Cornerback Leon Hall said he wanted to check the video of the pass interference call on him in the end zone in the third quarter that led to the Bucs touchdown that gave Tampa Bay a 14-10 lead with 5:28 left.
"I thought my position was good. They said I pulled him. We'll have to see," said Hall of his battle with Tampa Bay rookie receiver Mike Williams. "I don't know what to tell you."
What you can say is that with Hall and cornerback Johnathan Joseph working on Williams, they didn't expect the 6-2 Williams' leaping ability to hurt them more than tight end Kellen Winslow's presence in the middle. But Williams had seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown to go along with the key 15-yard penalty. Winslow had six catches for 75 yards as Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman's rocket arm showed up as advertised.
"He was able to run around a little bit and he got some first downs," Hall said. "I really didn't notice a big difference. He started to connect on some passes, but nothing drastically different from the first half to the second half."
Safety Chris Crocker looked to be on the verge of being one of the game's heroes as the Bengals put on a big blitz in the fourth quarter. He nearly ended it all when he blitzed and sacked Freeman, forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Bucs at their own 25. Crocker, who finished with nine tackles (one behind leader safety Chinedum Ndukwe) then came up with another sack in the drive that led to a punt.
"He got out of the pocket and made plays with his feet in key situations," Crocker said of Freeman. "That's just how today was. We were there a step too late. We were there a step behind. It's just all day long, the story of the game."
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» It didn't get any better for the Bengals when they left the stadium. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, cornerback Adam Jones was released and not charged after being handcuffed by Cincinnati police following a car wreck around Great American Ball Park.
Jones would have been another hero. He recovered a fumble on a Tampa Bay kickoff late in the third quarter at the Bucs 32, a play that Lewis challenged and won. And he had the longest punt return of the season for the Bengals and against the Bucs, a 27-yarder on which Jones made two Bucs miss to set up quarterback Carson Palmer's 43-yard touchdown bomb to Terrell Owens out of no-huddle.
» The Bengals used no-huddle more than they have lately, going to it right away to open the game.