With strong safety Jermaine Phillips out with a broken arm, Sabby Piscitelli has been under increased scrutiny lately. And the second-year player from Oregon State responded Sunday with a memorable interception.
The Bucs led 17-14 early in the fourth, but the Raiders had it first and 10 at the Bucs 26. Moments earlier, a face mask against Gaines Adams wiped out Phillip Buchanon's interception.
But on his next pass, JaMarcus Russell threw deep to the right toward tight end Zach Miller. The ball was off the mark — and Piscitelli was off to the races. The 6-foot-3, 223-pounder from Boca Raton dashed up the left sideline, weaved across the field, shaking off a few tackles, followed a crushing block by Tanard Jackson and was finally dragged down by Russell at the Oakland 11 for an 84-yard return.
It was Piscitelli's second career interception (both this season), and it set up Cadillac Williams' 8-yard touchdown run that put the Bucs up 24-14 with 11:27 left.
Piscitelli, 25, talked about the return and the disappointment of the season-ending 31-24 defeat.
Describe the play.
JaMarcus tried to look me off, and I just got a good break on it. It was a good rush and made him (overthrow it). I tried to play the ball and do what I could with it. I'm kind of disappointed I didn't score, but that's a long run.
What was going through your head as you were nearing the end zone?
I was trying to score. I cut back and broke a tackle or two, but your body almost shuts off at that point. I even tried to stop and let JaMarcus run by me. But my legs were just (shot). I just wanted to get all the yards I could at that second.
Did you see the block that Jackson threw for you?
Actually, when I cut off that (block), that's when my body starting shutting down. I'm just glad the offense scored, and it kind of bailed us out of that situation.
What has happened to this team in the fourth quarter?
No excuses. You go to the film, and the most important thing is you have to finish. I think we did play well on defense. But we have to go to the film and see what our mistakes were. It's a four-quarter game, and I'm disappointed I couldn't help the team more.
How disappointing is it to have the season end this way?
It's rough. I know it's something that I take personally. And I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen next year and improve my game to make sure I don't contribute to any losses we have.
How important was it to you to make a statement personally?
That's what safeties and corners are there for — to make those big plays and try to turn games around. I think the Bucs had that in mind when they drafted me. That's something I have to work on. It was good to help make a big play and to help us try to win this game. The defensive line did a great job on that, so they get most of the credit.