Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A-Train Stokes the Fire

Just as he did last January against Washington, Mike Alstott jumpstarts the Bucs' offense versus K.C.

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FB Mike Alstott demoralized the Chiefs with his relentless one-yard touchdown run

by Andrew Mason, NFL.com

It's a three-word phrase heard all too often from coaches or players looking to dismiss August success or errors or downplay the games' relevance.

"It's only preseason."

It's doubtful you'll ever hear such sentiment from Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott.

The fifth-year player, participating in just his second game of 2000 after sitting out most of training camp with injury, turned in a vintage effort on his second touchdown run, one which gave the Bucs a 14-7 lead en route to a 37-14 victory at Raymond James Stadium.

It was a one-yard touchdown run. But it was so much more than that.

After receiving the handoff from Shaun King, Alstott was met by Chiefs safety James Hasty. With a hop to the left, Hasty went down. Jerome Woods tried next, but with a spin move, Alstott rendered the tackling attempt moot.

Then, as the bruising fullback trekked to the left side and found an open path to the end zone, Eric Warfield made a valiant — yet futile — lunge at Alstott.

Ever unassuming, Alstott broke down the play simply.

"It was a straight lead play and they did a great job congesting the middle," Alstott said. "So I bounced off the left side and the defender had the angle."

Alstott made it sound typical. And while it's atypical for most backs, it's just another night at the office for him. In his last game at Raymond James Stadium before Friday, he slogged his way to the end zone in nearly the same fashion, leaving a rabble of Washington Redskins in his wake to kick-start the Bucs' comeback in their 14-13 divisional playoff victory.

But the pounding run didn't play so well on the Chiefs sideline.

"The thing that's difficult for me to take is to give up big plays and missed tackles on defense. It's killing me," Kansas City head coach Gunther Cunningham said. "When you miss tackles, I can't understand that.

"That's in your heart and soul. You've gotta tackle people."

And with one play, Alstott tore the Chiefs' heart out. It began a 30-0 Buccaneers run.

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