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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Give One Away

For just the third time 30 tries, a Buccaneer opponent erases a fourth-quarter deficit as the New York Jets beat the Bucs, 21-17


WR Jacquez Green's 75-yard catch in a pouring rain helped the Bucs take an early lead, but it wouldn't last

In the end, it was one mistake too many.

FB Mike Alstott fumbled at the Bucs' 24-yard line with less than two minutes remaining in the game and the Bucs' leading 17-14. Two plays later, RB Curtis Martin threw an option pass to WR Wayne Chrebet to give New York a 21-17 victory. It was Tampa Bay's first loss of the season. The Jets moved to 4-0.

Tampa Bay is now 27-3 in games in which it enters the fourth quarter with a lead under Head Coach Tony Dungy.

After exploding for 93 points in their first three games, the Bucs' offense stumbled on this day, picking up just 239 yards and finding the end zone only once. Tampa Bay's other touchdown came courtesy of CB Ronde Barber, who gave the Bucs a seemingly safe 17-6 lead with his 37-yard interception return for a score in the third period.

That lead held up until the final five minutes, when former Buccaneer QB Vinny Testaverde directed an 11-play, 49-yard drive helped immeasurably by a 15-yard personal-foul facemask penalty against DT Anthony McFarland. Though the severity of the penalty was questionable, it was one of eight ill-timed penalties committed by the Buccaneers.

Perhaps even worse for Buccaneer fans, the winning touchdown was scored on a trick play. RB Curtis Martin, who had finished the previous drive with a six-yard TD reception, went right on a sweep then pulled up and tossed a floater to WR Wayne Chrebet. Chrebet hauled in the winning score just before S Damien Robinson could get to him.

The Bucs struck first in this game thanks to one of the longest plays in team history. QB Shaun King threw a deep pass to WR Jacquez Green in the first quarter and Green took it down the left sideline for a 75-yard gain to the Jets' 11. Strong New York defense held Tampa Bay to a field goal, and the Jets tied the score before the first period was up.

In the second quarter, Tampa Bay scored the game's first touchdown on an 80-yard drive keyed by the running of Alstott and RB Warrick Dunn. On one four-play stretch, those two combined for four carries for 39 yards, putting the Bucs in position for TE Dave Moore's acrobatic three-yard touchdown pass.

The Jets scored a field goal in return, but a late interception by Tampa Bay failed to hurt the team when the Bucs defense came up with an interception of its own, this one by S Damien Robinson. The Bucs ended the day with three picks off Testaverde, but turned the ball over four times themselves.

Alstott's turnover was the only blemish on a fine effort that included 81 combined rushing and receiving yards. Dunn added 63 combined yards, but the Bucs' offense was outdone by New York, 296-239. covered the game in detail during the contest, with a play-by-play of all the action. That quarter-by-quarter coverage follows to explain the game in greater detail.

That formula allowed Tampa Bay to get away with an uncharacteristically sloppy effort that included _ penalties, many of them at crucial moments. QB Shaun King also cooled down off his hot start of 2000, but his two interceptions in the Buccaneers' own end zone resulted in no Jets points thanks to the Bucs' stalwart defense.

That's why the Bucs are now 4-0 and the Jets are feeling the pain of their first loss.

The Bucs, who are now 28-2 under Head Coach Tony Dungy when they take a lead into the fourth quarter.

First Quarter

The Bucs struck first in the opening period thanks to one of the longest plays in team history, but New York tied it up before the period was over. Each team settled for one field goal, leaving the first quarter score at 3-3.

New York's First Drive

New York won the toss and set up at their own 24 after Kevin William's 23-yard return.

The Jets thought they might catch Tampa Bay napping, throwing a deep pass on the right sideline in the direction of Dedric Ward on first down. The coverage by CB Donnie Abraham was excellent, however, and the pass was incomplete. On second down, RB Curtis Martin went around left end for a five-yard gain, setting up third-and-five.

The Jets tried another somewhat deep throw on third down, but QB Vinny Testaverde was dropped by DT Warren Sapp as he threw and the ball was incomplete. Tom Tupa came on to punt and kicked a long, low liner to return man Karl Williams. Williams took the ball at the Bucs' 18 and returned it 14 yards to the 32.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

A slow-developing sweep left by RB Warrick Dunn on first down lost two yards. Dunn tried a middle run on second down but gained just one yard back, and a false start penalty made it third-and-16. Forced to throw out of the shotgun, QB Shaun King threw up a long pass down the right sideline but it was nowhere near WR Jacquez Green.

P Mark Royals followed with a beauty of a punt, hanging it high and driving it 50 yards. After Ward's 10-yard return, the Jets were at their own 34.

New York's Second Drive

A more conservative approach to first down by the Jets got no better, as Martin took a handoff right but was immediately met by S John Lynch and LB Derrick Brooks for a loss of three. Ward planned to run a quick out on second down, but slipped in his route and Testaverde's pass went sailing out of bounds. The Jets took the risk out of third-and-13 by handing off to Martin, who got seven yards before Sapp trapped him.

Tupa's second punt was shanked and went out of bounds at the 29, but an unnecessary roughness penalty pushed the Bucs back to their 14.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

The Bucs struck with the first big play of the game on third down. Shaun King faked a handoff to Dunn and, with WR Keyshawn Johnson clearly open over the middle, chose to go deep instead. King's pass found Green, who not only caught the pass with a Jets defender on him but also kept his feet and outran the defense to the Jets' 11.

Green's 75-yard gain tied for the 10th-longest pass play in team history and was the longest gain of both his and King's career.

On first down from the 11, King bobbled the snap but still got a handoff off to FB Mike Alstott for a one-yard gain. King's pass on second down was thrown away, and Alstott's run off right guard on third-and-eight came up two yards short. The Bucs settled for Martin Gramatica's 22-yard field goal. Tampa Bay 3, New York 0.

New York's Third Drive

Gramatica's second kickoff of the day went four yards deep into the end zone and was downed by Williams for a touchback, meaning the Jets would start anew at their own 20.

The Jets' first completion of the day started the drive, as WR Wayne Chrebet picked up 14 yards on a pass from Testaverde in the right flat. Testaverde tried to throw again but overthrew Martin with Marcus Jones quickly in his field of vision.

After a false-start penalty, New York handed off to Martin, who appeared to be swarmed under in the backfield. Martin got out of that jam, however, and squirted through the Bucs' secondary for 26 yards before CB Ronde Barber dragged him down. Martin then got another four yards on a sweep right on first down from the Bucs' 45.

On second down, however, the Bucs caught Martin again in the backfield and wrapped him up this time, with Brooks dropping him for a loss of three. Unfortunately, Testaverde converted the third down by rolling right away from Barber's blitz and completing a 17-yard pass to WR Laveraneus Coles.

On first down from the Bucs' 27, Martin got the ball but was dropped after gaining one yard by a nice arm tackle by DE Chidi Ahanotu. Testaverde's next pass was in the general direction of Martin but thrown well over his head and out of bounds. On third-and-nine, the Jets tried a draw play but Martin failed to find an open lane and Sapp took him down at the Bucs' 23.

The Jets then tied the game on John Hall's 41-yard field goal. Tampa Bay 3, New York 3.

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

The Jets kicked off for the first time and RB Aaron Stecker returned it to his team's 20 before being tripped up by Coles.

Alstott got the call on first down but was stopped after a gain of just one yard. On second down, Dunn found a hole off right tackle and picked up 11 yards to the Bucs' 32, the last five courtesy of a nice block from Green.

A nice push by the offensive line was responsible for Alstott's three-yard gain on the next snap, because the Jets took Alstott down when they touched him, but that wasn't until he reached the 35. King threw right on second down but out of the reach of Johnson, setting up third-and-seven.

King converted that tough situation when he threw a perfect 18-yard fade stop to WR Reidel Anthony.

Second Quarter

Like the first period, each team scored once, but the Bucs one-upped the Jets this time by notching a touchdown to the Jets' field goal. Both the Bucs and the Jets mounted long drives to get their tallies, Tampa Bay traveling 80 yards and the Jets moving 81, but the home team's ability to get the ball into the end zone resulted in a 10-6 halftime lead.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

Opening up the second quarter with a first down at the Jets' 47, Tampa Bay came out throwing. QB Shaun King's first pass, down the left sideline to WR Keyshawn Johnson, sailed out of bounds, and his second, to a wide-open Dave Moore over the middle, was just overthrown. King's third pass also hit the turf, but a holding penalty on the Jets gave the Bucs a new set of downs.

RB Warrick Dunn immediately took advantage of the reprieve, zipping up the middle for a 12-yard run to the Jets' 30. Sticking with a good thing, the Bucs gave it back to Dunn on the next snap and he went back up the gut for nine more. On second-and-one, FB Mike Alstott lowered his shoulders to make sure he got one yard but ended up bouncing off tacklers for a total of eight to the Jets' 13.

With a first down, it was more of the same, a handoff to Alstott that, after a measurement, was good for 10 yards and a first-and-goal at the three. Alstott did a nimble job of stepping out of a line-of-scrimmage tackle to get the long gain.

That left it up to Touchdown Dave Moore, as the Bucs' tight end is affectionately called. Moore released off the line and went towards the right corner of the end zone as King rolled right. King threw the ball over the defender but almost out of the end zone. Moore reached up with one hand to knock it down, then gathered it into his chest and got both feet in bounds for the score.

Tampa Bay 10, New York 3.

New York's First Drive

The Bucs specifically wanted to tighten up their kickoff coverage this afternoon, but were gashed again when Williams took Martin Gramatica's kick from inside his own zone to the Jets' 41.

Thus blessed with good field position, the Jets started with a play-action screen pass to RB Curtis Martin, who picked up only two yards thanks to a quickly-closing Jamie Duncan. Martin then sliced off left guard on second down for three more yards on second down.

On third-and-five, DT Anthony McFarland got instant pressure on QB Vinny Testaverde but was denied a sack when Testaverde tossed the ball out of bounds as he was dragged down. That led to Tom Tupa's punt, which went into the end zone (barely) for a touchback. The Jets challenged the touchback ruling, but it was upheld, thus costing New York a timeout.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

The Bucs got this drive off to a fine start. FB Mike Alstott lined up in the slot, then knifed laterally across the Jets defense, catching a touch pass from King to gain 21 yards to the Bucs' 41.

On the next snap, a perfectly-timed run blitz by LB James Farrior resulted in a three-yard loss for Dunn. Dunn got seven of those yards back on a second-down carry and appeared to pick up 24 more on a screen pass, but that second play was erased by a Buc penalty for an ineligible man downfield. A draw play to RB Aaron Stecker on third-and-11 went nowhere and the Bucs had to punt.

New York followed with a critical penalty of their own, a block-in-the-back that erased a 34-yard punt return and pushed the Jets back to their own 10.

New York's Second Drive

The Raymond James Stadium crowd raised its voice considerably with the Jets in the shadow of their own end zone, but Testaverde gained plus yardage with a quick pass to TE Anthony Becht for four yards. Testaverde's next pass hung in the air almost long enough for CB Brian Kelly to intercept it on the left sideline, but it was at least incomplete.

However, the Jets were able to climb out of the hole when Testaverde hit Ward down the right sideline for a 29-yard gain. The coverage by CB Donnie Abraham was actually quite good, but Ward adjusted well to an underthrown ball.

Testaverde got his team 17 more yards with a beautiful deep out to WR Laveraneus Coles, completed once again despite great coverage from CB Brian Kelly. Martin then bounced up the middle for five yards on first down, getting the ball to the Bucs' 25. Martin got a first down for the Jets on the next play with a nine-yard carry through a big hole.

A touch pass to FB Richie Anderson over the arms of DE Marcus Jones was good for nine more yards to the Bucs' 16 and another toss to Anderson got the Jets down to the 12. That play took the game down to the two-minute warning.

Testaverde's first-down pass was to a wide-open Fred Baxter at the four, but Baxter stepped out of bounds before he could haul it in. The Jets' hurler then tried an out to WR Wayne Chrebet, but that was just out of his diving grasp. The Jets were then denied the end zone when Testaverde was forced by Chidi Ahanotu's rush to dump the ball off to Martin. Martin was stopped at the Bucs' nine, setting up John Hall's 27-yard field goal. Tampa Bay 10, New York 6..

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

After a touchback, the Bucs opened up at their own 20. On first down, with just over a minute on the clock, King threw a shovel pass to Johnson, a play that picked up one yard. On second down, disaster.

King threw a pass to a wide-open Jacquez Green, but it was slightly behind Green and ticked off his hand. The deflection ended up in Victor Green's hands, and the Jets gained another possession at the Bucs' 17 with 42 seconds remaining.

New York's Third Drive

Luckily for the gambling Bucs, the defense got the ball right back. After a two-yard pass to Martin and a timeout, Testaverde went for the end zone, trying to find Martin near the goal line. S Damien Robinson stepped in front of the pass and intercepted it before stepping out of bounds at the Bucs' six. One kneeldown later, the half ended.

Third Quarter

CB Ronde Barber gave the Buccaneers a little breathing room in the third quarter, as the only score of the period was his interception return for a touchdown. Struggling to move the ball on offense or completely stifle the Jets' attack, Tampa Bay used the key turnover to pad its lead to 17-6 entering the final 15 minutes.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

The third quarter got off to an auspicious start for Tampa Bay when RB Aaron Stecker took the opening kickoff from the goal line all the way out to the Bucs' 35.

Dunn ran for two yards off left tackle on first down. The tailback then got a delayed handoff and second down and zipped for five more yards before LB Marvin Jones pulled him down. With excellent protection on third down, King held the ball for a long time then threw a pass to Dunn cutting across from left to right, but it went through his hands.

The Bucs were forced to punt and Mark Royals blasted a huge kick, a high 52-yarder that Dedric Ward took at his own six and got back to the 14 before Dexter Jackson flipped him.

New York's First Drive

On first down, QB Vinny Testaverde rolled away from DT Warren Sapp's pressure and threw a six-yard screen pass to FB Richie Anderson. There was apparent miscommunication on Testaverde's next snap, which sailed over the head of an unaware Curtis Martin. On third-and-four, Testaverde tried to find a streaking Wayne Chrebet on the left sideline but S John Lynch broke it up, almost inadvertently tipping it back to Chrebet. Tom Tupa had to punt, and a holding penalty put the ball at the Bucs' 24.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

The Bucs' second possession was extremely brief. QB Shaun King faked a handoff to Alstott and threw to the right sideline to find WR Keyshawn Johnson. The pass was overthrown, however, and settled into CB Aaron Glenn's hands at the Bucs' 42.

New York's Second Drive

Martin broke several tackles on first down to pick up four yards off right guard. Testaverde felt a lot of pressure on second down and threw an incompletion to the left side. On third down, Testaverde was chased out of the pocket and taken down after a gain of just one by DE Chidi Ahanotu. Ahanotu actually forced a fumble by Testaverde but TE Fred Baxter recovered from New York.

The Jets appeared to be going for it on fourth down, but before they could get the snap off, a false start penalty pushed them back five more yards. Tom Tupa then punted the ball into the end zone for a touchback.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

The Bucs gave the ball to Mike Alstott on first and second down, and he picked up three yards on the first carry and two on the second. With the first carry, Alstott passed RB Reggie Cobb for second place on the Bucs' all-time rushing chart.

On third down, King calmly dropped back and found TE Dave Moore over the middle for seven yards and a first down. It was back to Alstott on the next play and the bruiser bashed up the middle for five more yards. However, a holding penalty on the Bucs pushed Tampa Bay back into a second-and-15.

RB Warrick Dunn tried to go off right tackle on the next snap but was stopped after just one yard. On third-and-14, King tried to scramble for the yardage but came up five yards short. Mark Royals then punted to Ward, who hit another deep bomb, forcing Ward back to his own six. Ward got it back to the 23.

New York's Third Drive

Testaverde dumped a short pass off to Fred Baxter on first down, picking up five yards before he was upended. There was more intense pressure on second down, and the next pass went over Baxter's head. However, the Jets converted with a 10-yard pass to Ward over the middle.

New York stuck to the air attack on the next set of downs and it proved disastrous to their cause. CB Ronde Barber stuck close to Ward as the Jets receiver did a quick in-and-out move. When Testaverde delivered in Ward's direction, Barber streaked in front of him, picked off the pass and returned it 37 yards against an empty field for the Bucs' second touchdown of the day. Tampa Bay 17, New York 6.

New York's Fourth Drive

The Jets opened their next drive with a tough six-yard run up the middle by Martin, but his next attempt, a sweep to the left, was blown up by LB Derrick Brooks, resulting in no gain. On third-and-four, Testaverde threw wide in an attempt to get the ball to rookie TE Anthony Becht.

Tupa continued an excellent day for the punters by drilling his next kick 56 yards, but WR Karl Williams returned it 15 yards to the Bucs' 31.

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

Now with a more comfortable lead over the Jets, Tampa Bay tried to go for the jugular but just missed. After a four-yard run by Alstott, King executed a convincing play-action fake and threw very deep to a streaking Jacquez Green on the right sideline. Unfortunately, it was just a little too deep for Green, who had beaten the Jets' coverage.

A well-timed blitz by Jets LB Mo Lewis resulted in the game's first sack, a six-yard loss for the Buccaneers as King went down. The third quarter then expired.

Fourth Quarter

Uncharacteristically, Tampa Bay coughed up a fourth quarter lead on this day, as a 17-6 edge devolved into a 21-17 loss. It was the third thrilling comeback of the season for the Jets, now 4-0, and it resulted in the Bucs' first loss of the season and their first in Raymond James Stadium since September 12, 1999.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

The Bucs opened the final period in a second-and-16 hole on its own 39, and it quickly became third down when QB Shaun King's pass fell incomplete over the middle out of the vicinity of any receivers. He was chased out of the pocket on third down and eventually threw the ball away. P Mark Royals angled another nice punt to the right sideline and it went out of the bounds at the 14, but a Buccaneer penalty forced a re-kick. That proved to be just a small error when a similar kick was fair-caught by Dedric Ward as he went out of bounds at the Jets' 20.

New York's First Drive

The Jets started off on the ground again, handing it to RB Curtis Martin, who picked up five yards on first down and nine on second. With a new set of downs, QB Vinny Testaverde dropped back to pass but threw the ball outside of the grasp of WR Wayne Chrebet.

The Jets got another first down, however, when Testaverde faked a handoff to Martin then dumped it off to him in the flat. S John Lynch hit him hard at the end, but not before he had picked up 14 yards. Testaverde's next pass to Laveraneus Coles on the right side was overthrown and nearly picked off by CB Ronde Barber.

The next throw was picked off. Testaverde tried to throw a seam pass to Chrebet over the middle, but three Buc defenders closed in after the ball was thrown. LB Jamie Duncan made the play, leaping high to intercept the pass at the Bucs' 31. When no one touched him, Duncan jumped up and returned it 10 yards to the 41.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

RB Warrick Dunn got the first down handoff and escaped an early knot to bounce it outside for nine yards. However, he got nothing on second down and an attempt to pound it through with FB Mike Alstott on third down was met in the backfield for a two-yard loss. Royals resulting punt touched down inside the 10 but bounced into the end zone before cover man Reidel Anthony could get to it.

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