LB Nate Webster nearly got QB Peyton Manning on the ground on this play, but Manning had enough time to pass for 386 yards
There's no way to sugarcoat this one: Monday night's 38-35 overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts was one of the most painful defeats in team history.
Three weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their home opener to Carolina in overtime, 12-9, after the potential game-winning extra point was blocked. Against all odds, they suffered an even more disheartening loss on Monday night. This one was drawn-out agony, like a night spent on the rack.
After Ronde Barber's 29-yard interception return gave the Bucs a three-touchdown lead with 5:09 left in the game, the Colts embarked on a remarkable comeback, scoring three touchdowns to gain a 35-35 tie and force overtime. Mike Vanderjagt then won the game with 3:47 left in the extra period with a 29-yard field goal that clanged off the inside of the right upright.
Vanderjagt, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, got two tries at the game-winner. His 40-yard attempt sailed wide right, but the Bucs were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Game officials called DE Simeon Rice for leaping, with the following explanation from referee Johnny Grier:
"The call was leaping. Leaping is a player starting more than one yard off the line of scrimmage and running forward and landing on players. It was reported that he was running forward. He jumped and landed on his own players. The umpire (Ed Coukart) made the call."
Bucs Head Coach Jon Gruden still seemed a bit mystified by the penalty after the game, but he did not place the loss on that play.
"I'm really going to look at that play, obviously, carefully," said Gruden. "I don't believe we were in error, at least what I could see on the field. We had numerous chances to win this game. I'm not going to cry about that one."
The Colts also reaped the benefits of two other critical special teams plays during their comeback, an 87-yard kickoff return by Brad Pyatt after Barber's touchdown and a successful onside kick. The meat of the comeback, however, was Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison. Those two hooked up 11 times for 176 yards and two touchdowns, including a 28-yard scoring pass that pulled the Colts within seven points and a stunning, 52-yard reception that set up the tying score.
"I'd just like to congratulate the Colts (on) a great come-from-behind victory," said Gruden. "I can only tip my hat to Manning. He made some miraculous throws and they made some incredible catches. Unfortunately, we had a guy tonight who made the big plays when he had to."
This was a matchup of the first and sixth-ranked defenses in the NFL, but both teams racked up a huge amount of yards, with Tampa Bay barely edging the Colts overall, 457 to 455. However, most of the Bucs' big plays came in the first half, as they built a 21-0 lead on the strength of two big plays from WR Keenan McCardell.
McCardell opened the game's scoring five minutes into the game when he caught a 74-yard touchdown pass from Brad Johnson. On the play, McCardell was matched up deep over the middle with LB Rob Morris, from whom he easily pulled away for the longest reception of his career.
Though Harrison was eventually the game's star, it was also one of the most prolific days of McCardell's 11-year NFL career. He became the first Buccaneer to score three touchdowns in a single game since Mike Alstott got three rushing touchdowns against Minnesota on October 28, 2001. His third touchdown, a 15-yard toe-dragger at the end of an 85-yard drive in the third quarter, gave the Bucs a 28-7 lead at the time, after Reggie Barlow had scored on a three-yard pass in the second quarter.
In between, McCardell scored on a play that was technically a defensive touchdown. S Mike Doss intercepted an overthrown pass in Indianapolis territory but, as he returned it sideways across the field, C John Wade dove to tackle Doss and knock the ball loose.
The ball took one hop and aimed straight for the night's McCardell. With no Colts between him and the end zone, McCardell ran untouched for a 57-yard touchdown. Technically, it was Tampa Bay's first defensive score of the season. Barber's was their second, and it appeared to end the game late in the fourth quarter. That's when the Colts indescribable comeback began.
By the intermission, the Bucs had 239 yards of offense to the Colts' 86 and a 12 to four edge in first downs. The Indianapolis offense under Manning and the Bucs' top-ranked defense frequently played cat-and-mouse reaction games at the line of scrimmage, but Manning could find little in his audible playbook to stump the Bucs. At halftime, the Colts were zero for five on third-down tries.
The second half was a completely different story, as the Colts clearly made some astute halftime adjustments. Manning's audibles to running plays worked perfectly on 19 and eight-yard runs by Ricky Williams, and the heady quarterback fooled second-year CB Tim Wansley on a pump-and-go on third-and-two for a 37-yard touchdown pass to Harrison for the Colts first score. Wansley was playing right cornerback because the Bucs lost CB Brian Kelly to a pectoral strain in the first quarter.
Indianapolis also embarked on a 75-yard drive early in the fourth quarter that concluded on Ricky Williams' one-yard touchdown run. After Barber's touchdown, Pyatt zipped up a seam on the right side and ran nearly untouched to the 12, where he was tackled by S Jermaine Phillips. On fourth-and-one from the three, RB James Mungro ran up the middle for a touchdown to make the score 35-21.
Vanderjagt's onside attempt then worked perfectly, as it bounced high in the air and S Idrees Bashir leaped to haul it in. Manning's 28-yard strike to Harrison came on fourth-and-six.
The Colts' next onside attempt failed – barely – but they got the ball back with 1:41 to play at their own 15. The Bucs had one last attempt to kill the clock from near midfield, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on T Kenyatta Walker cost the Bucs 15 yards and stopped the clock just before the two-minute warning, saving the Colts precious time.
Manning then quickly drove the Colts 85 yards. A roughing-the-passer penalty on DT Warren Sapp gave Indianapolis 15 yards, but Harrison's 52-yarder down the right sideline was the critical play. Williams scored two plays later on a one-yard run.
The Bucs had one last chance to drive into field goal range, but could get no closer than the Indianapolis 43. Martin Gramatica tried a 62-yard field goal, but it was blocked. Gramatica also tried a 60-yarder at the end of the first half, this one on line but falling just a few yards short.
In overtime, the Bucs won the toss and moved over midfield but eventually had to punt. They played the extra period without a whole crew of offensive players thanks to a late rash of injuries. Not available from the middle of the fourth quarter on were RB Michael Pittman (cramps), RB Aaron Stecker (knee sprain), FB Darian Barnes, (shoulder sprain), FB Mike Alstott (shoulder contusion) and WR Keyshawn Johnson (foot sprain).
After the Bucs' punt, Manning converted three consecutive third downs with sharp passes over the middle, driving Indianapolis down to the Bucs' 22 before Vanderjagt's first kick.
As in the Carolina game, Monday's loss wasted some fine individual performances. McCardell finished with 106 receiving yards and former Colt TE Ken Dilger had six catches for 63 yards. Before his injury, Pittman had his second 100-yard rushing game as a Buccaneer, gaining 106 yards on 16 attempts. His first 100-yard game came in last year's Super Bowl victory over Oakland.
Quarterback Brad Johnson completed 26 of 39 passes for 318 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, leading to a passer rating of 106.6. Manning, not to be outdone, hit on 34 of 47 passes for 386 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, compiling a 101.9 rating.
Rushing success is almost always a harbinger of victory for the Buccaneers. Monday night's game marked the first time since September 30, 2001, a 20-16 loss at Minnesota, that the team lost after breaking the 100-yard mark.
The Bucs fell to 2-2 with the loss, two games behind the 4-0 Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. The Colts are now 5-0.
Notes: WR Reggie Barlow had three kick return touchdowns on his resume, but his three-yard catch in the second quarter was the first scoring reception of his eight-year NFL career. Usually a gameday inactive, Barlow was active for the second straight game thanks to WR Joe Jurevicius' knee injury. … After getting good results using defensive tackles Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland as tight ends in goal-line and short-yardage situations, the Bucs moved another surprise player to that spot against Indianapolis. The newest short-yardage tight end is offensive lineman Kerry Jenkins, who started at left guard for the Bucs last year and is backing up that position and left tackle this season. The 6-5, 305-pound Jenkins first came into the game midway through the second quarter, blocking for an Aaron Stecker sweep around left end. Gruden calls the personnel grouping that includes Jenkins and Sapp the Bucs' 'Big Country' package. … The Buccaneer defense has had at least one takeaway in 45 consecutive games, a streak that was extended against Indianapolis by Keenan McCardell's fumble recovery in the first quarter. That streak is the second longest in the NFL since 1983 (also Pittsburgh, 1985-88); the longest is Philadelphia's 71 from 1985-90. … Tampa Bay also pushed its streak of consecutive games with at least one sack to 64 games when DE Ellis Wyms got to QB Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter. The Bucs moved one game closer to the record in that category, established at 68 games by Dallas from 1976-80. … The Buccaneers have lost consecutive home games for the first time since the 2000 season. After opening their home slate that year with a 41-0 destruction of the Chicago Bears, the Bucs lost 21-17 to the New York jets on September 24 and 28-14 to the Detroit Lions on October 19. … Bucs left tackle Roman Oben played in his 100th consecutive game on Monday night, a streak that began in the first game of 997, when he played for the New York Giants. … WR Keenan McCardell played in his 150th career regular season game. Only two of his Buc teammates, S John Lynch (154) and P Tom Tupa (191) have played in more. … With his 27-yard return to open the game, Aaron Stecker became the second player in team history to compile over 2,000 kickoff return yards. Stecker now has 2,034 career yards and trails only Reidel Anthony (2,232). … Prior to the game, John McClain, President of the Pro Football Writers of America Association, presented the Buccaneers' public relations staff with the Pete Rozelle Award. The Rozelle Award, named for the late NFL commissioner, is presented annually to the league's outstanding media relations department. Tampa Bay's department consists of Director of Public Relations Jeff Kamis and assistants Zack Bolno, Julia O'Neal, Tony Morreale and Jason Wahlers.
Injury Updates: CB Brian Kelly left the game in the first quarter and did not return due to a torn left pectoral muscle. DE Greg Spires sustained a calf sprain. RB Michael Pittman suffered from cramps. RB Aaron Stecker sustained a right knee sprain. FB Darian Barnes sprained a shoulder. FB Mike Alstott incurred a shoulder contusion. WR Keyshawn Johnson sustained a sprained foot. Jack Golden has a foot sprain.
Quarter Reports: During Monday's game, Buccaneers.com provided game updates at the end of each quarter. Those updates follow to offer a closer look at the game's key plays.
First Quarter Update
The first quarter unfolded marvelously for the Buccaneers, who took a 14-0 lead on a pair of very long scoring plays. The first was somewhat normal, if far from routine, a 74-yard reception by WR Keenan McCardell. The second was a bit of good fortune, a 55-yard fumble return by McCardell after an Indianapolis interception and subsequent fumble. The Bucs also had the ball at their own 40 when the period came to an end. After one quarter, Tampa Bay had 125 yards of offense to the Colts' 48.
The Buccaneers won the toss and got off to a good start when RB Aaron Stecker returned the opening kickoff 27 yards to the Bucs' 29. RB Michael Pittman's first-down carry, however, picked up just one yard over left guard.
The Bucs hurried up to the line in a no-huddle and QB Brad Johnson, in the face of a blitz, completed an eight-yard pass over the middle to FB Mike Alstott. DE Raheem Brock made the tackle to deny a first down, but Alstott moved the sticks on third-and-one with an acrobatic dive over the middle.
On first down from the 39, Pittman took a pitch left and sliced through a gap for a pickup of four. However, after a dumpoff pass to Pittman gained just three yards, a crossing route to TE Ken Dilger was broken up by S Mike Doss, forcing a punt. Tom Tupa's 54-yarder came down at the one but bounced into the end zone for a touchback.
The crowd noise grew deafening when the Colts' offense prepared to run its first plays. On first down, RB Ricky Williams took a handoff right but was caught by DT Anthony McFarland after a gain of just one. A quick in to Marvin Harrison was complete on second down but good for just three yards thanks to CB Brian Kelly's quick tackle. On third-and-five, QB Peyton Manning retreated quickly and was forced into a difficult through to Harrison on the right sideline that was well out of bounds.
Hunter Smith's 49-yard punt had such excellent hang time that WR Karl Williams was tackled as soon as he caught the ball. The Bucs thus took over at their own 26.
From there, they needed just one play to break into the scoring column.
QB Brad Johnson dropped back to pass, waited for what seemed an eternity in the pocket, then lofted a high, deep throw over the middle to WR Keenan McCardell. With the ball in the air, McCardell broke away from LB Rob Morris and caught the pass all alone. From there, he was able to easily jog into the end zone, giving the Bucs a 7-0 lead.
The Colts' next drive started at their own 26, and on first down Manning called a screen pass right over the head of a blitzing Buc linebacker. However, LB Derrick Brooks reacted quickly enough to stop RB Ricky Williams after a gain of just five. On the next play, however, Williams went off left tackle for six more and a first down at the 37.
Another screen to Williams picked up three more yards, but S John Lynch and LB Nate Webster sandwiched the back on his next run around left end, stopping the play for no gain and forcing third-and-seven. Confusion led to a Buccaneer timeout before the next snap, but a well-timed blitz by LB Nate Webster forced Manning's third-down pass over Harrison's head, where it was nearly intercepted by a diving Dwight Smith.
After a touchback, the Bucs started again at their own 20 but went backwards with a first-down holding call on TE Todd Yoder. Johnson got the Bucs out of that hole, however, by tossing an eight-yard strike over the middle to Pittman then finding WR Keyshawn Johnson wide open on the right sideline for a gain of 15.
What happened next was almost too bizarre to believe – and beautiful, to the Buccaneers.
Johnson again had a long time to thrown, and he had Dilger open over the middle, but the pass sailed high out of his hands, well over Dilger and to Doss. Doss easily picked off the pass, but as he attempted to return the turnover, C John Wade tripped him up and knocked the ball out of his grasp. The ball took one hop right to McCardell, who ran untouched to the end zone for a 57-yard score.
A personal foul on the kickoff return forced Indy to start at their own 12, but Manning fired a 15-yard bullet over the middle to WR Reggie Wayne for the Colts' first first down of the game. After a false start penalty, Manning found rookie TE Dallas Clark for eight more then handed off to Williams for a gain of four. On third-and-three, the Colts tried a lateral receiver screen to Harrison, but CB Tim Wansley caught him from behind and Harrison came up a yard short. Another long punt by Hunter Smith, 54 yards , was somewhat offset by WR Karl Williams' 19-yard return to the 29.
Pittman went right up the middle for three yards on first down, and Johnson found Dilger in the middle for six more. On another third-and-one, the Bucs brought in a power package and Johnson simply snuck it over the middle under his own power. With a first down at the Bucs' 40, the quarter came to an end.
Second Quarter Update
The Bucs put up the only score of the second quarter and took a 21-0 lead into halftime. After scoring on a pair of long plays in the first period, they grinded out a methodical, 71-yard drive in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Bucs' defense continued to stifle Peyton Manning and company, and the total-yardage edge at the intermission was 239-86 in the home team's favor.
The second quarter started out very well for the Buccaneers, as QB Brad Johnson found a wide-open WR Keyshawn Johnson on the left side for a gain of 25. RB Michael Pittman then ripped off two long runs, an eight-yard gash over left guard and a 12-yard weaving carry up the middle to the Colts' 15.
RB Aaron Stecker got the next carry, dancing sideways up the middle for a gain of two. The Bucs then got a first down inside the five when B. Johnson rolled right off a beautiful play-action fake and hit TE Ken Dilger in the right flat. Dilger cut inside one tackler and gained 10 yards down to the three.
Two Mike Alstott runs out of a power package gained a net zero yards, setting up third-and-goal from the three. After a Buccaneer timeout to talk it over, the Bucs scored again on a quick out-and-in route by WR Reggie Barlow. After the extra point, Tampa Bay owned a 21-0 lead.
Indianapolis was also guilty of a personal foul on the touchdown pass, which meant Martin Gramatica got to kick off from the Bucs' 45, thus allowing the Bucs' cover team to trap return man Brad Pyatt at the Indy 15.
A Peyton Manning 13-yard strike to TE Marcus Pollard on second down moved the chains for Indianapolis, but the following Dominic Rhodes run around left end was quickly swallowed up by a swarm of Bucs after just one yard. After a four-yard receiver screen to WR Marvin Harrison set up third-and-five, Manning had to throw quickly to Rhodes under pressure and CB Tim Wansley made an impressive tackle to stop the back a yard short.
After yet another booming punt by Hunter Smith, the Bucs started again at their own 14. A sweep left by Stecker was well designed but good for just two yards. A pass down the sideline to WR Keenan McCardell nearly worked for big yards, but McCardell was well-covered and couldn't quite keep the ball in bounds. A shovel pass to Stecker picked up nothing and appeared to end the drive, but the Colts were called for holding on the ensuing punt, a penalty that results in an automatic first down.
Starting again at the 21, B. Johnson called an audible and pitched left to Pittman for a gain of five yards. DE Dwight Freeney had a free shot at Johnson on the next play and hit him quickly, forcing an incompletion. On third-and-five, the Colts jumped offside, giving the Bucs another first down by virtue of penalty.
The Bucs then gave 10 yards back on John Wade's holding penalty, but yo-yoed back to the same spot on a 10-yard pass to TE Ken Dilger on the right sideline. After a seven-yard pass to Pittman over the middle, the Bucs faced a third-and-three at their own 38 with three minutes remaining. A blitz up the middle dropped Johnson quickly and set his pass sailing high over McCardell's head, but an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty on CB Nick Harper once again extended the Bucs' drive.
Unfortunately, the Bucs took another step backward on a holding penalty, after which Pittman knifed up the middle for 10 yards, bringing on the two-minute warning with the Bucs at their own 43. After the break, Johnson had to scramble and eventually toss a desperation incompletion, and his third-down screen to Pittman was stopped short by a fine play by Harper.
The Bucs had to punt, and Tom Tupa hit a blast that bounced at the one, went straight into the air and came to a rest at that same spot for Wansley to down it.
The Colts managed to escape their goal line when James Mungro ran for five yards and Manning hit Harrison on a 10-yard slant. From the 16, DT Anthony McFarland's pressure forced a quick incompletion that Wansley nearly intercepted, and WR Troy Walters dropped a second-down pass. The Colts tried a screen pass to TE Dallas Clark on third-and-ten but the Bucs' defense closed so quickly that Clark actually lost a yard.
The Bucs got he ball back at their own 43 with 25 seconds to play in the half. With no timeouts, Johnson hit Dilger over the middle for 15 yards to the Colts' 42 and the offense hurried up to spike the ball with 11 seconds to play. After an incompletion, Jon Gruden let Gramatica try a 60-yard field goal, but the attempt came up a few yards short.
Third Quarter Update
The third quarter was a wash, with each team scoring once and the Bucs maintaining their 21-point lead with one period to go. Indianapolis scored quickly on their opening drive to breathe some life into the visiting sideline, but the Bucs later answered with an impressive, 85-yard march. With 15 minutes to go, the home team held a 28-7 lead, though Indy had driven into their territory to end the third quarter.
The Bucs kicked off to start the second half, and James Mungro muffed the kick but recovered at his own 27. QB Peyton Manning quickly threw a nine-yard strike on a slant to Marvin Harrison, and RB Ricky Williams found a huge seam around left end to run for 19 yards to the Bucs' 45.
Williams dropped the next pass over the middle, but Williams had another big hole on second down to run for eight yards. On third-and-two, the Colts cracked the scoreboard as Manning and Harrison ran a pump-and-go that got the receiver wide open for a 37-yard score.
The Bucs' next drive was brief. RB Michael Pittman got a first down right off the bat with a 10-yard run up the middle. However, a penalty erased a six-yard scramble by Brad Johnson two plays later and the Bucs followed with two incompletions on second and third-and-12.
Indianapolis committed a blocking penalty on the ensuing punt return and had to start at their own 27. However, a screen to TE Dallas Clark was good for six yards. DE Simeon Rice made a fine, one-handed tackle of Williams on second down, setting up third-and-four. After a false-start penalty made it third-and-nine, a screen to Williams on the left side didn't come close to picking up the necessary yardage.
A fine, rolling punt by Hunter Smith pushed the Bucs back to their own 15. Pittman tested the middle on first down but lost a yard. However, with the Colts blitzing heavily from the left on second down, Johnson hit Pittman on a slant and the back fought through several tacklers to pick up 20 yards out to the Bucs' 34.
On first down, Johnson faked a handoff and rolled right, eventually throwing back across his body to Keyshawn Johnson for a gain of 14. The Bucs didn't get the next snap off on time, taking a five-yard delay penalty. Pittman hurdled over several Colts up the middle on his next carry, picking up eight. On third-and-seven, after LB Marcus Washington knocked down a pass intended for Ken Dilger, RB Thomas Jones caught a short pass in the right flat and dove between Walt Harris and David Thornton to get just enough for a first down.
After an Indianapolis time out, Johnson faked a handoff and rolled right again, hitting FB Mike Alstott for a pickup of 17 yards. However, T Roman Oben followed the first-down play with an unnecessary roughness penalty that pushed the Bucs back to their own 40. Pittman, however, solved that problem with two consecutive big runs, one for eight yards and one for 17 yards down to the 15.
Things took a bad turn after that, with Aaron Stecker losing a yard up the middle and TE Todd Yoder drawing an offensive pass-interference penalty. The result was a second-and-21 at the 26. From there, Johnson stood in the huddle for a long time, then threw a hard pass that Reggie Barlow caught at the 15. CB Walt Harris knocked Barlow off his feet with a thunderous hit, but Barlow held on for the 11-yard gain.
Indianapolis called another timeout just before the third-and-10 snap, but the Bucs still had the right play called. WR Keenan McCardell ran right at Walt Harris, faked quickly inside as he hit the end zone then cut outside. Johnson delivered a sharp pass near the sideline and McCardell dragged his toes to come up with the scoring catch.
The Colts got off to a good start on their next drive with a 31-yard completion over the middle to TE Marcus Pollard, but DE Greg Spires collared Williams for a loss of five on the next snap, back to the Bucs' 49. The third quarter then came to an end.
Fourth Quarter Update
It would be no stretch to call Monday night's fourth period the most painful quarter in Tampa Bay Buccaneer history. Indianapolis scored 28 points, including three touchdowns in the last 5:09, to tie the game at 35-35 and force overtime. An 87-yard kickoff return and a successful onside kick were critical elements in the nearly inconceivable comeback.
The Colts had a second-and-15 at the Bucs' 49 to start the fourth quarter but they picked up a new set of downs on two plays, one a 12-yard sideline pass to WR Marvin Harrison and the other an 11-yard catch by TE Dallas Clark on which Clark broke several tackles.
QB Peyton Manning then found RB Ricky Williams over the middle for 11 yards and again on the left sideline for 12 more down to the Bucs' three. Williams got down to the one-yard line on his first-down carry, then took it up the middle on second down for a touchdown. The Bucs' lead was thus trimmed to 28-14 with 12 minutes to go.
Interested in killing the clock, the Bucs put it on the ground and simply powered it up the middle. Aaron Stecker took the ball first, getting six yards, then Pittman broke off successive carries of five, six and seven yards. Two first downs put the ball at the Bucs' 48, and Stecker got it over midfield with another three-yard run up the gut.
Stecker was stopped for just one yard on his next carry, and Johnson's third-down scramble came up two yards short of a first down. The Bucs punted from the Colts' 44, with Brad Pyatt calling for a fair catch at the 15.
The Colts got off to a rough start, taking a holding penalty and then a sack by DE Ellis Wyms to make it second-and-23 at the three. After an eight-yard swing pass to Williams, the Colts saw the game slip away on a final blow by the Bucs' defense. Under pressure, Manning threw 25 yards downfield to Harrison, but CB Ronde Barber cut in front of the receiver for his first interception of the season. Barber then followed a winding, 29-yard route to the end zone for the sixth touchdown of his career.
The Colts didn't go down quietly. Pyatt returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to the Bucs' 12, just under the five-minute mark. S Jermaine Phillips ran Pyatt down to save the touchdown.
On first down, Harrison tried to hit RB James Mungro over the middle, but the pass was incomplete. Mungro got three yards up the middle on second down, and a pass to WR Troy Walters came up just short of the first down. However, the Colts went for it on fourth down and Mungro got the first down plus a touchdown on his three-yard run.
The Colts, by necessity, went to the onside kick and it worked when S Idrees Bashir leaped high to grab Mike Vanderjagt's bouncing kick. Manning immediately hit Harrison for 15 and 11 yards to the Bucs' 32. Three plays later, on third-and-seven from the Bucs' 28, Manning's hard pass over the middle to TE Dallas Clark was incomplete and the Colts had to go for it on fourth down. Manning then beat the Bucs' defense deep, hitting Harrison for a 28-yard touchdown that cut the Bucs' lead to one touchdown.
The Colts tried another onside kick, bouncing it directly to LB Derrick Brooks, who was trying to call a timeout. The ball went through Brooks' hands but Stecker came up with it in the pile at the Colts' 45.
Stecker also got the first-down carry that followed, but he got nothing and the Colts used their final timeout with 2:22 left. After the break, Stecker lost two yards on a sweep and the clock ran down to two minutes. Kenyatta Walker was then flagged for unnecessary roughness, a crucial mistake that cost the Bucs 15 yards and also stopped the clock at 2:04. Thus, after Stecker's run back to midfield, the clock stopped at 1:59 before the Bucs' punt.
After offsetting penalties erased Tom Tupa's first punt, Pyatt called for a fair catch of the next one at his own 15. The Colts had 101 seconds with which to work. Manning's first pass, after two pump fakes, was thrown into the ground, incomplete. However, Manning not only found Walters for a gain of 12 over the middle, but the Colts got 15 more yards on a roughing-the-passer penalty on Warren Sapp.
Amazingly, Harrison got open deep down the right sideline and Manning hit him stride for a 52-yard gain down to the Bucs' six. Two plays later, Williams ran it in from one yard out for the game-tying score.
Stecker got the ensuing kickoff out to the Bucs' 32, with 26 seconds to go. A pass over the middle to Dilger gained 12 yards, with the Bucs calling a timeout with 20 seconds to go. RB Thomas Jones appeared to get out of bounds after a three-yard catch, but was ruled down in bounds at the 47, forcing the Bucs to use their last timeout with 10 seconds to play.
Dilger then got 10 yards and out of bounds at the Indianapolis 43. With three seconds to play, the Bucs attempted a 62-yard field goal but Martin Gramatica's attempt was low and blocked.
Though most of the damage was done in the fourth quarter, overtime was another tough period for the Buccaneers. Though they had the ball first, the Bucs had to punt and the Colts then drove the length of the field for the game-winning field goal drive. The Colts got two cracks at the kick thanks to a controversial penalty. The final result was a stunning, 38-35 victory for the visiting Colts, Tampa Bay's second straight overtime loss at home.
The Bucs won the coin toss for overtime and WR Reggie Barlow got the return out to the Bucs' 30. A swing pass to FB Jameel Cook got three yards, and Brad Johnson's second-down scramble picked up two. Johnson then hit WR Keenan McCardell on the left side for a gain of nine and a first down at the 44.
Another pass to McCardell gained eight more, but after a one-yard run by Thomas Jones, Johnson faced tight coverage and eventually tried to hit McCardell deep and was unable to do so. However, the Colts were flagged for running into the kicker on the punt, giving the Bucs a new set of downs. Unfortunately, they could gain only two yards on three plays. Tom Tupa's punt went out of bounds at the 13.
DT Warren Sapp deflected Manning's first down pass and the Colts faced a third-and-six from the 17 two plays later. Manning converted that one with another pass to Marvin Harrison, for eight yards.
Three plays later, it was third-and-11 from the 24, and Manning located Reggie Wayne 16 yards downfield for a first down at the Bucs' 40. Three plays later, it was third-and-six from the Colts' 44, and Manning completed a nine-yard pass to Troy Walters in between three Buc defenders.
Two plays later, on second-and-10 from the Bucs' 47, Wayne ran a drag over the middle and Manning zipped it into his arms for a gain of 16 despite tight coverage by Ronde Barber. Barber kept Mungro from getting around left end on the next play, but Mungro plowed up the middle for five yards on second down. On third-and-four from the Bucs' 25, Mungro barreled up to the 22 and the Colts brought on their field goal unit.
Mike Vanderjagt, the most accurate placekicker in NFL history, actually missed the ensuing 40-yard attempt, but the Buccaneers were flagged for a penalty that seemed impossible to understand. DE Simeon Rice was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, with the contention that he used a teammate to aid his leap to block the kick. Replays showed Rice jumped straight in the air, but the officials stuck to their call. Vanderjagt then easily made a 29-yarder to win the game.