Tampa Bay Recap Week 10

Michael Clayton (Charlie Riedel)

Read on to find how how the Bucs graded out following their loss to the Packers, what players expect to return against the Saints this Sunday and what the NFL's vice president for officiating had to say about Jason Taylor's controversial interception.

Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president for officiating, informed the Bucs he agrees with the replay reversal that resulted in an interception by the Dolphins' Jason Taylor Sunday.

From the NFL headquarters in New York Monday, Pereira reviewed the controversial play that took place near the end of the first half of the Bucs' 25-23 loss in Miami

Bucs receiver Michael Clayton appeared to make an 11-yard catch at the Tampa Bay 15 with 1:43 remaining in the half. After Clayton's body hit the ground, he appeared to have possession of the ball with Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell on top of him until the ball squirted into the hands of Taylor.

Referee Tony Corrente huddled with his crew and ruled the pass incomplete. But the play was reviewed and Corrente ruled that Clayton didn't maintain possession after he hit the ground. Taylor was awarded an interception.

Coach Raheem Morris received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing the call, setting up the Dolphins at the Bucs' 8-yard line. Two plays later, Kory Sperry's 5-yard touchdown catch gave Miami a 16-6 lead.

The league is reviewing whether Morris should be fined for using profanity toward back judge Gregory Wilson.

Morris said Monday he is done talking about the play.

"Every week you submit your questions to the NFL, like you guys all know," Morris said. "And they'll give us back our answers; there'll be no difference there. But for me, I just chose to control what I can control, and that's not one of them. I've moved on. I made my mistake, I cost my team a loss yesterday, gave them a penalty, moved them seven yards closer and those guys went and scored. I'm done with it. I've got to grow up in that situation and get better. I can't cuss at the official. Besides the point you can't cuss at the official, I've got kids watching. I've got to control my anger in that situation a little bit as well."

Pereira was not available for comment, but likely will discuss the play Wednesday during his segment on NFL Network.

The Bucs wanted to know from Pereira the difference between Taylor's interception, and a similar play that occurred early in the second quarter.

On third-and-15 from the 33-yard line with 11:57 remaining in the first half, receiver Brian Hartline caught a pass from quarterback Chad Henne for 17 yards. But he was hit by safety Sabby Piscitelli and the ball came free as Hartline went to the ground. Hartline was ruled down by contact.

"I thought that was a ridiculous call," Piscitelli said. "I hit him and he was coming down and I remember as we were falling, the ball popped free and I was like, 'How was that not a fumble?' Then they came back and called Clayton's (an interception). It was the same situation. You can't really worry about that stuff. It's in the officials' hands.

"It was a momentum changer in a sense. I remember the play."

A league spokesman provided the rule that Pereira used to make his decision.

Rule 8, Article 3, Item 1 says, "If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."

On Monday, Morris was asked if he had a better understanding of Corrente's decision?

"You know I can't comment," Morris said. "Any comment is the wrong comment. No, I can't control that so I'm not going to even try to. I'm going to coach the stuff that I can control this week, and the stuff that I can control is not fumbling the snap, not dropping a shotgun pass, not catching the ball in the back of the end zone, running the correct routes. Those things, I'm going to coach those things, and that's where I'm at. That's out of my control, that's out of our team's hands. That's in the hands of the officials, they made their call and it is what it is. We're done with it."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Bucs defensive end Stylez G. White said he will return to the lineup Sunday against the Saints.

White, who had three sacks in three games since replacing Gaines Adams at right defensive end, missed Sunday's game at Miami with a shoulder injury.

White said he had been losing strength in his left shoulder/trapezius muscle and needed to rest it.

"I definitely anticipate playing this week," White said. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm playing. I'm cleared to go. Ready to go."

But coach Raheem Morris did not sound as confident about White's return.

"I think he'll practice this week. I'm not sure where he is. I'll have to see. We'll know more about it Wednesday."

White, who did not accompany the Bucs to Miami, said it was difficult watching the team collapse in the final 1:14.

"It was tough," White said. "We work hard and to see Josh (Freeman), how he played, and the defense -- it's so close yet so far away."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--DE Stylez White (shoulder) said he will practice this week and expects to play Sunday against the Saints.

--QB Josh Freeman avoided several sacks Sunday at Miami and finished with a 5.1 rushing average.

--WR Maurice Stovall had a 33-yard touchdown reception, the longest of his career.

--DT Torrie Cox was forced to leave Sunday's game with cramps.

--CB Elbert Mack has a right ankle sprain and may be questionable against the Saints.

REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- QB Josh Freeman struggled in the first half but finished with 196 yards. He was sacked three times. But Freeman showed poise down the stretch and that should help him as the season runs on.

RUSHING OFFENSE. F -- The Bucs can't run the football. Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward combined for 86 yards. The offensive line, and especially the tight ends, need to provide more thump.

RUSHING DEFENSE: F -- Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown ran all over the Bucs. Brown finished with 82 yards before leaving the game with an ankle sprain. The defensive line played poorly all day.

PASSING DEFENSE: D -- The Bucs bottled up Miami QB Chad Henne until the final drive, when it counted. Credit no pass rush or aggressiveness. The two-minute defense was a complete collapse. You've got to have someone make a play.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Connor Barth, the Bucs' third kicker this season, kicked three field goals of more than 50 yards in the game, a team record and only the third time it's been done in the NFL. Clifton Smith did a good job returning kicks.

COACHING: F. -- Start with the 1-8 record. But coach Raheem Morris lost his cool with officials and drew an unsportsmanlike late in the first half. The Bucs ride the roller coaster with emotions, like their head coach.

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