Bills, Bucs seeking the same thing
Carnell Williams (Getty Images)
Carnell Williams (Getty Images)

Posted Sep 17, 2009


Redemption is on the minds of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills entering Sunday’s game. The Bucs are looking for improvement on defense, while the Bills are trying to erase the sour taste of their loss to New England on Monday night. Both face the prospect of an 0-2 start, something neither team wants.

The Bucs and Bills had similar experiences in Week 1.

At least the pain was similar.

The Bucs gave up four big plays in the passing game, and in their minds, gave one away in a 34-21 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Bills lost in even more horrific fashion as Leodis McKelvin fumbled a fourth quarter kickoff that led to the Patriots winning touchdown.

The Bucs secondary, particularly Sabby Piscitelli and cornerback Elbert Mack, were responsible for most of the coverage breakdowns.

This is a redemption game for both teams. It's also the Bucs' first regular-season trip to Buffalo.

They also share this: both fired their offensive coordinators a week before the season opener. And both the Bucs' Greg Olson and the Bills’ Alex Van Pelt had pretty good debuts.

Without much imagination, the Bucs believe Van Pelt will try to attack their secondary with Terrell Owens and Lee Evans.

"Why wouldn't they?," Mack said. "If we saw any weakness in their secondary, I'm pretty sure our offense would do the same thing. We're ready. Like I said, everything that happened was very correctable. Obviously, I've got to tackle that guy on the sidelines and we've got to step up and make more plays.

"Definitely, I want redemption. Who doesn't? It's just going to create more opportunities for us."

The Bucs have a new defensive coordinator in Jim Bates. But it wasn't the scheme that doomed the defense. The Bucs front four got no pressure on Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who has now thrown eight touchdowns and no interceptions against Tampa Bay in two career starts.

Offensively, the Bucs fared much better. Running backs Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward provided a 1-2 punch on the ground and combined to rush for more than 150 yards and two touchdowns.

But the Bucs lost a big cog in their offensive line. Center Jeff Faine will miss 4-6 weeks with a triceps strain in his left arm.

Protecting quarterback Byron Leftwich could be tough this week. Leftwich took a number of hits but was not sacked in 41 pass attempts last week.

"I was born slow so I really have no choice," Leftwich said. "I'm not a guy that really runs around in the pocket. I understand my game, I understand what I can do out there on the football field and I understand that I'm the guy that has to get the ball in the right guys' hand. Sometimes that is going to mean taking one. I'm fine with that, that's the way I've always played football, that's really the only way I know how to play football. I think we will be OK with that."

Bucs coach Raheem Morris has a young team, especially on defense, that is going to make some mistakes.

"When I say I've got to do a better job at not pointing fingers, it means I've got to be more conscious of it. I got to be more conscious of who's pointing fingers and why they're pointing fingers.

"I want my guys to all be self-evaluators. I want them all to go back to the sidelines and find out what they could've done better to help that play. If there's nothing they could do, then keep looking for stuff to help us win today."


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