Like millions of television viewers Sunday evening, Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy found himself marveling at Peyton Manning's comeback performance against Pittsburgh.
After missing the 2011 season following neck surgery, Manning led the Broncos past the Steelers 31-19, completing 19 of 26 pass attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns in the nationally televised matchup.
"I'm a huge fan of the sport I play,'' McCoy said Monday, "and I was sitting there saying, 'Yes, I get to watch Peyton again.' Then I started thinking, 'No, on Week 14 I've got to play against him.' That's a dream of mine — playing against Peyton Manning.''
When the Bucs face the Broncos in Denver on Dec. 2, they will be hard-pressed to top their defensive effort in Sunday's opener, when they tied a franchise record by limiting Carolina to 10 rushing yards in a 16-10 victory at Raymond James Stadium.
McCoy posted one of Tampa Bay's three sacks against Cam Newton, adding two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits.
On the morning after, he lamented a snap when he appeared to have Newton wrapped up but couldn't bring him down — a sequence that prompted a phone call from former Bucs DT Warren Sapp.
"Sapp called me last night and said, 'Look, if you've ever got a quarterback in your grasp like that and you let him out, me and you are going to fight,' " McCoy said. "I don't want none of that. It's hard to bring (Newton) down. The dude moves like a receiver. He's going to be good for a long time.''
Missing in action
First-year coach Greg Schiano often has talked about the need for a shared workload in the backfield, but LeGarrette Blount had only four touches against Carolina and the Bucs suddenly sound unsure of his health heading into Sunday's road matchup against the Giants.
"I don't know if we're at all certain on what's ailing LeGarrette,'' Schiano said Monday. "He came out of the game and we thought it was his leg. Now, we're not sure, so we're just keeping a close eye on it. I think he's OK.''
While Doug Martin gained 95 yards on 24 carries, Blount ran only three times for 8 yards against the Panthers.
All in the family
There's another member of the family coming up behind Connor Barth, whose three field goals Sunday helped him set a Bucs franchise record for most consecutive field goals made at 18.
Casey Barth just broke his older brother's career mark at North Carolina with his 55th field goal.
Big brother now looks to extend his Tampa Bay record as the Bucs move on to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., one of the NFL's notorious wind tunnels.
"I kicked at the Meadowlands when I was with Kansas City and the wind's not any worse than here,'' said Connor Barth, who converted from 36, 20 and 40 yards out Sunday. "It likes to blow around here, that's for sure. At least we're not going up there (New Jersey) in December.''
Tampa Bay's time of possession of 37:27 in Week 1 ranked second in the league to the Redskins (39:10), prior to Monday night's doubleheader. … Despite being limited to only 10 points, the Panthers averaged an NFL-best 7.96 yards on their 24 first-down snaps against the Bucs.
Ira Kaufman, Roy Cummings