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Barber getting R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Bucs safety John Lynch took time after Sunday's 20-17 win in Detroit to point out just how well cornerback Ronde Barber has played this season.

And who is going to doubt a Pro Bowl player.

Barber, who entered the game with 24 tackles, 1 sack, 8 passes defended and 3 interceptions, was at it again.

He added two interceptions, seven tackles and four passes defended.

"I came in this league wanting the respect of my peers and I think I'm finally getting a bit of it," Barber said. "It feels good and hopefully I can build on it."

Sitting on the sidelines Sunday, cornerback Donnie Abraham, who went to the Pro Bowl last season but has lost his starting position to Brian Kelly, offered Barber a bit of advice.

"He told me on the sidelines, "It's a special year for you. Keep it rolling,' " Barber said. "I'm going to keep it rolling, keep doing what I know I can do to the best of my ability and hopefully everything works out."

SOLID FOOTING: Last week, as time was ticking down in Green Bay, Martin Gramatica lobbied for a chance to kick a winning 67-yard field goal. The Bucs kicker didn't get the chance.

Sunday in Detroit, with nine seconds left, Gramatica got a chance and converted a 35-yard field goal to give the Bucs a 20-17 win.

"I felt comfortable back there, and I didn't feel rushed at all," Gramatica said. "I knew they were going to protect. We had a good snap and hold, so it worked out great."

The kick against the Lions was Gramatica's first attempt at a game-winner since booting a 40- yarder wide right against Green Bay on the final day of the 2000 regular season.

HAPPY TO CONTRIBUTE: He has been slowed by injury the past few weeks and hasn't had the statistics he expected, but Warrick Dunn showed again where he fits in the Bucs' offensive scheme.

While Dunn had 51 yards rushing on 17 carries, he had five catches for 60 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown catch and a huge 23-yard gain in the final drive.

"I didn't know I was going to be involved that much in the passing game to actually gain the yards that I gained," he said. "I knew I was going to catch some things underneath and have to break some tackles. Running-wise, I'm starting to get back into it. I was close on a lot of runs. It's coming. But you want to be a double threat."

OOPS, MY BAD!: Given the chance, receiver Reidel Anthony would love to have that one back. Getting his second straight start for the injured Jacquez Green (left groin strain), Anthony dropped a first-quarter touchdown pass from Brad Johnson. On third down at the Lions 5, Anthony couldn't hold onto Johnson's pass and the Bucs had to settle for a field-goal attempt.

"It's a long game and a long season, but I couldn't let it keep me down," said Anthony, who finished with two catches for 19 yards. "I had to make catches after that and refocus and get my concentration back. You have to brush it off, and you have to be there to make plays later in the game. No matter what no one else says, you're hardest on yourself."

The drop proved crucial as the Bucs had a bad snap on the field goal and Gramatica's scrambled pass intended for Dave Moore fell incomplete.

BUCS BITS: With Barber's pick in the second quarter, the Bucs have played 13 straight games, including playoffs, with at least one interception. The team record is 14. Gramatica moved into third place on the team's scoring list with a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter. He now has 283 career points. Of the past seven turnovers forced by the defense, the Bucs have scored 30 points (3 TDs, 3 FGs). That same defense has played 36 straight games with at least one sack.

INJURY UPDATE: Defensive tackle Warren Sapp had a left knee contusion. Lynch had a right quad strain and defensive tackle James Cannida had a lower back strain. None appear serious. Linebacker Nate Webster may not be that fortunate. He was visibly sore leaving the locker room and said he suspects he has a broken rib. His injury is listed as a left rib contusion.

_ ROGER MILLS

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