TAMPA FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Running back Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tries to out run defenders Cody Grimm #35 and Ronde Barber #20 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 26 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Blacked Out And Beat Down : Steelers 38, Bucs 13

Led by Charlie Batch and a dominating defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers bring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back down to earth.

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Arnelius Benn Gets Work With First-Team Offense

Following Sunday’s 38-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris said that he would begin working rookies LaGarrette Blount and Arenelius Benn into the offense more regularly. The Buccaneers, of course, are in their Bye Week, meaning they have two full weeks to tweak things before taking the field next against the Cincinnati Bengals. Morris apparently means business with those two plans, as Benn got significant reps with the first team during Wednesday’s practice from his wide receiver position.

Receivers coach Eric Yarber liked what he saw from Benn during Sunday’s game with the Steelers (Benn caught his first three NFL passes), and believes the rookie out of Illinois is ready for the heightened responsibility:

“He knows his assignments, so he’s playing with a lot more confidence and he’s playing faster,” Yarber said. “You’re seeing the real (Benn) right now. He’s really dialed it up because of knowing his plays and studying and playing faster. . . I think if you put them out there too early you could lose them for a while, especially with their confidence.”

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LeGarrette Blount To Have Bigger Role Following Bye Week

Though the final score doesn’t suggest that much went right during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 38-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, there were actually several players who fared admirably in defeat. One such guy was reserve running back LeGarrette Blount. The former Oregon Ducks back, most famous for throwing a punch following a loss last year to Boise State, had six carries for 27 yards and Tampa Bay’s lone touchdown on the afternoon. Cadillac Williams, the team’s starting running back who’s seen the lion’s share of the carries through first weeks, has struggled to get much going on the ground. Consequently, head coach Raheem Moriss has stated that he intends to incorporate Blount and other young playmakers more aggressively into the gameplan each week when the Bucs return to action in Week 5 following their early-season Bye.

“It’s not time for wholesale panic where you start changing the position, because I think Cadillac has played three good games,” Morris said Monday.

“But he can do better, and we have to give him (a) blow. We can’t give him 28 straight carries, so someone’s got to come in and give us a spark. Someone’s got to come in and make somebody miss and break off a long run.”

The Buccaneers square off against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 10th.

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Blacked Out And Beat Down : Steelers 38, Bucs 13

In the end, maybe the Bucs fans that stayed home and forced a television blackout knew something that those in attendance did not. On a sweltering day at Raymond James Stadium, the black and gold, terrible towel waving, onslaught of Steeler fans were treated to an old fashioned beat down of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who fell to 2-1 following the 38-13 loss.

Tampa Bay fans shouldn’t feel too upset they couldn’t see this one on television as the Steelers absolutely dominated. Pittsburgh was in total control both on offense and defense, raking up 387 yards of offense, including 201 on the ground while holding the Bucs to only six points for most of the game.

Things started off as well as Aqib Talib picked off Charlie Batch’s first pass of the game leading to a Connor Barth 40 yard field goal and a 3-0 lead. But Batch would rebound quickly on the next drive and find Mike Wallace deep for a 46 yard score, his first of two touchdown catches on the day. The Steeler offense never looked back, scoring three more touchdowns in the second quarter and taking a 28-6 lead into half time.

The Buccaneer defense that had looked so good for the first two weeks was seemingly lost against Batch and running back Rashard Mendenhall. Batch exploited what appears to be a secondary reeling following the loss of Tanard Jackson for two deep touchdown passes to Wallace as well as a red zone touchdown to Hines Ward that split the outstretched arms of Barrett Ruud and rookie Cody Grimm just before halftime. The Steeler offensive line dominated the Buccaneers front four, not allowing a sack of Batch and opening large holes for Mendenhall who carried the ball 19 times for 143 yards and a score.

Josh Freeman struggled all day against a suffocating Steeler defense employing a perfect combination of pressure and coverage. Freeman managed 184 yards on 20 of 31 passes but registered no touchdowns and a critical fourth quarter interception that was returned 79 yards for a touchdown and killed any hope of a late rally. Cadillac Williams continued to struggle, totaling 13 measly rush yards on 6 carries and was outrushed by rookie LaGarette Blount making his NFL debut. Earnest Graham led all receivers with 57 yards on 4 catches. Rookie Mike Williams hauled in 5 passes for 55 yards.

Freeman was replaced late in the fourth quarter by Josh Johnson as Raheem Morris decided to get his second string players some playing time in the rout. Rookie receiver Arrelious Benn caught 3 passes for 33 yards in the final drive that was capped by a 1 yard touchdown run by Blount.

The Buccaneers will head into the Bye week at 2-1 and tied for first place in the NFC South with the Saints and Falcons, but with many questions to answer. After being humbled today at the hands of Pittsburgh, Buccaneer players and coaches alike will get some much needed to time to reflect and improve on an outing where pretty much everything went wrong. This team is young and games like this are going to happen but there is a strong foundation to build on.

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