Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs notes: RB Blount's 54-yard TD run causes buzz
TAMPA - Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount whirled around in his locker Monday morning to find a group of reporters eager to talk to him about one of the most celebrated runs of the 2011 NFL season. "I haven't even seen the replay yet,'' said Tampa Bay's second-year back, who shed six tacklers en route to a 54-yard touchdown run in a 35-26 loss at Green Bay. "A lot of people have told me to look at the replay, and I'll see it later today on film. All I've heard is I broke four or five tackles, but I felt there were two guys that had a legitimate chance to tackle me.'' After reaching the end zone, Blount faked a Lambeau leap and instead flipped the ball into the crowd.Hours later, as the Buccaneers walked off the field after a fourth consecutive setback, quarterback Aaron Rodgers became the first Green Bay player to stop Blount in his tracks. "He complimented me on my run and I told him I think he's going to win league MVP,'' Blount said. "He told me he thinks I'm one of the best backs in this league and he said he doesn't tell that to just anybody. "Coming from Aaron Rodgers, it makes me feel amazing, just knowing I'm able to get complimented by a guy who just won the Super Bowl, a guy who obviously is going to make the Pro Bowl. It made me feel good, but at the same time, it doesn't make up for the feeling of losing.'' Despite a more competitive effort, Blount returned home from Green Bay with the same frustrated feeling he had during the 37-9 loss to Houston. "Losing's losing, no matter how hard you play,'' he said. "If you don't come out with that win, you still get that sick feeling in your stomach.'' Tight corner Coach Raheem Morris said fourth-year CB Aqib Talib excelled Sunday while shadowing Greg Jennings all over Lambeau Field. "That might be the best game I've seen him play,'' Morris said. "He pretty much was man-to-man on one of the best wideouts in the NFL. Aqib got three knockdown passes and Jennings had two catches for six yards. Aqib played physical, he played strong and he didn't have any penalties.'' Talib said he was in no mood to reflect on his individual success. "We went out there to win and we came back with a loss … no positives,'' he said Monday. "We went there to get a 'W' and we came back with an 'L.' There ain't no moral victories. We lost.'' Talib had no quarrels with the decision to try an onside kick with 4:25 remaining instead of punting to Green Bay with the Packers ahead 28-26. Green Bay recovered at midfield and Rodgers sealed the decision with a 40-yard touchdown strike to Jordy Nelson on third-and-4. "That was the game plan,'' said Talib. "We had to find ways to get (Josh) Freeman the ball more. So many people are second-guessing it, but nobody in this locker room is second-guessing it, and that's all that matters. If it works, it's great. If it don't, it's not. The defense still had to stand up and stop them, make 'em punt.'' Talking about practice Morris said it's no coincidence the Bucs played with more physicality against the Packers after he ordered padded practices during the week. "I like to think a lot can be attributed to that,'' Morris said. "I saw our receivers go out and compete at their highest levels all season. They made a bunch of plays in coverage against some really good DBs and LBs. And that Blount run was a direct reflection on running in pads, lowering your level.'' Extra points The Bucs hit the road again to face the erratic Titans (5-5), who are last in the league in rushing despite the presence of 2009 NFL rushing champion Chris Johnson. …Former Bucs MLB Barrett Ruud, who signed with Tennessee as a free agent, has 55 tackles and one interception for the league's 18th-ranked defense. …Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck sprained his right elbow at Atlanta. If he is sidelined, Tennessee will go with rookie Jake Locker. …Morris said veteran DT Albert Haynesworth graded out well against the Packers in his second game since being claimed off waivers.
The Daystarter: Stormy forecast for Tampa Bay; watering restrictions back in place; new DEP head denies political conflict; peering ahead to Super Bowl LV in Tampa
Local child welfare non-profits lose funding as Eckerd Kids focuses on keeping children out of foster care