Hurts so good
Guard Davin Joseph said he has worked in practice all season on blocking field-goal attempts. Sunday he delivered. Joseph blocked John Kasay's 52-yard attempt with 6:25 left in the first half with the score tied 7-7. He got a good push up the middle and blocked the kick with his left hand. How did it feel? "It hurts," he said, smiling. It was Joseph's first block and the Bucs' first since Dec. 24, 2006, when Jeb Terry blocked a 31-yard attempt by Cleveland's Phil Dawson. Joseph credited teammates Jeremy Trueblood and Donald Penn for getting a good push. "It's not just me. It's the whole unit," Joseph said. "We're just working in there trying to make a difference."
. The Bucs took a 7-0 lead on their opening drive, Cadillac Williams runs covering the final 31 yards. After a 29-yard reception by Sammie Stroughter to the Carolina 31-yard line, Williams rushed 11 yards to the 20. On the next play, he caught the Panthers overpursuing to his right. So he cut left, saw plenty of open field and cruised for a 20-yard touchdown run.
"The offensive line did a great job coming off the ball, and I caught (Carolina) where they were pursuing, the (defensive end) cheating," said Williams, who finished with 16 carries for 77 yards. "So I just cut it back, and it was there." For Williams, it was his second rushing touchdown of the season and the 16th of his career, tying Ricky Bell (1977-81) for sixth-most in team history. "We like blocking for Cadillac. He makes some great cutbacks, using his eyes," fullback Earnest Graham said. "He's a heck of a running back, a guy who is playing at a high level."
Jumping the gun
. Trailing by seven, the Bucs were at the Panthers' 42-yard line early in the fourth quarter. On third and 7, Josh Johnson appeared to scramble for a first down on the right sideline.
But Carolina challenged the spot, and replays showed Johnson stepped out of bounds a yard shy. The Bucs lined up to go for it. But tight end John Gilmore committed a false start, making it fourth and 6 from the 41, and the Bucs punted.
"You can't do that," Gilmore said. "On fourth and 1, you can't jump offsides. That's all mental. That's a mental mistake. You can't do that in that situation."
"With a young offense," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said, "we were able to move the ball but not able to punch it in like the rest of those drives, whether we ended it with a penalty or we ended it with a turnover. We're young and can't overcome those types of mistakes. We've got to learn how to (overcome them) or not make them, one or the other."