The six-game winning streak is over. The drive to their second playoff berth since 1982 is delayed. And, after a record-setting loss, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once again must figure out how to revive a stagnant offense.
Hoping their offensive woes were erased by the emergence of rookie quarterback Shaun King, the Bucs regressed today in a 45-0 loss to the Oakland Raiders that prevented Tampa Bay (9-5) from clinching a playoff spot.
It was the worst loss in Bucs history and the biggest margin of victory for the Raiders since they joined the NFL in 1970. But Tampa Bay remains confident it will clinch a playoff spot next week at home against Green Bay.
"We won six in a row and we didn't disintegrate overnight. We're going to bounce back," Tampa Bay Coach Tony Dungy said. "We haven't been in a game like this in a while. We just couldn't get anything going. But I don't think it will have a long-term effect if we win next week."
Lance Johnstone returned King's fumble 13 yards for a score and Tyrone Wheatley ran 30 yards for a touchdown following Mike Alstott's fumble for the Raiders (7-7), who got two touchdowns apiece from Wheatley and Napoleon Kaufman.
Kaufman had scoring runs of 75 and 17 yards, Wheatley added a three-yard scoring run, Tim Brown caught a 20-yard scoring pass and Joe Nedney kicked a 26-yard field goal in his Raiders debut.
"Everything that could go right today did," said Rich Gannon, whose team's seven losses have all been by a touchdown or less. "You want some of the good things that happened today spread out over the last month or so. Like getting a turnover and running it in for a touchdown, that should have happened two weeks ago."