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Quarter by quarter

By LAWRENCE HOLLYFIELD
Published December 18, 2005

FIRST QUARTER

OUTLET FOR HIS FRUSTRATION: Slumping Bucs receiver Michael Clayton lowered his shoulder pads to make a resonating tackle on the opening kickoff.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: A Tom Brady pass skittered off the hands of a leaping Derrick Brooks on New England's first play from scrimmage. If only ...

IS HE FRAUD PROTECTION OR ZERO LIABILITY? Patriots tackle Tom Ashworth made the first score of the game with a 1-yard catch after he reported as an eligible receiver.

THAT WAS NO LAISSEZ-FAIRE HIT: Chris Simms stood tall in the pocket to complete a pass to Joey Galloway and paid the price with a spine-shaking hit by Ty Warren.

LATELY, HE HAS BEEN MR. THIRD DOWN: The Bucs' Ike Hilliard caught a 10-yard pass on third and 6 and 8-yard pass on third and 7.

NOT A GOOD SIGN: Cadillac Williams had precious little room. His longest run was 3 yards.

PATRIOT SMACK: New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was active, vocal and effective from the outset.

SECOND QUARTER

LET IT GO: Chris Simms seemed reluctant to throw a few times early, and he paid for it on the first play, when he was sacked by Rosevelt Colvin for a drive-ending loss of 8.

NOT HIS BEST DAY: Through 17 minutes, Bucs cornerback Juran Bolden was the closest defender on two long completions, dropped a potential (and much-needed interception) and was called for an illegal block on a punt return.

ON GOOD TERMS: Ronde Barber, fined for accidentally punching an official during the Jets game, gave umpire Jim Quirk a hand up after Corey Dillon knocked him down.

HAVE TO CLOSE THE DEAL: The Patriots escaped third and 18 and third and 16 on the same scoring drive thanks to a roughing the punter penalty and 17-yard pass to tight end Christian Fauria.

HOW IN THE WORLD? Tom Brady made a perfect throw to Tim Dwight for a gain of 27, and he did so with Simeon Rice's hand covering his face mask.

1:45 OF BAD FOOTBALL: Dillon ran for a 3-yard touchdown. The Bucs ran three plays before a sack and fumble, and the Patriots ran two plays before a 16-yard David Givens touchdown reception.

THIRD QUARTER

TRICK PLAY - ALSTOTT DIDN'T LEAP: The Bucs converted their first third down of the quarter when Mike Alstott powered to his left for a gain of 2.

ON THIS EPISODE OF "24": Cadillac Williams made a blowout-delaying play when he scrambled to recover Chris Simms' fumble on the first drive.

NO ONE MAKING PLAYS: The Bucs' fourth-and-1 try from the New England 33 flopped when Joey Galloway dropped a perfectly thrown pass. A play earlier, Galloway was open for a first down, but Simms underthrew him.

THE PERFECT STORM: The penalty proclivity has been addressed in recent weeks, as has the special teams ineptitude. But the two joined forces to wipe out Mark Jones' 81-yard punt return for a touchdown as Kalvin Pearson was called for holding.

BEST PART OF THE GAME: Michael Clayton's overall play, including an 18-yard reception for a first down, was good to see as the team wraps up the regular season with one eye on the playoffs.

PATRIOT SACKED: Despite a blitz-heavy defensive game plan, Tom Brady was not sacked until Simeon Rice pulled him down with about two minutes left.

FOURTH QUARTER

BAD DAY EVIDENCE, PART MCMXII: Patriots defensive end Jarvis Green draws a flag for apparently jumping offside only to have the officials confer and rescind the call. After the call/non-call, the Bucs have to call timeout.

WHEN YOU FIND A GOOD BARBER, HOLD ONTO HIM: On New England's first drive, Ronde Barber blitzed and was "embraced" by Corey Dillon. (It wasn't holding because there was no flag.) Tom Brady took advantage of the extra time to connect with Deion Branch for a gain of 19.

GIVENS TAKETH AWAY: David Givens repeatedly burned the Bucs, finishing with six receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown and added two carries for 13 yards. He generated five first downs.

COMING SOON TO A "JACKED UP" THEATER NEAR YOU: Safety Jermaine Phillips kept Givens from a second touchdown with a pad-popping hit at the 2.

TAKE IT AND BE HAPPY: If Buccaneer faithful had been told they would win two of three games on this road trip and both wins would be the so-important division games, they would have taken it.

0: Jon Gruden has been involved the past two times the Bucs were shut out. In 1999, his Raiders beat the Bucs 45-0.

[Last modified December 18, 2005, 01:02:23]

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