Peep Show

Updated: December 8, 2003, 10:41 AM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | ESPN Insider
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Perhaps the strain of losing has gotten to Jon Gruden. According to the Tampa Tribune, the steely-eyed coach gave his troops an impassioned speech on Saturday night about the movie "Elf". Gruden talked of how Santa's sleigh is powered by spirit and how the Bucs should now use that same source to fuel their ship. It's unofficial, but I'm fairly sure Knute Rockne could be heard turning in his grave. The Buccaneers did win the game, but somehow I don't think the holiday-tinged pep talk played a large role in the outcome. Or, maybe there really is a Santa Claus as Gruden and the Bucs got their wish when they won and Dallas and Seattle lost to keep them in the corner of the playoff picture.

New York Jets: Any hopes of seeing what WR Jonathan Carter could do for the rest of the season may have gone up in smoke Sunday, when the speedy wideout had to be helped off the field after he sprained his left knee. Carter, who entered the game as the AFC's leading kickoff returner with a 29.3-yard average, had four receptions for 93 yards in the previous three games, and the Jets were interested in seeing if could continue to add another deep threat to the receiving corps. Carter will undergo a MRI to check how badly the knee is sprained, but he could miss the rest of the year.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Though beating a hated rival and seeing RB Jerome Bettis rush for over 100 yards in the process were reasons to celebrate Sunday, there was some concern on the part of the Steelers. S Troy Polamalu, who the team selected in the first round of this year's draft, left the game with a head injury and did not return. Coach Bill Cowher was not sure of the extent of the injury, but told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the rookie "got dinged a little bit" by a blow to the head. The concern stems from the fact that Polamalu had four concussions while playing at the University of Southern California, and successive concussions could possibly jeopardize his career.