disappointing to be 0-6," Morris said. "There's no doubt about that. The things you've got to focus on for me is the unselfish play of Earnest Graham in going to fullback and playing really, really well."

Morris also praised rookie Sammie Stroughter, a seventh-round pick from Oregon State who replaced injured kick returner Clifton Smith and tied a club record with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

"Now he's bounced back and is becoming a player for us on special teams, that third-down guy, he's kind of filling that Ike Hilliard role on third down where he's becoming money for us," Morris said. "He really energized our team (Sunday) with some of his play.

"You come out and you have an opening drive that scores seven. After that, you score on defense, and after that you run back a kickoff, and after that you win the turnover battle. So many good things happened."

Meanwhile, the Bucs will leave for London on Friday and have a walk-through Saturday at Wembley Stadium.

"I was talking to (Carolina) coach (John) Fox in the middle of the field," Morris said. "He said this is an 8-8 league, and at the end of the day, some people have to push you over the top. We just need our people to do that and we can and we will. We'll figure it out."

Game vs. Patriots no vacation in London 10/19/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 12:06am]
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