RB Warrick Dunn's season really took off in December when he was the Bucs' only rushing option
Three times in 2000, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put together winning streaks of three or more games, a performance strong enough to put them in position to defend their 1999 NFC Central Division title as the regular season came to a close.
Unfortunately, the Bucs ended the season on a different sort of streak, losing an overtime contest in the regular season finale at Green Bay, which caused the division crown to slip away and sent them on the road for the playoffs, where they were bumped out by Philadelphia in the Wild Card round.
Despite the abrupt and disappointing ending to a season of such promise, the 2000 campaign had more than its share of outstanding Buccaneer performances. Standouts such as Donnie Abraham, Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, Martin Gramatica, John Lynch and Warren Sapp cemented their places among the best players ever to don Buccaneer uniforms while newcomers like Keyshawn Johnson, Nate Webster and Jeff Christy made immediate contributions. Records fell, new stars emerged and the whole thing was witnessed by one sellout crowd after another.
Extensive coverage of what the Bucs accomplished in 2000 and what lies ahead in 2001 is provided in the release below. During the season, the Buccaneers' communications department prepares a weekly release for distribution to local and national members of the media in preparation for each game. When the 2000 schedule was concluded, the team put together this review document, which will be released on Friday.
2000 SEASON IN REVIEW
LOOKING AHEAD Tampa Bay advanced to the postseason for the third time in the last four seasons under the direction of Bucs head coach Tony Dungy. The Bucs' 10 regular season wins mark the first time in franchise history Tampa Bay has won 10 or more games in consecutive seasons. For its accomplishments, Tampa Bay was rewarded with the second-toughest schedule in the NFL next year, trailing only the NFC Central Division champion Minnesota Vikings. The Bucs' 2001 opponents finished a combined 142-114 (.803) this past season. In addition to the usual home-and-home battles with their NFC Central foes, the Bucs will host Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay will travel to Cincinnati, Dallas, St. Louis and Tennessee.
LAST GAME Bucs Close Season With 21-3 Playoff Loss at Philadelphia
Tampa Bay remained winless on the road in the postseason (0-5) as Philadelphia dominated the Bucs in a 21-3 victory at Veterans Stadium. The Bucs struck first on a 29-yard field goal by K Martin Gramatica early in the second quarter, but the Eagles defense proved stingy for the rest of the contest. Tampa Bay mustered 199 total yards, including just 50 on the ground, and was held to 3-of-13 on third down conversions. The Philadelphia offense, led by QB Donovan McNabb, scored all the points it would need on two drives late in the first half. McNabb kept the ball on a quarterback draw for a five-yard score with 3:21 left following a fumble by Bucs QB Shaun King. King was sacked by Philadelphia DE Hugh Douglas, putting the Eagles in great field position at the Tampa Bay 15-yard line. McNabb then extended the lead to 14-3 with a five-yard scoring strike to WR Na Brown with 12 seconds remaining before intermission. After a scoreless third quarter, the Eagles put the game out of reach on McNabb's second touchdown pass of the day, a two-yarder to TE Jeff Thomason early in the final period. McNabb completed passes to 10 different players on 24-of-33 attempts for 161 yards, and also rushed for 32 yards on eight carries. Eagles RB Chris Warren aided the ground attack, gaining 82 yards on 21 carries. Bucs QB Shaun King passed for 171 yards, including six completions to WR Keyshawn Johnson for 106 yards. But the rushing game was shut down, with FB Mike Alstott totaling 42 yards and RB Warrick Dunn gaining just one yard.
DID YOU KNOW? Tampa Bay set four offensive records, including new standards for points scored (388), scoring margin (+119), touchdowns (43) and average yards per rush (4.2).
On defense, the Bucs established a single-season mark with 55 quarterback sacks (55) and its five defensive touchdowns tied for the best in club history (also 1981 team).
QUOTE/UNQUOTE: HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY "We have been a team of streaks and that is something we need to improve upon. Streaks are good when you are hot, but we have to avoid the letdowns. We need to also understand the urgency of every game and every practice."
Tampa Bay reached the playoffs for the sixth time in club history. A look at the six showings:
1979…..Lost in NFC Championship 1981…..Lost in Divisional Playoff 1982…..Lost in First Round 1997…..Lost in Divisional Playoff 1999…..Lost in NFC Championship 2000…..Lost in NFC Wild Card
BUCS IN THE RANKINGS
Here is a look at where the Buccaneers finished in the final team and individual rankings:
|Team Statistic||NFC Ranking||NFL Ranking|
|Total Offense (290.6 ypg)||10th||21st|
|Rushing Offense (129.1 ypg)||3rd||9th|
|Passing Offense (161.4 ypg)||14th||26th|
|Total Defense (300.0 ypg)||4th||9th|
|Rushing Defense (103.0 ypg)||3rd||9th|
|Passing Defense (197.0 ypg)||6th||13th|
|Points Scored (388)||t3rd||t6th|
|Points Allowed (269)||t3rd||t7th|
|Turnover Margin (+17)||1st||t3rd|
|Third Downs (33.3%)||12th||26th|
|Third Down Defense (32.9%)||2nd||3rd|
|Red Zone TD Pct. (57.4%)||3rd||6th|
|Opponent Red Zone TD Pct. (40.0%)||4th||6th|
|First Downs (275)||11th||23rd|
|Opponent First Downs (283)||5th||11th|
|Individual Statistic||NFC Ranking||NFL Ranking|
|Kicking - Gramatica (126 points)||t2nd||t3rd|
|Rushing – Dunn (1,133 yards)||8th||----|
|Total Yards – Dunn (1,555 yards)||8th||----|
|Passing - King (75.8 rating)||10th||----|
|Receptions - Johnson (71)||t14th||----|
|Receiving Yards - Johnson (874)||14th||----|
|Punting - Royals (41.8 avg.)||6th||----|
|Punt Returns - Williams (9.2 avg.)||7th||----|
|Interceptions - Abraham (7)||t3rd||t3rd|
|Interceptions - Robinson (6)||t5th||----|
|Sacks – Sapp (16.5)||2nd||t2nd|
|Sacks – Jones (13.0)||4th||8th|
The Buccaneers' defense continued to back up their reputation as one of the league's top units after LB Derrick Brooks, S John Lynch and DT Warren Sapp were repeat selections to the 2000 Associated Press All-Pro first-team. The three All-Pro players are among an NFC-high eight Buccaneers who will represent the squad in the Pro Bowl in February. The three first-team selections trail only the Tennessee Titans, who garnered four choices. Second-year K Martin Gramatica was also named to the All-Pro second-team, becoming the first placekicker in club history to be named to the squad.
"All-Pro is a tremendous honor," Lynch said. "It's a statement by the writers that you're at the top of your profession. We're fortunate to have three, and that says a lot about our team and our defense."
Here is a look at some of the honors for Tampa Bay this season:
AP ALL-PRO SELECTIONS
First Team: LB Derrick Brooks S John Lynch DT Warren Sapp
Second Team: K Martin Gramatica
PRO BOWL REPRESENTATIVES
CB Donnie Abraham C Jeff Christy (starter) G Randall McDaniel (starter) FB Mike Alstott (starter) K Martin Gramatica DT Warren Sapp (starter) LB Derrick Brooks (starter) S John Lynch (starter)
NFC PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Special Teams: K Martin Gramatica (October)
Defensive: LB Derrick Brooks (November)
NFC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Offensive: QB Shaun King (October 30, 2000) RB Warrick Dunn (December 4, 2000)
Defensive: LB Derrick Brooks (September 5, 2000) CB Ronde Barber (September 11, 2000) DT Warren Sapp (September 18, 2000)
Special Teams: Karl Williams (November 27, 2000) Martin Gramatica (December 11, 2000)
MILLER LITE BUCCANEER PLAYER OF THE YEAR (co-recipients)
LB Derrick Brooks DT Warren Sapp
DONNIE ON THE SPOT
One of the NFL's most underrated cornerbacks over the past couple of seasons, Donnie Abraham finally received his due recognition by earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl this season. In his fourth season, Abraham matched his career-high with seven interceptions, placing him tied for third in the NFL. He also added 69 tackles, a club-best 27 passes defensed and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown, the first time that had occurred in 22 seasons. Abraham also picked off a pass in the NFC Wild Card game at Philadelphia, marking his third career postseason interception. His seven interceptions matched his 1999 total and tied him with Wayne Haddix (1990) and Jeremiah Castle (1985) for the second-best single-season effort in club annals. And though he routinely lines up against the league's top receiving threat, Abraham has corralled an NFL-high 14 interceptions over the past two NFL campaigns. He can now boast 25 career interceptions, placing him third in franchise history.
Most Interceptions in the NFL (1999-2000)
|Donnie Abraham||Tampa Bay||14|
|Darren Sharper||Green Bay||12|
|Vincent Green||N.Y. Jets||12|
KJ IN THE POSTSEASON
WR Keyshawn Johnson continued his trend of making a big splash in the postseason. Johnson - whose 71 receptions marked the fourth-best total in club history and the most catches by a Bucs WR since 1989 - posted a club playoff record with six receptions for 106 yards in the 21-3 loss to the Eagles in the NFC Wild Card game. In three career postseason contests (two with the New York Jets), Johnson has hauled in 22 passes for 300 yards (13.6 avg.) and one touchdown. Johnson's eight touchdown catches in 2000 tied for the second-best single-season total in franchise history.
How dominant was the Bucs' defense line this season? The Bucs' defensive line not only accounted for 45.5 of the club-record 55 sacks - an eye-opening 83 percent - but Tampa Bay's tenacious defensive front has current and former NFL players raving about its inspiring play this season.
Former All-Pro Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent, who was an integral member of a Bears defensive line that still holds the NFL's single-season record with 72 sacks in 1984, had these remarks regarding Tampa Bay's front four.
"I was having flashbacks," Dent said, recalling the Bucs five-sack performance in a 41-0 win over the Chicago Bears. "They were basically annihilating the offense. They couldn't be blocked. It was an awesome display."
Jets QB Vinny Testaverde, a veteran of 14 NFL campaigns, said the Bucs front four was the best he had ever faced.
"I think that's the best front four I've seen in the NFL," Testaverde said.
The Bucs were led by DT Warren Sapp and DE Marcus Jones, who combined for a NFC-best 29.5 sacks. Sapp, who bettered his 1999 totals when he finished with 12.5 sacks en route to be named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year, posted a club-record 16.5 sacks in 2000. Sapp also led the defensive line with a career-high 76 tackles en route to garnering his second consecutive All-Pro first-team honor and his fourth straight Pro Bowl appearance.
Jones, who won the right defensive end job in training camp, blossomed in his fifth NFL campaign. He finished fourth in the NFC by registering a career-high 13 sacks, along with 50 tackles in 2000. A former No. 1 draft pick, Jones battled bone spurs in both feet during his first three seasons and tallied just 32 tackles and one sack.
Prior to the start of the 1999 season, Jones was switched from defensive tackle to end and responded with a then-career-high seven sacks and 36 tackles. For his efforts the past two seasons, Jones was rewarded with a seven-year contract extension in November.
The Buccaneers defensive line also saw flashes of brilliance from first-year starter DT Anthony McFarland, a powerful interior lineman, who amassed 6.5 sacks and 65 tackles. Veteran RDE Chidi Ahanotu anchored the talented defensive line, adding 63 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
DT Warren Sapp, arguably the league's most dominant defensive force, posted one of the finest seasons for an interior lineman in NFL history. Sapp, who has followed a 1999 campaign in which he earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, posted a club-record 16.5 sacks and added a career-high 76 tackles. Sapp's 16.5 sacks in 2000 ranks as the third-best total for a defensive tackle in NFL history. The sixth-year pro finished second in the NFL with 16.5 sacks (tied with Miami DE Trace Armstrong) and just behind New Orleans DT La'Roi Glover (17.0). Sapp recorded at least one sack in 11 of Tampa Bay's 16 contests.
Top Sack Seasons by a Defensive Tackle in NFL History
|La'Roi Glover||New Orleans||2000||17.0|
|Warren Sapp||Tampa Bay||2000||16.5|
|Dana Stubblefield||San Francisco||1997||15.0|
Despite fending off constant double and triple teams, Sapp has amassed 58.5 career sacks and also surpassed the club single-season mark of 13 sacks set by DT Lee Roy Selmon in 1977. As the anchor of one of the NFL's most suffocating defenses, Sapp has been the focal point of a Bucs defense that established a franchise record with 55 sacks, breaking the old mark of 44 set by the 1997 squad. Of those 55 sacks, 45.5 came from the Bucs defensive front, marking the second-best total in the NFL for a defensive front (New Orleans, 48 sacks). Sapp also recorded the eighth sack of his career against the Packers last Sunday, nailing QB Brett Favre for a 12-yard loss last Sunday. That represents the most sacks on an opposing quarterback for Sapp.
You've Been Sapped...The most sacks on opposing quarterbacks courtesy of Warren Sapp:
Brett Favre…8.0 Charlie Batch…6.0 Brad Johnson…4.0 Drew Bledsoe…2.5 Daunte Culpepper…2.0 Kent Graham… 2.0
DEFENSIVE LINE CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS
How important is it to create consistent pressure up front? The four teams who had the NFL's top defensive line sack totals in 2000 made the playoffs. Two of those teams - New Orleans and Miami - captured their respective divisions, while Tampa Bay and Philadelphia both earned Wild Card berths.
|Team||Defensive Line Sacks||Total Sacks|
DUNN ON THE GROUND (AND IN THE AIR)
RB Warrick Dunn became the go-to-guy in the Buccaneer offense and the second half of the season firmly established that trend. Dunn, who gained just 366 yards in the first half of the season, more than doubled that output over the last eight games. He averaged just less than one rushing touchdown per game over that stretch after finding the end zone on the ground only one time total in the first eight games of 2000.
|Statistic||First 8 Games||Last 8 Games|
|Total Yards from Scrimmage||560||995|
|Plays of 20 or More Yards||4||13|
After FB Mike Alstott suffered a medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee at Chicago in Game 11, Dunn put up extraordinary numbers. Dunn finished the year with a team-leading 1,133 rushing yards on 248 carries (4.6 avg.) and led the squad with a career-high eight touchdowns on the ground. Dunn became just the third Bucs RB to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a single season twice in a career (also 1,026 yards in 1998). His 1,133 yards were the most for a Buccaneer since Errict Rhett rushed for 1,207 yards in 1995.
The 2000 season proved to be a record-breaking one for the Buccaneers, with several club records being tied or broken this season. The offense re-wrote part of the record book, setting marks for points scored, touchdowns and average per rush. The Bucs defense also did its part with a new standard for sacks and tied the record for defensive touchdowns. Tampa Bay's special teams even got into the act with seven blocked kicks to surpass the all-time record and K Martin Gramatica tied or broke six marks. Here is a look at those records and more:
Points Scored: 388 (335 in 1984) Scoring Margin: +119 (+47 in 1981) Touchdowns: 43 (40 in 1984) *Best PAT Percentage: 100% (Several - Last time, 1999) Avg. Per Rush: 4.2 (4.11 in 1998) Team Sacks: 55 (44 in 1997) *Defensive TDs: 5 (5 in 1981) Return TDs: 7 (5 in 1981) Blocked Kicks: 7 (5 in 1978)
Individual Sacks: Sapp - 16.5, Jones - 13.0 (Lee Roy Selmon - 13 in 1977) Individual Scoring: Gramatica - 126 pts. (Gramatica - 106 in 1999) Field Goals Made: Gramatica - 28 (Gramatica - 27 in 1999) Field Goals (50+ yards): Gramatica - 5 (Several - Last time, Gramatica - 3 in 1999) *Consecutive FGs: Gramatica - 16 (Michael Husted – 16 from 1995-96) PATs Made: Gramatica - 42 (Obed Ariri - 38 in 1984) *Best PAT Percentage: Gramatica - 100% (Several - Last time, Gramatica in 1999) *QB Rushing TDs: King - 5 (Steve Young 5 in 1986)
- tied record
Quarterbacks Second-year pro Shaun King completed his first full season as the starter after starting seven games in 1999, including two playoff contests. He is 14-7 as a starter in the regular season and 1-2 in the postseason. Under a new offensive scheme, King completed 233-of-428 passes (54.4%) for 2,769 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. King also rushed for five scores to tie the club record for rushing TDs by a Bucs quarterback in a single season. Eric Zeier is the backup QB and the Bucs also have Georgia Tech All-America QB Joe Hamilton.
Running Backs With FB Mike Alstott (who will make his fourth Pro Bowl appearance) sidelined for three games with a knee injury, RB Warrick Dunn saw his workload increase over the last half of the season. Dunn, who became the third Buccaneer to reach 1,000 yards twice in a career, led the Bucs with 1,133 yards, the most for a Buccaneer since Errict Rhett (1,207) in 1995. Dunn tied the club single-game record with a career-high three rushing scores against St. Louis and Tampa Bay was 9-2 when Dunn rushed for 50 or more yards. Alstott, who ranked second on the squad with 465 yards, missed three games with a third degree sprain of the MCL in his left knee but returned for the final two regular season games and the playoff loss at Philadelphia. FB Charles Kirby saw his playing time increase with Alstott's injury. NFL Europe Offensive MVP Aaron Stecker had been Dunn's primary backup, but was inactive for the last month of the year. RB Rabih Abdullah filled in for Stecker as the top backup and also ranked fourth on the squad with 16 special teams tackles.
Wide Receivers Tampa Bay signed two-time Pro Bowl WR Keyshawn Johnson to an eight-year deal just before the draft and he did not disappoint. Johnson caught a team-best 71 passes with eight touchdowns, also tops on the team. His 71 catches were the most by a Bucs wide receiver under head coach Tony Dungy and his 874 yards also ranked first on the club. His six catches for 106 yards in the playoff game both set club playoff records. Jacquez Green emerged as Tampa Bay's big-play receiver and ranked second on the club with 773 yards receiving on 51 catches. Green set a career-high with 11 catches (for 131 yards) at Minnesota. Reidel Anthony was second on the team with four TD receptions on only 15 catches (a TD for every 3.75 catches). Karl Williams (99 career catches) and rookie Frank Murphy rounded out the receiving corps.
Tight Ends Veteran Dave Moore was the starter at tight end and played in his 100th straight game versus Dallas. His 20 career TD catches rank fifth on the Bucs' all-time list. Patrick Hape served as a backup at TE and also saw action in the backfield. The Bucs also had rookie free agent Todd Yoder.
Offensive Line The Bucs went through the season with a new left side of the line in T Pete Pierson and 12-time Pro Bowler Randall McDaniel, who spent his previous 12 seasons with Minnesota, at LG. Fellow Viking Jeff Christy, who will start at center in the Pro Bowl for the third straight year, manned the middle after signing as a free agent from the Vikings in the offseason. The right side remained intact with Frank Middleton at RG and Jerry Wunsch at RT. DeMarcus Curry was a backup tackle on the right side. T George Hegamin alternated with Pierson on the left side for most of the year. Todd Washington backed up Christy, and Kevin Dogins and second-round pick Cosey Coleman were reserve guards. The Bucs started the same five players in 15 of their 16 regular season games and allowed two or fewer sacks in 11 of those 16 games.
Defensive Line The defensive line was again anchored by four-time Pro Bowl selection DT Warren Sapp, who earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press in 1999. Sapp, who ranked tied for second in the NFL with 16.5 sacks this season, surpassed Lee Roy Selmon's team record of 13 sacks in 1977 with two sacks against Buffalo. His 58.5 career sacks ranks second in team history. DE Chidi Ahanotu notched 63 tackles and 3.5 sacks, while DE Steve White had 42 tackles and two sacks on the year. DE Marcus Jones, who ranked second on the squad with 13 sacks this year (fourth in the NFC and tied for the second-best single-season total in club history), established a club record with four sacks versus Detroit in Week 7. Jones ranks ninth in club history with 21 career sacks. Jones and Sapp were the top sack duo in the NFC with 29.5 sacks. DT Anthony McFarland, who replaced Brad Culpepper, started alongside Sapp and totaled 6.5 sacks. DT James Cannida (two sacks), DE/DT Tyoka Jackson (two sacks) and DE John McLaughlin all provided solid depth.
Linebackers For the third consecutive year, weakside LB Derrick Brooks paced the club in tackles with 179, leading or tying for the team lead in 10 of the 16 contests. The four-time Pro Bowler tied the team single-game record and set a career high with 22 tackles against Buffalo, and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November. Starting SLB Shelton Quarles, who grabbed his first career interception at Miami, had 69 tackles. Third-year pro Jamie Duncan (fifth on team with 97 tackles) moved into the starting MLB slot, vacated by Hardy Nickerson, and scored his first career touchdown on a 31-yard interception return at Miami. He finished third on the squad with four interceptions. Third-round pick Nate Webster, who had 32 tackles, backed up Duncan. Special teams standout Jeff Gooch, who led the team with 23 special teams stops, also served in a backup capacity, as did Don Davis (second on team with 21 special teams tackles). Al Singleton, who blocked a punt in the win over Detroit and made his first career start at Atlanta with a career-high 10 tackles, missed the final three games of the year with a left knee injury, but returned for the playoff game.
Secondary All-Pro SS John Lynch, a five-year starter, ranked second on the squad with 110 tackles on the year. Lynch was named a starter to his third Pro Bowl this season. FS Damien Robinson, who also played strong safety, notched 104 tackles, third-best on the squad, and his six interceptions were second-best on the defense and tied for fifth in the NFC. LCB Donnie Abraham, who was named to his first Pro Bowl, ranked tied for third in the NFL with a team-high seven interceptions and added one pick in the playoff loss at Philadelphia. Abraham also returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown at Minnesota and his 63 tackles was ninth-best on the squad. RCB Ronde Barber made several big plays, including a fumble return for a score against Chicago and an interception return for a TD versus the Jets. Barber added 5.5 quarterback sacks. He also registered 97 tackles, fourth-best on the squad. Brian Kelly (47 stops), who notched his first career touchdown on an interception return against Dallas, joined the unit in the nickel set. CB Floyd Young backed up Abraham. Second-year S Dexter Jackson missed the first three games of the season with a left ankle sprain, but registered 30 tackles and his 20 special teams tackles were third-best on the team. Sixth-round draft pick David Gibson served as a backup at safety.
Special Teams K Martin Gramatica, who tied or broke six single-season records in 2000, made all 42 of his PATs and was 28-34 on field goals. Gramatica, who was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October, set club records for single-season points (126), field goals (28), 50-plus yard FGs (5) and PATs made (42), and nailed 16 straight field goals prior to a miss at Miami to tie the club record. The 126 points ranked tied for second in the NFC and tied for third in the NFL. P Mark Royals averaged 41.8 yards per punt this year to rank sixth-best in the NFC. WR Williams, who was seventh in the NFC with a 9.2 return average, took back a punt 73 yards for a touchdown against Buffalo. Williams (23.8 avg.) and RB Stecker (22.9 avg.) were the Bucs' top kickoff returners.
DUNGY BECOMES ALL-TIME WINNINGEST COACH: Bucs head coach Tony Dungy became the winningest Bucs head coach in franchise history this season with his 10 victories. After five seasons, Dungy (45-35 in the regular season) has led Tampa Bay to three postseason appearances and a pair of playoff wins. He has also revitalized a Buccaneer franchise that, in its 10 seasons prior to his arrival, posted a 43-111 mark (.279) with nine double-digit losing seasons and no playoff appearances. Dungy is the first Bucs head coach to lead three different clubs to 10 or more wins in a season (10 in 1997, 11 in 1999 and 10 in 2000). Dungy and Tampa Bay have posted the third-best win total in the NFC since 1997 with 39 regular season victories.
PLAYOFF RECORD: Tampa Bay owns a 3-6 all-time record in playoff games. All three of those victories have come at home. The Bucs' 21-3 loss in the NFC Wild Card game marks the first time Tampa Bay lost in the opening round of the playoffs under Tony Dungy. The Bucs' previous opening round contests were victories against the Washington Redskins in the 1999 NFC Divisional Championship (14-13) and against the Detroit Lions in the 1997 NFC Wild Card game (20-10), the Bucs' first home playoff game since 1979.
WHAT A RUSH: Tampa Bay's potent rushing attack totaled 2,066 rushing yards this season, marking the fourth-best mark in franchise history and the third-best total in the NFC in 2000. The Buccaneers amassed that total on 490 carries, averaging 4.22 yards per rush, the best per-carry mark in club history (4.11 yards in 1998). The addition of Pro Bowlers C Jeff Christy and G Randall McDaniel, along with the steady play of G Frank Middleton, G Pete Pierson and T Jerry Wunsch, helped pave the way for RB Warrick Dunn to run for a career-best 1,133 yards rushing on 248 carries. Dunn's 4.57 average fell just short of the individual yards per carry season record of 4.6 held by RB James Wilder.
Tampa Bay's running attack also combined to rush for more than 100 yards in 13 contests. Dunn also raced for more than 100 yards in three of the final five contests, including a 210-yard rushing effort against Dallas, the second-best single-game mark in Buccaneer history.
SECONDARY TO NONE: The Tampa Bay secondary had an outstanding season and the last several games of the regular season solidified that reputation. The Bucs picked off nine passes over the final three games of the regular season. For the season, Tampa Bay had 25 interceptions, tied for the third-best single-season total in club history.
Bucs Top Single-Season Interception Totals:
1981…..32 1978…..29 2000…..25 1990…..25 1977…..23 1983…..23
LATE SEASON SURGE: Since 1998, Tampa Bay is tied with Tennessee for the best regular-season record in the NFL in December and January (January is included because the 1999 regular season stretched a few days into that month).
Best Records, December and January, 1998-2000:
Tampa Bay…..10-3 Tennessee…..10-3 N.Y. Jets…..9-4 Jacksonville…..9-4 Atlanta…..8-4
SUCCESS PREDICATED ON TURNOVERS: Tampa Bay, which ranked first in the NFC in turnover margin at plus-17, had success this season when it limited its turnovers on offense and forced opponent miscues. The Bucs were 10-1 this season in regular season games in which they had a positive or equal turnover ratio against their opponents, with the lone loss at Green Bay. In fact, since head coach Tony Dungy arrived in 1996, Tampa Bay is 31-4 in games when it has fewer turnovers than its opponent.
SCORING MARGIN SETS CLUB RECORD: Tampa Bay's scoring margin of plus-119 (388 points scored and 269 allowed) shattered the team record of plus-47 in 1981 (315-268) this season. The Bucs ranked first in the NFC and fourth overall in the NFL.
|Team||Points Scored||Points Allowed||Scoring Margin|
RED ZONE SUCCESS: The Buccaneers were 42-47 inside the Red Zone this season, including 27 touchdowns for a scoring percentage of 89.4% and a touchdown rate of 57.4% (third in the NFC). In fact, Tampa Bay had opened the season a perfect 23-23, including 15 touchdowns, prior to an interception by Atlanta's Ray Buchanan in the end zone. Last season Tampa Bay scored points on 34 of its 45 trips inside the red zone (75.6%), but only scored a touchdown on 15 of the 45 times (33.3%).
BUCS TIE FOR LEAGUE-HIGH WITH EIGHT PRO BOWL SELECTIONS: The NFL announced that eight Buccaneers - CB Donnie Abraham, FB Mike Alstott, LB Derrick Brooks, C Jeff Christy, K Martin Gramatica, S John Lynch, G Randall McDaniel and DT Warren Sapp - have been selected to the 2001 Pro Bowl, to be held in Honolulu February 4. Tampa Bay's eight players tie with the 1997 squad for the most in club history and are tied with Tennessee for the most for an NFL team this season. Six Buccaneers (Alstott, Brooks, Christy, Lynch, McDaniel and Sapp) were selected as starters, giving Tampa Bay the most starters in the NFL and the most-ever in team history, surpassing its four starters in 1999. Under the watch of General Manager Rich McKay and Head Coach Tony Dungy over the last five years, Tampa Bay has had 28 Pro Bowl selections. Prior to that, the Buccaneers had 18 Pro Bowl selections in the previous 20 years (1976-1995). Since McKay's arrival in 1994, the Buccaneers have drafted at least one Pro Bowl player in five of the six drafts from 1994-1999.