As part of his efforts to eradicate Tampa Bay's long-standing image as NFL pipsqueaks, Bucs coach Sam Wyche has implored his team to take a more aggressive, physical approach, especially against a league power like San Francisco.
But Tampa Bay's in-your-face attitude against the 49ers in part resulted in nine penalties for 111 yards, including three unsportsmanlike conduct calls. Several 49ers questioned Tampa Bay's tactics.
"They have some players out there who were telling us that they were going to try and hurt us on every play," 49ers safety Tim McDonald told the San Francisco Examiner. "They had a DB (safety Curtis Buckley) lined up as a wide receiver, and all he was doing is going to where the ball was and trying to hit people late. And No.
86 (tight end Tyji Armstrong) walked around telling each of us what he was going to do to us."
Wyche on Monday complained that the 49ers benefited from over-sensitive calls.
"We told (our players) not to give any honors out because that's the San Francisco 49ers," Wyche said.
"The Raiders said that (the Bucs were dirty) last year. We kind of like it. To me that's the sound of a football team that's used to be catered to. It's nothing dirty, but sometimes if you hadn't been treated that way, when it does happen it comes across as being dirty. It's called tough, physical football and in order to turn this thing into a winning situation, we're going to have to play that way week after week. And we plan to."
Don't look now . . .
Outscored 119-57 the past four games, the Bucs can't look to the schedule for much of a respite, Wyche said. The first-place Minnesota Vikings come to town Sunday.
"I think they're as good a team as we just played," Wyche said.
The only serious injury was sustained by reserve linebacker Jeff Brady, who tore a biceps in the third quarter. Brady was scheduled for an MRI Monday and the results were not known. If it requires surgery he likely would be lost for the season, Wyche said.
Everett re-aggravated a shoulder injury but is expected to play against Minnesota. Offensive tackle Tim Irwin is expected back at practice this week. He has an elbow infection and is struggling with a lingering back problem.
_ DON BANKS