WHEN THE BUCCANEERS HAVE THE BALL
Tampa Bay’s run game could get nothing going last weekend and ended up with just 18 attempts due to the rout. Carnell Williams (190 rushing yards, 15 receptions) paced the unit with 10 carries for just 18 yards. With Huggins now out, rookie LeGarrette Blount (30 rushing yards, 1 TD) could be in line for more carries as the club looks to jump-start a run game that is averaging just 91.2 yards per game. Quarterback Josh Freeman (1043 passing yards, 6 TD, 3 INT) also did not turn the ball over last week, while completing 25-of-43 passes for 219 yards. That included a two-yard touchdown to wide receiver Michael Spurlock (8 receptions, 2 TD) in the fourth quarter. Williams and tight end Kellen Winslow (24 receptions) led the Bucs with seven catches each for a combined 106 yards against the Saints, with Williams matching a career high for most catches in a game. Rookie Mike Williams (23 receptions, 3 TD) added four receptions for 45 yards, and the wideout leads all NFL rookies in receiving touchdowns. Like the Rams, points have been hard to come by for the Bucs, who rank 29th in the NFL with an average of just 16 points per game. While the offensive line hasn’t made much room for the ground game, it has allowed just 11 sacks this year to rank tied for 12th in the league.
The Rams limited the Chargers to just 287 yards of offense a week ago, including 79 on the ground, and rank 17th in total defense (332.8 ypg) as well as 11th in points allowed (18.8 ppg). St. Louis had notched 10 sacks over its first five games before its outburst a weekend ago, but the club did force just one turnover, an interception by safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (30 tackles, 1 INT). Hall (19 tackles, 6 sacks) has been playing like one of the top defensive ends in the conference and is tied for fourth in the NFL in sacks. He notched a career-high 3 1/2 sacks the last time he faced the Bucs. Tackle Fred Robbins (14 tackles, 2 sacks) also had a sack last weekend. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher (31 tackles, 2 INT) led the Rams with seven tackles a week ago, while Grant (17 tackles, 2 sacks) posted five tackles as part of his two- sack game. If Hall and Long (12 tackles, 3 sacks) can generate the same kind of pressure this weekend, Freeman could be in for a long day. Fletcher and fellow corner Ron Bartell (19 tackles) will be busy if the Bucs can’t get their ground game going and have to resort to throwing the ball at a heavy pace.