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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Offense Laments Missed Chances

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Published:   |   Updated: March 27, 2013 at 03:35 AM

TAMPA - With just one locker between Bucs receivers Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard, there was enough frustration coming from the duo in that lone corner for everyone in pewter and red after Sunday's 24-23 loss to the Jaguars.

'They were there,' Galloway said of the opportunities the team missed due to dropped passes or misguided throws. 'We had an opportunity today in our stadium to be very successful offensively versus one of the best defenses in the league and we didn't.

'Just didn't make enough plays. We'll go back to work, we'll correct our mistakes and get better.'

With a team-high six receptions for 115 yards, including a 58-yard score for his 75th career touchdown reception, Galloway was targeted 17 times by quarterback Jeff Garcia. He dropped a third-down pass on Tampa Bay's next-to-last possession that would have given the Bucs a first down near the Jaguars' 35-yard line with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Two of the other passes for Galloway were intercepted. Aaron Glenn sat on a route for the first interception, which he returned 28 yards to score. The second pick came as Garcia was hit while throwing.

Hilliard, who caught three passes for 23 yards, focused on what would have been his fourth reception.

On fourth-and-10 from the Jacksonville 45-yard line with 30 seconds remaining in the game, Garcia hit Hilliard with a pass that would have been more than enough for a first down. But Hilliard was hit by cornerback Rashean Mathis, the ball bounced off him and into the arms of safety Reggie Nelson.

'We ended up losing the game because I didn't make a play. It's that simple,' Hilliard said. 'It's nobody's fault, but mine. I get paid to make those plays and that's part of the reason they brought me here and now it's something I have to deal with for the rest of the week until I get another opportunity to play.

'Coach Jon Gruden made a great call. Everybody did what they were supposed to do except for me,' said Hilliard, who was thrown to nine times, including the final three passes of the Bucs' final possession.

Bus as much as Hilliard took the blame, his quarterback, who threw his first interceptions of the season Sunday, didn't allow the veteran receiver to be the scapegoat.

'It's frustrating, it's disappointing,' Garcia said. 'We've been good in the 2-minute drive. I look at the throw to Joey on the out route on our sideline. If I make a little bit better throw and he's able to get that one, it puts us at the 35-yard line, first-and-10, and now we're sniffing field-goal range, if not in field-goal range.

'There were a couple plays today where I wish I could have made a little bit better throw and that's disappointing on my behalf because I expect to be as perfect as possible. I expect to make throws when those opportunities are there and it's unfortunate that I didn't make those throws.'

Gruden gave credit to the Jaguars for the dropped passes.

'It was, I think, a situation where we had some looks that we normally cash in on and we didn't do it,' Gruden said.


Reporter Eddie Daniels can be reached at (813) 948-4214 or edaniels@tampatrib.com.

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