K Martin Gramatica has already set one Buccaneer record this season and is closing in on several more
Each week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' communications department prepares a lengthy release for distribution to local and national members of the media. The release previews the team's upcoming game and keeps an eye on team notes, stats and trends.
This comprehensive document is now available to the team's fans on Buccaneers.com. Each week, Buccaneers.com will post this release as a front-page story, sharing directly with the fans what used to be filtered through the media covering the team. With Tampa Bay surging back into the playoff race with a win over Buffalo last week, this Sunday's game against Dallas takes on added importance. The notes below set the table for that crucial matchup.
TAMPA BAY (7-5) AIMS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT HOME WIN VERSUS DALLAS (4-8)
GAME INFORMATION Date: Sunday, December 3, 2000 Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET Site: Raymond James Stadium Records: Tampa Bay 7-5, Dallas 4-8 Television: Fox Play-By-Play: Curt Menefee, Color: Brian Baldinger Bucs Radio: WQYK, Flagship station (99.5 FM, 1010 AM) Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff; Color: Scot Brantley; Sideline: Tom Korun Spanish Radio: Mega 96.1 FM Play-by-Play: Neil Fernandez; Color: Mike Chavez
LAST GAME Bucs Get Back in Win Column with 31-17 Victory over Buffalo
Tampa Bay received contributions from its offense, defense and special teams as it won its third straight game at home with a 31-17 victory over Buffalo at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs led 10-7 after three quarters but then exploded for 21 points in the final quarter, including two touchdown runs by RB Warrick Dunn sandwiched around a 73-yard punt return by WR Karl Williams. Dunn's first score, a six-yard run, gave Tampa Bay a 17-7 edge but Buffalo cut the lead to 17-14 on QB Rob Johnson's second TD pass of the day. The Bucs defense forced a punt on the next series and Williams capitalized with the third punt return touchdown of his career. Buffalo cut the margin with a field goal, but Dunn put the game out of reach with a 39-yard TD run. Dunn posted his first 100-yard game since 1998 as he tallied 106 yards on 20 carries. The Bucs defense notched six sacks to set a club single-season record and DT Warren Sapp broke Lee Roy Selmon's franchise record for sacks in a season with two - giving him 13.5 for the year. For the third time in the last four games, Tampa Bay knocked off the opposing teams' quarterback as the injured Johnson was replaced by Doug Flutie in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay's offense was held to just 180 yards but did not commit a turnover and gained 86 of its yards in the final 15 minutes.
DID YOU KNOW?
Tampa Bay is ranked third in the NFC in points scored with 293. The NFL average this season is 249.8 per game.
BUCS IN THE RANKINGS
Here is a look at where the Buccaneers rank in the team and individual rankings:
|Team Statistic||NFC Ranking||NFL Ranking|
|Total Offense (284.1 ypg)||13th||23rd|
|Rushing Offense (120.3 ypg)||6th||13th|
|Passing Offense (163.8 ypg)||15th||27th|
|Total Defense (297.8 ypg)||5th||10th|
|Rushing Defense (102.2 ypg)||5th||11th|
|Passing Defense (195.6 ypg)||5th||12th|
|Turnover Margin (+5)||3rd||10th|
|Third Downs (34.2%)||12th||----|
|Third Down Defense (31.3%)||2nd||----|
|Red Zone Scoring Pct. (93.9%)||1st||----|
|Red Zone TD Pct. (63.6%)||1st||----|
|Opponent Red Zone TD Pct. (34.4%)||5th||----|
|First Downs (201)||12th||----|
|Opponent First Downs (207)||3rd||----|
|Individual Statistic||NFC Ranking||NFL Ranking|
|Kicking - Gramatica (93 points)||t4th||t5th|
|Rushing – Dunn (679 yards)||12th||----|
|Passing - King (77.3 rating)||10th||----|
|Punting - Royals (43.0 avg.)||6th||----|
|Punt Returns - Williams (11.0 avg.)||4th||----|
|Interceptions - Abraham (6)||t2nd||t3rd|
|Interceptions - Robinson (4)||t7th||----|
|Sacks – Sapp (13.5)||2nd||3rd|
|Sacks – Jones (12.0)||4th||5th|
BUCCANEERS-COWBOYS SERIES NOTES
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Dallas leads the all-time series, 6-0, in the regular season, and the Cowboys also own playoff victories over the Buccaneers following the 1981 and 1982 seasons. The two teams first met in 1977, a 23-7 Cowboys win in Dallas. This year's meeting will mark just the second contest in the series to be played in Tampa, with the Cowboys downing the Buccaneers 17-13 at Tampa Stadium in 1990. Four of the last five meetings between the two clubs have been decided by five points or less. The Bucs are 19-31 all-time against the NFC East, including 0-1 this season. Tampa Bay has won nine of its last 13 games against the NFC East.
LAST MEETING - Dallas 17, Tampa Bay 13 (10/21/91): In the second meeting between the teams in a span of 14 days, Dallas pulled out a victory as QB Troy Aikman found Michael Irvin for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left in the game. Aikman's pass culminated a seven-play, 80-yard drive after Steve Christie had given the Bucs a 13-10 lead with a 32-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining in the game. The Bucs defense held Dallas to just 143 yards in total offense prior to the game-winning drive, but five turnovers by Tampa Bay kept the game close. The Bucs grabbed a 10-0 halftime lead on a Christie field goal and a TD pass from Vinny Testaverde to Danny Peebles. But Dallas rallied after the break with a field goal and a 64-yard interception return by Issiac Holt to tie the game at 10-10 with 6:46 left.
SERIES HIGHLIGHTS: QB Danny White completed 24-of-33 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns, including two scoring passes to TE Billy Joe DuPree en route to a 28-17 win at Tampa (9/21/80)... FB Robert Newhouse's third quarter three-yard TD run propelled the Cowboys to a 14-9 win over the Bucs in Dallas (11/21/82)... K Rafael Septien connected on a 42-yard FG with 4:38 left in overtime to lift the Cowboys to 27-24 win in Dallas (10/9/83)... White completed 29-of-44 passes for 377 yards, five TDs and three INTs in the victory... Emmitt Smith gained 121 yards rushing, including the game-winning 14-yard score in the fourth quarter, as Dallas rallied for a 14-10 win at Texas Stadium (10/7/90)... In the second meeting between the teams in a span of 14 days, Dallas pulled out a 17-13 victory as QB Troy Aikman found WR Michael Irvin for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left in the game (10/21/90).
CAREER STATISTICS VERSUS DALLAS:
WR Keyshawn Johnson - 6 catches, 96 yards
Bucs T George Hegamin played for the Cowboys in 1994-97, earning a Super Bowl ring in 1995… Cowboys G Jorge Diaz played for Tampa Bay in 1996-98… Diaz played collegiately with Bucs G Kevin Dogins, WR Karl Williams and CB Floyd Young at Texas A&M-Kingsville... Dogins originally signed as a college free agent with the Cowboys in 1996... Cowboys practice squad player TE Jim Whalen was a fifth-round draft pick of the Buccaneers this season but was released after training camp… RB Emmitt Smith played his college ball at the University of Florida… Dallas CB Mario Edwards played at Florida State with Bucs CB Dexter Jackson… Bucs G Randall McDaniel played at Arizona State with Cowboys CB Darren Woodson… Bucs DE Marcus Jones played with Cowboys DE Ebenezer Ekuban and DE Greg Ellis at the University of North Carolina… Bucs DT Warren Sapp played at the University of Miami with Dallas CB Ryan McNeil… Bucs P Mark Royals and Cowboys LB Dexter Coakley both attended Appalachian State... Bucs DT Tyoka Jackson played collegiately with Cowboys DT Brandon Noble at Penn State... Bucs DT Anthony McFarland played with Cowboys TE David LaFleur and G Al Jackson at LSU...Bucs G Frank Middleton was a standout two-way lineman at West Brook High School in Beaumont, Texas... Bucs S Damien Robinson was a prep star at Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas... Bucs G Cosey Coleman played collegiately with Cowboys CB Dwayne Goodrich at Tennessee... TE Patrick Hape played with DL Michael Myers at Alabama...Dallas TE Jackie Harris played for the Bucs from 1994-97.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Here are a few things to keep an eye on this Sunday:
- Tampa Bay's defense has allowed just five rushing touchdowns, while Dallas has scored 10 TDs on the ground and averaged 119.8 yards per game rushing.
- The Bucs have blocked a team-record six kicks (three FGs, three punts), while Dallas has yet to have a kick blocked.
- Dallas has allowed only 21 sacks (1.75 per game) through 12 games, while the Bucs defense has set a club record with 49 sacks thus far (4.08 per game).
VERY SPECIAL TEAMS
Tampa Bay's special teams unit has consistently make big plays this season, and Sunday's win over Buffalo was no different. The Bucs punt return unit helped spring Karl Williams to a 73-yard punt return with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter for a 24-14 lead that the team would not relinquish. The return was the third of Williams' career and marked the second touchdown this season directly linked with a key play on special teams. Last month at Minnesota Warren Sapp blocked a field goal, which Donnie Abraham returned 66 yards for a touchdown.
All season long the special teams unit has made an impact, especially with a propensity for blocking kicks. The unit already has blocked a team record six kicks (three field goals and three punts) this season, breaking the previous mark of five blocks by the 1978 team. On the other side, the Bucs have allowed just one kick to be blocked thus far - a Martin Gramatica field goal attempt at Washington. Other than the block, the kicking game of Gramatica and P Mark Royals has been outstanding all season long. Gramatica has set a franchise record with five field goals of 50 or more yards and is 20-24 overall. Royals has averaged 43.0 yards per punt, including a long of 57 yards, and has put 12 of his kicks inside the 20. Gramatica and the kickoff coverage unit have also excelled, ranking fourth in the NFL with an average opponent drive starting point of the 26.1-yard line. Tampa Bay's nine touchbacks are fifth-best in the NFC.
It had been more than a year - 18 games to be exact - since a Tampa Bay RB rushed for more than 100 yards in a single game (FB Mike Alstott, 117 yards, 11/7/99 at New Orleans). And with the Buffalo Bills, featuring the league's third-ranked rush defense, visiting Raymond James Stadium last Sunday, it looked as if this would not be the ideal opponent for Tampa Bay to break this dubious streak.
Though the odds were stacked up against a Bucs' team looking to rebound from a disappointing loss at Chicago, Tampa Bay still had RB Warrick Dunn, who has thrived as the Bucs' feature back over the last month. Dunn continued to be the club's most potent offensive weapon with a scintillating performance, racking up a season-high 20 carries for 106 rushing yards, including a career-high two touchdowns over a Bills defense that had not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. With the 100-yard effort, Dunn moved past Alstott into second place on the Bucs' all-time rushing list with 3,299 yards.
Dunn's 100-yard rushing performance marked the first time he reached the century total this season. And it also marked his first 100-yard rushing performance since he tallied 107 yards at Jacksonville (11/15/98). The catalyst behind the Bucs' surging rushing attack, Dunn has racked up 402 rushing yards on 80 carries (5.0 avg.) in the last five games.
Running the ball effectively has been the cornerstone for the Buccaneers, who have recorded a 4-1 record during that span. Tampa Bay has registered 665 rushing yards on 149 carries (4.5 avg.), improving its totals from the first seven contests, in which it averaged just 3.7 yards a carry.
Dunn, who has had an expanded role in the Bucs' rushing attack over the last five weeks, has now become Tampa Bay's primary attack with FB Mike Alstott out with a medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee. Dunn boasts a team-leading 679 rushing yards on 161 carries (4.2 avg.) and three touchdowns, a vast improvement from an injured-plagued 1999 season in which he finished with just 616 rushing yards, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. In addition, Dunn has posted a team-best 909 yards from scrimmage (679 rushing and 230 receiving). Tampa Bay racked up 114 yards rushing on 25 carries (4.6 avg.) against Buffalo last Sunday, marking the ninth time in 11 contests the Bucs ran for more than 100 yards this season. Tampa Bay is 7-3 when it rushes for more than 100 yards. Dunn has become the Bucs' primary rushing weapon, leading the team in rushing in six straight games.
At a time when the Bucs were placed in a must-win situation, LB Derrick Brooks turned in his best performance of the season, catapulting Tampa Bay to a victory over Buffalo and getting the Bucs back into the playoff fray. A three-time Pro Bowler and arguably the league's finest defensive player, Brooks tied the Bucs single-game record and set a career high with 22 tackles (18 solo) and one magnificent play, signifying why he is the team leader on one of the league's most ferocious defenses.
With the Bills mounting a scoring drive in the fourth quarter, Brooks pasted QB Rob Johnson on a blitz, sending him to the turf and knocking him out of the game. Remarkably, Johnson somehow managed to sling the ball to RB Shawn Bryson. Bryson raced down the field nearly 30 yards before Brooks ran him down to tackle him out of bounds. It was that one signature play that knocked Johnson out of the game, inspired the Bucs and deflated any hopes of a Bills comeback victory.
"I just felt I'm going to speak with my performance," Brooks said. "That's the only words I know how to say, just go out there and let my teammates see me laying it on the line every down."
Brooks, whose 22-tackle performance surpassed his career high (20 vs. Carolina, 10/18/98), also added a first quarter sack and a forced fumble. He can now boast a team-leading 148 tackles (110 solo) and now owns two of the top five tackle games in team history. Brooks, who became the first Buccaneer to record more than 180 tackles in three consecutive seasons, is on pace to rack up 197 tackles this season.
MOST TACKLES IN A SINGLE GAME
|22||Derrick Brooks||vs. Buffalo (11/26/00)|
|22||Hardy Nickerson||at Chicago (11/23/97)|
|21||Broderick Thomas||vs. Philadelphia (10/6/91)|
|20||Derrick Brooks||vs. Carolina (10/18/98)|
|20||Hardy Nickerson||vs. Minnesota (10/26/97)|
With 12 games in the books for the 2000 season, several club records are in danger of falling, or have already fallen, this season. Here is a look (team record or previous team record in parentheses):
Points Scored: 293 (335 in 1984) Scoring Margin: +96 (+47 in 1981) *Team Sacks: 49 (44 in 1997) Defensive TDs: 3 (5 in 1981) *Return TDs: 5 (5 in 1981) *Blocked Kicks: 6 (5 in 1978) *Individual Sacks: Sapp - 13.5 (Lee Roy Selmon - 13 in 1977) Individual Scoring: Gramatica - 93 pts. (Gramatica - 106 in 1999) Field Goals Made: Gramatica - 20 (Gramatica - 27 in 1999) *Field Goals (50+ yards): Gramatica - 5 (Several - Last time, Gramatica - 3 in 1999) PATs Made: Gramatica - 33 (Obed Ariri - 38 in 1984) TD Passes: King - 15 (Trent Dilfer - 21 in 1997 and 1998) *QB Rushing TDs: King - 5 (Steve Young 5 in 1986) Interceptions: Abraham - 6 (Cedric Brown - 9 in 1981)
- Have already broken or tied record
Quarterbacks Second-year pro Shaun King is in his first full season as the starter after starting seven games last season, including two playoff contests. He is 11-6 as a starter in the regular season. Under a new offensive scheme, King has completed 174-of-318 passes (54.7%) for 2,064 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. King has 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 also have Georgia Tech All-America QB Joe Hamilton.
Running Backs With Pro Bowl FB Mike Alstott likely sidelined for the rest of the regular season, RB Warrick Dunn will continue to see his workload increase. Dunn, who leads the Bucs with 679 yards, moved into second place on the club's all-time rushing chart with his first 100-yard game since 1998 last week against Buffalo. Dunn tallied 106 yards on 20 carries, including a career-best two touchdowns. Tampa Bay is 6-2 this season when Dunn rushes for 50 or more yards. Alstott, who ranks second on the squad with 456 yards, is sidelined with a third degree sprain of the MCL in his left knee, an injury he sustained at Chicago two weeks ago. FB Charles Kirby has seen time in the backfield and should see his playing time increase with Alstott's injury. NFL Europe Offensive MVP Aaron Stecker has been Dunn's primary backup, while also serving as Tampa Bay's primary kickoff returner. RB Rabih Abdullah, serves as a backup at RB and ranks tied for second on the squad with 15 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 has not disappointed. Johnson has caught a team-best 50 passes with five touchdowns, also tops on the team. Johnson notched his first 100-yard receiving game as a Buccaneer against Minnesota and then followed that up by tying his career-high with two TDs at Atlanta. Jacquez Green, who hauled in his 100th career reception at Atlanta, has emerged as Tampa Bay's big-play receiver and ranks first on the club with 653 yards receiving on 41 catches. Green set a career-high with 11 catches (for 131 yards) at Minnesota. Reidel Anthony is second on the team with four TD receptions on only 11 catches (a TD for every 2.75 catches). Karl Williams (99 career catches) and rookie Frank Murphy round out the receiving corps.
Tight Ends In his eighth season with the club, Dave Moore is the starter at tight end. Sunday's game against Dallas will mark his 100th straight game. His 20 career TD catches rank fifth on the Bucs' all-time list and he has come on strong with 21 catches and two TDs over the last eight games. Patrick Hape is in his fourth season with the club as a backup TE and also sees action in the backfield. The Bucs also have rookie free agent Todd Yoder.
Offensive Line The Bucs have a new left side of the line in T Pete Pierson and 11-time Pro Bowler Randall McDaniel, who spent his previous 12 seasons with Minnesota, at LG. Fellow Viking Jeff Christy, a two-time Pro Bowler, is the new C. The right side remains intact with Frank Middleton at RG and Jerry Wunsch at RT. DeMarcus Curry also returns as a backup tackle on the right side. T George Hegamin has alternated with Pierson on the left side. Todd Washington backs up Christy. Kevin Dogins and second-round pick Cosey Coleman are reserve guards. Last month against Minnesota, the line paved the way for 413 yards in total offense, including 152 rushing, and gave up just one sack. The Bucs have allowed just 25 sacks after allowing 34 in the first 12 games last season. Tampa Bay has allowed two or fewer sacks in nine of its 12 games.
Defensive Line The defensive line is anchored by DT Warren Sapp, who earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press last year. Sapp, who is tied for second in the NFL with 13.5 sacks this season, surpassed Lee Roy Selmon's team record of 13 sacks in 1977 with two sacks last week against Buffalo. His 55.5 career sacks ranks second in team history. DE Chidi Ahanotu has notched 43 tackles and 2.5 sacks thus far, while DE Steve White has 30 tackles and two sacks on the year. DE Marcus Jones, who ranks second on the squad with 12 sacks this year (fourth in the NFC), established a club record with four sacks versus Detroit in Week 7. Jones ranks ninth in club history with 20 career sacks. DT Anthony McFarland, who replaced Brad Culpepper, starts alongside Sapp and has totaled 6.5 sacks. DT James Cannida, DE/DT Tyoka Jackson and DE John McLaughlin all provide solid depth.
Linebackers Weakside LB Derrick Brooks has paced the club with 148 tackles, leading or tying for the team lead in eight of the first 12 contests. The three-time Pro Bowler tied the team single-game record and set a career high with 22 tackles last week against Buffalo. He earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after a 16-tackle performance at New England in Week One and scored his first career touchdown on a 34-yard interception return for a score against Minnesota. Starting SLB Shelton Quarles has 49 tackles and third-year pro Jamie Duncan (fifth on team with 69 tackles) has moved into the starting MLB slot, vacated by Hardy Nickerson. Third-round pick Nate Webster, who has 20 tackles, backs up Duncan. Tampa Bay also has 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. Special teams standout Jeff Gooch, who leads the team with 17 special teams stops, also serves in a backup capacity, as does Don Davis (tied for second on team with 15 special teams tackles).
Secondary All-Pro SS John Lynch, in his fifth year as a starter, ranks second on the squad with 83 tackles on the year. Lynch, who missed virtually all of practice last week with a dislocated left shoulder, still managed to play against Buffalo and notched eight tackles. FS Damien Robinson, who can also play strong safety, has notched 71 tackles, third-best on the squad, and his four interceptions are second-best on the defense and tied for seventh in the NFC. LCB Donnie Abraham ranks tied for third in the NFL with a team-high six interceptions, including three in the last five games. Abraham also returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown at Minnesota and his 55 tackles is sixth-best on the squad. RCB Ronde Barber has made several big plays, including a fumble return for a score against Chicago and an interception return for a TD versus the Jets. Barber has added 5.5 quarterback sacks (best among NFL defensive backs). He has also notched 70 tackles, fourth-best on the squad. Brian Kelly (44 stops) joins the unit in the nickel set. CB Floyd Young backs up Abraham. Second-year S Dexter Jackson missed the first three games of the season with a left ankle sprain, but has registered 23 tackles and his 15 special teams tackles is tied for second-best on the team. He saw significant action at free safety at Chicago, posting a career-high seven tackles. Sixth-round draft pick David Gibson serves as a backup at safety.
Special Teams K Martin Gramatica, who set club records for single-season points (106) and FGs (27) a year ago, has made all 33 of his PATs and is 20-24 on field goals in 2000. He has nailed 14 straight field goals (two shy of the club record), including three from 50 or more yards in the last four games. He also booted a career-long 55-yarder (tops in the NFL this season) against Detroit and his five field goals of 50-plus yards this year are the best in a single season in club history. His 93 points ranks tied for fourth in the NFC. P Mark Royals has averaged 43.0 yards per punt this year to rank sixth-best in the NFC. WR Williams, who is fourth in the NFC with a 11.0 return average, took back a punt 73 yards for a touchdown last week against Buffalo. RB Stecker (22.9 avg.) and Williams (26.3 avg.) are the Bucs' top kickoff returners.
FB Mike Alstott remains sidelined with a third degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. CB Brian Kelly (right hamstring strain), QB Shaun King (lower back strain), G Frank Middleton (right rib contusion) and RB Aaron Stecker (right knee sprain) all suffered injuries last week against Buffalo, but their status will be determined later in the week.
Tampa Bay head coach Tony Dungy is in his fifth season with the Bucs, boasting a franchise-best 42-34 regular-season mark (2-2 postseason). Last year the Bucs captured their first NFC Central Division title in 18 years with a franchise-best 11-5 mark. Tampa Bay won eight of its last nine games to secure the crown, aided by a club-record 7-1 home mark. The Bucs also advanced to their second-ever NFC Championship Game. Prior to an 8-8 campaign in 1998, Dungy guided Tampa Bay to a 10-6 record in 1997 and first playoff win since 1979. For his efforts, he was named Professional Coach of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club. Dungy also won the Horrigan Award, given annually by the Pro Football Writers' Association to the NFL's most cooperative head coach. Dungy arrived in Tampa following 15 years as an NFL assistant, the last four as defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. He was the Chiefs' DBs coach from 1989-91 and spent the previous eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the last five as defensive coordinator. Dungy played two seasons for the Steelers as a DB before concluding his playing career with the San Francisco 49ers. He paced Pittsburgh with six interceptions in 1978 as the Steelers captured Super Bowl XIII, a 35-31 win over Dallas. Dungy, 45, is a 1976 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he played QB and earned a degree in business administration.
Dave Campo was named the fifth coach in Cowboys history on January 26, 2000 after serving on the Dallas staff as an assistant since 1989. Campo, who spent the previous five seasons as defensive coordinator, began his tenure with the team as a defensive assistant (1989-90) and also served as secondary coach (1991-94). Campo began his coaching career as linebackers coach at his alma mater, Central Connecticut State, in 1971 and 1972. His last college job prior to joining the Dallas staff was as secondary coach at the University of Miami in 1987-88.
SACK RECORD FALLS: The Tampa Bay defense, which ranks second in the NFL with 49 sacks, set a new club record for sacks in a season with six last week against Buffalo. Tampa Bay's 49 sacks surpass the previous mark of 44 sacks in 1997. The Bucs set the record in the first quarter when LB Derrick Brooks sacked Buffalo QB Rob Johnson for the team's 45th sack of the season.
SAPP BREAKS SACK RECORD: DT Warren Sapp made history in the second quarter last Sunday by breaking the team's single-season mark for individual sacks with his second of the day. The sacks gave Sapp 13.5 on the year, eclipsing the record of 13 sacks by Lee Roy Selmon set in 1977. Sapp has had at least one sack in nine of Tampa Bay's 12 games this season. He ranks second all-time in franchise history with 55.5 career sacks. Selmon holds the club record with 78.5 sacks.
THE TRUTH FINDS PAYDIRT: WR Karl Williams made a game-breaking play with less than six minutes remaining last week when he returned a Buffalo punt 73 yards for a touchdown. Williams, who has now returned three punts for scores in his career, became the first Buccaneer to return a punt for a score since Ronde Barber returned a deflected punt 23 yards for a touchdown at Chicago (11/29/98). Prior to that, the last player to return a punt for a touchdown was Jacquez Green, who took a punt back 95 yards for a score at Green Bay (9/13/98). Williams now owns three of the top five punt returns in club history. Williams' score also gave the Bucs their fifth return touchdown of the season (two interception returns, one fumble return, one return of blocked FG and one punt return), tying the single-season team record for return TDs (5 in 1981).
LYNCH MOB: The Buccaneers figured there was no way John Lynch (dislocated left shoulder) would be able to play last Sunday against Buffalo. The Pro Bowl safety missed the majority of practice last week, with his only action on the scout team on Friday. Lynch not only played, but started against Buffalo and registered three tackles. He combined with DT James Cannida to stop RB Antowain Smith for a two-yard loss in the third quarter. Lynch, who leads the secondary with 78 tackles, has now started in 59 of his last 60 games over the last three seasons.
"He lifted my spirits to know he's out there playing with one shoulder and laying it out on the line," Bucs LB Derrick Brooks said. "He realized how much this game meant to the team."
MOORE TO PLAY IN 100TH STRAIGHT GAME: TE Dave Moore, the longest tenured member of the Buccaneers, will play in his 100th consecutive game this Sunday against Dallas. Moore, who signed as a free agent in 1992, has 139 career catches for 1,431 receiving yards and 20 TDs. His 20 scoring receptions ranks fifth on the Bucs' all-time TD receiving list.
HOME SWEET HOME: Raymond James Stadium has not been friendly to Bucs opponents since it opened its doors in 1998. Tampa Bay is 17-5 at home in the regular season at RJS, including a 10-2 mark versus the NFC Central. That 10-2 mark includes wins in eight of its last nine divisional games at home.
NOTES FROM THE BUFFALO GAME: K Martin Gramatica made his 14th straight FG with a 45-yarder in the first quarter…The club record is 16 consecutive FGs made by Michael Husted (1995-96)…G Randall McDaniel, who ranks second among active players with 182 consecutive starts, started his 200th career game…The 200 career starts ranks fourth among all active offensive linemen...DE Chidi Ahanotu recorded his 100th career start …WR Reidel Anthony made his first start of the season (and 34th of his career) when the Bucs opened with three WRs…The Bills sacked QB Shaun King seven times, the most allowed by the Bucs this season…WR Keyshawn Johnson kept alive his streak of at least one catch in every game of his NFL career with a second quarter grab…With its two second half fumble recoveries, the Bucs defense forced at least one turnover for the fifth straight game and the 11th time in 12 games this season (all but Detroit game on October 19)...Under Coach Dungy, Tampa Bay is now 31-3 when it leads after three quarters...Since the opening of Raymond James Stadium in 1998, Tampa Bay has posted a 17-5 at home in the regular season…With the win, the Bucs are now 4-2 against the AFC at RJS…Prior to the game, the Florida Sports Awards presented Bucs DT Warren Sapp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jasper Most Valuable Player Award.
YOU SAY RED, I SAY GREEN: The Buccaneers are 31-33 inside the Red Zone under new offensive coordinator Les Steckel (who calls it the Green Zone). this season, including 21 touchdowns for a scoring percentage of 93.9% and a touchdown rate of 63.6% (first in the NFL).
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%). In fact, Tampa Bay's 21 touchdowns already surpass last year's total for touchdowns inside the 20 for the entire season. Inside the Red (Green) Zone
KING OF THE HILL: QB Shaun King continued to find his way into the end zone via the ground. King, who rushed for a career-high 72 yards with one touchdown last week at Chicago, gained just eight yards on the ground today, but that included a two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. With the score, King tied the club record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single-season with his fifth of the year (tying Steve Young, who rushed for five TDs in 1986).
JUST ONE OF THE JONES': DE Marcus Jones has blossomed in his fifth NFL campaign, establishing himself as a breakthrough star on the Buccaneers' potent defensive line. In his first year as a full-time starter, Jones has established career-highs in sacks (12) and tackles (38), and is currently on pace to amass 16 sacks. His sack total places him fourth in the NFC and second on the Buccaneers behind DT Warren Sapp (13.5). Jones also added a blocked field goal against Detroit early in the season.
For his efforts, Jones signed a seven-year contract extension on November 15, though he could have became an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The success story is all the more sweeter considering Jones had just 32 tackles and one sack in his first three NFL seasons as a defensive tackle. Since then, Jones switched to defensive end and has racked up 20 sacks and 74 tackles over the past two seasons. His 20 career sacks ranks ninth on the team's all-time sacks list.
HAPPY 200TH: Tampa Bay G Randall McDaniel reached a significant milestone against Green Bay when he lined up for his 200th career game, including his 180th consecutive start. Last Sunday against Buffalo McDaniel started the 200th game in his 13-year career, ranking fourth among all active NFL offensive linemen. His 182 consecutive starts ranks second only to Tennessee's Bruce Matthews (209) among active NFL players.
BUCS DIARIES: Now in its second season, Verizon Wireless Bucs Diaries takes a closer look at the Bucs. The show, airing on Sunshine Network, offers exclusive interviews, innovative features and behind-the-scenes access to players and team personnel. Hosted by Paul Kennedy, the show airs every Monday at 7:30 p.m. during the season.