Tampa Bay Buccaneers

News & Notes, Week 15

The Bucs’ Week 15 contest at Miami will have serious playoff repercussions in both conferences…read up on the key factors in the game

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TE Dave Moore, who started his NFL career in Miami, played in his 100th consecutive game for the Buccaneers last Sunday

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. This week, the Bucs, having vaulted into a more secure playoff spot last weekend, travel to Miami to face a team that may have the inside track to homefield advantage in the AFC. The notes below set the table for that crucial matchup.

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS WEIGH HEAVILY AS TAMPA BAY (8-5) HEADS TO MIAMI (10-3)

GAME INFORMATION Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000 Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET Site: Pro Player Stadium Records: Tampa Bay 8-5, Miami 10-3 Television: Fox Play-By-Play: Dick Stockton, Color: Matt Millen, Sideline: Pam Oliver National Radio: Westwood One Sports Play-by-Play: Harry Kalas, Color: Rick Walker 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 Win Fourth Straight at Home with 27-7 Win Over Dallas

Tampa Bay set a club record with 250 yards rushing, including a career-high 210 by RB Warrick Dunn, on the way to a 27-7 victory over Dallas at Raymond James Stadium. Dunn's performance marked the second-best single-game effort in Bucs history and he surpassed the 100-yard mark for the second straight week. Dallas fumbled the opening kickoff and Tampa Bay converted with a 28-yard FG by K Martin Gramatica. Following a Dallas punt, Dunn erupted for a 70-yard touchdown run, the second-longest score on the ground in team history, on Tampa Bay's first play. CB Brian Kelly extended the lead to 17-0 when he picked off a Troy Aikman pass and returned it nine yards for his first career touchdown. Gramatica added a 25-yard FG for a 20-0 halftime edge, tying the franchise record for consecutive field goals made with his 16th straight. Dallas cut the lead to 20-7 on a four-yard run by QB Emmitt Smith, but Dunn put the game away with a four-run with less than eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Bucs defense tied a season-high with four turnovers, leading to 17 points, and added two quarterback sacks. Dallas penetrated the Tampa Bay 20-yard line three times, but came away with just seven points. DE Marcus Jones notched his 13th sack of the year, tying Lee Roy Selmon for the second-best single-season sack total in club history.

DID YOU KNOW? For the first time in team history three different players have scored at least five rushing touchdowns in the same season (Alstott, Dunn, King).

BUCS IN THE RANKINGS

Team StatisticNFC RankingNFL Ranking
Total Offense (285.4 ypg)13th23rd
Rushing Offense (130.3 ypg) 3rd8th
Passing Offense (155.1 ypg) 15th27th
Total Defense (295.3 ypg)5th9th
Rushing Defense (103.0 ypg)5th11th
Passing Defense (192.3 ypg)5th10th
Points Scored (320)4th7th
Turnover Margin (+8)2ndt7th
Third Downs (34.4%)12th26th
Third Down Defense (31.7%)2nd2nd
Red Zone Scoring Pct. (94.4%)1st1st
Red Zone TD Pct. (61.1%)3rd3rd
Opponent Red Zone TD Pct. (34.3%)4th5th
First Downs (218)12th----
Opponent First Downs (226)3rd----
Individual StatisticNFC RankingNFL Ranking
Kicking - Gramatica (102 points)3rd4th
Rushing – Dunn (889 yards)9th----
Passing - King (77.0 rating)9th----
Punting - Royals (42.8 avg.)5th----
Punt Returns - Williams (10.7 avg.)4th----
Interceptions - Abraham (6)t3rdt4th
Interceptions - Robinson (4)t9th----
Sacks – Sapp (13.5)3rd4th
Sacks – Jones (13.0)4tht5th

BUCCANEERS-DOLPHINS SERIES NOTES

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Though close neighbors and frequent preseason opponents, the Buccaneers and Dolphins have only met six times in the regular season. Miami leads the series 4-2, but Tampa Bay claimed the last meeting with a 31-21 victory in 1997 in Tampa. Four of the six contests have been decided by six points or less. The first meeting was on October 24, 1976 in Tampa, with the Dolphins prevailing for a 23-20 victory. Tampa Bay's first win in the series was a 23-17 victory in 1982 in Tampa, but Miami followed with a three-game winning streak (1985, 1988, 1991). The Bucs are 14-21 all-time against the AFC East, including 2-1 this season. The two clubs have met 15 times in the preseason, tied with Atlanta for the most meetings for a Tampa Bay opponent in the preseason. Miami leads the preseason series 11-4, including a 15-13 victory on August 21 in Miami. The two teams also ventured to Orlando this past July for four joint practices on July 28-29.

  • Bucs' home record: 2-2 * Dolphins' home record: 2-0

LAST MEETING - Tampa Bay 31, Miami 21 (9/21/97): The Bucs continued their offensive surge with a 357-yard outing at home against the Dolphins during a nationally-televised Sunday night outing, moving to 4-0 with the victory. RB Warrick Dunn followed his two 100-yard rushing games with a 100-yard receiving game (6-106), while FB Mike Alstott took over the rushing load with 95 yards on 18 carries. QB Trent Dilfer hit Alstott on a three-yard scoring pass for a 7-0 lead. On the last play of the quarter, Tampa Bay took off on a longer drive that included a 23-yard reception by Dunn and a one-yard TD reception by Alstott. The score was set up by a 13-yard reception by Williams on third-and-seven that put the Bucs at the one-yard line. Miami used the remainder of the second quarter's clock for an extended drive, covering 85 yards in seven minutes as Marino hit WR O.J. McDuffie on four passes for 37 yards, including a 10-yard scoring pass. Tampa Bay recaptured control of the game in the third quarter by scoring the next 10 points, including an opening-drive 70-yard march for a field goal. The biggest play of the drive was a 41-yard pass interference call by CB Terrell Buckley drawn by WR Horace Copeland, leading to a 22-yard chip shot by PK Michael Husted. On the ensuing kickoff, RB Irving Spikes fumbled the kick, then picked up the ball and raced all the way to the Dolphins' 43. That return led to a 47-yard field goal try by PK Olindo Mare, but DT Jason Maniecki got a piece of the kick, preserving the Bucs' 17-7 lead. Four plays later, Dilfer hooked up with WR Reidel Anthony on a 38-yard pass that resulted in the rookie receivers' first career touchdown and a 24-7 lead. The Dolphins, though, had awoken on offense and a 71-yard touchdown march followed. Miami appeared to be in position to regain control of the ball a few minutes later when it forced Tampa Bay into a desperate third-and-29. Dunn solved that quandary by taking a short screen pass and weaving 58 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins added another touchdown on an 80-yard march, but Alstott then ran four straight times for 22 yards to kill the clock. Remarkably, the Bucs did not punt once during the game and Dilfer turned in his first career four-touchdown performance while not being sacked once.

SERIES HIGHLIGHTS: Perhaps the closest Tampa Bay got to victory in a winless inaugural season of 1976 was on October 24, 1976…Miami sneaked out of then-Tampa Stadium with a 23-20 win that day, but not without needing a 29-yard field goal by Garo Yepremian in the game's last minute…Buccaneer QB Steve Spurrier did not start, but came on to pass for 143 yards and two TDs…WR Morris Owens scored three receiving TDs, a then-Buc record…TE Jimmie Giles hauled in a club-record four Steve DeBerg passes in the end zone against the Dolphins (10/20/85)...Miami overcame Giles' efforts to win 41-38, however, despite a 17-point comeback by the Bucs in the fourth period…The Bucs' first Monday Night Football victory (11/29/82) came at Miami's expense in a 23-17 affair…The Bucs ran the ball 38 times for 154 yards and two TDs in that contest and managed to pick off five passes, four thrown by Don Strock...QB Dan Marino hit WR Mark Clayton for two third quarter touchdowns en route to a 17-14 win at Tampa (10/30/88)...The Buccaneers had five turnovers, leading to 17 points for the Dolphins, and WR Mark Carrier caught a career-high nine receptions for 142 yards in a losing effort...QB Trent Dilfer tossed a career-high four touchdown passes in a 31-21 win over Miami in a nationally-televised Sunday night prime time affair (9/21/97)...FB Mike Alstott, who rushed for 95 yards on 18 carries, also hauled in two short scoring receptions, while Warrick Dunn added six receptions for 106 yards to pace the Buccaneers.

CAREER STATISTICS VERSUS MIAMI:

WR Reidel Anthony - 2 catches, 50 yards in one game LB Derrick Brooks - 10 tackles in one game RB Warrick Dunn - 6 catches, 106 yards, 1 TD in one game WR Keyshawn Johnson - 41 catches, 508 yards, 6 TDs in eight games

FLORIDA FLAVOR:

The matchup between the two Sunshine State rivals has a bit of a Florida twist. Twelve players roaming Pro Player Stadium on Sunday hail from Florida universities. Dolphins LB Twan Russell, Bucs DT Warren Sapp and Bucs LB Nate Webster played at the University of Miami. A trio of Bucs - LB Derrick Brooks, RB Warrick Dunn and S Dexter Jackson - starred at Florida State, while Miami DE Trace Armstrong, and Bucs WRs Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green played at the University of Florida.

FAMILIAR FACES:

Bucs owner/president Malcolm Glazer resides in Palm Beach…Miami RB Coach Joel Collier was an offensive assistant for Tampa Bay in 1990...Dolphins WR Bert Emanuel played for the Bucs in 1998 and 1999...Bucs RB coach Tony Nathan played for the Dolphins from 1979-87 and also served on the Miami coaching staff…Nathan was a Dolphins coaches' assistant from 1988-92 and then was promoted to Miami's offensive backs coach from 1993-95...DT Warren Sapp played at the University of Miami from 1992-94, as did Bucs LB Nate Webster (1997-99)...Dolphins QB coach Mike Shula had two stints on Tampa Bay's coaching staff...Shula was offensive assistant (1988-89) and quarterbacks coach (1990) before serving as offensive coordinator from 1996-99...The Buccaneers also selected Shula in the 12th round of the 1987 Draft…Bucs WR coach Charlie Williams was a wide receivers coach at the University of Miami from 1993-95…Dolphins RB Autry Denson was selected in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers…Bucs CB Ronde Barber played together with Miami G Mark Dixon at Virginia…Bucs T Pete Pierson played collegiately with Miami QB Damon Huard at Washington…Bucs DT Anthony McFarland played at LSU with Dolphins DE Kenny Mixon...Miami WR Leslie Shepherd signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 1992, but was cut at the end of the preseason...Dolphins CB Jerry Wilson was a fourth-round pick of Tampa Bay in 1995…Dolphins assistant strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll was the Bucs strength and conditioning coach from 1993-95…Dolphins Assistant Director of Pro Personnel Tom Heckert spent parts of seven seasons as a college scout with the Buccaneers.

RUSHING TO VICTORY

The Tampa Bay rushing attack set a club record with 250 yards on the ground against Dallas, breaking the previous mark of 246 yards vs. Minnesota (11/1/98). The Bucs are 8-3 this season when they rush for 100 or more yards, which they have done in each of the last seven contests. Over those seven games, Tampa Bay has averaged 146.3 yards rushing per game (1,024 yards). In the first six games of the year, the Bucs averaged just yards per game (670 yards). Tampa Bay's offensive line has played a big part in that success, improving upon last season's numbers despite having three new starters. The Bucs have allowed just 27 sacks in 2000 after allowing 37 in the first 13 games last season. Tampa Bay has allowed two or fewer sacks in 10 of its 13 games.

WELL DUNN

RB Warrick Dunn, who has done an outstanding job carrying the load with FB Mike Alstott sidelined, toppled the 100-yard rushing mark for the second straight week with a career-high 210 yards on 22 carries and two TDs against Dallas. The 210 yards - the second-best single-game effort in Bucs history - surpassed his previous career-best of 130 yards rushing at Detroit (9/7/97) and the two touchdowns rushing ties his career-high that he set the previous week versus Buffalo. Dunn's performance marked the first back-to-back 100-yard games on the ground for a Buccaneer since Dunn accomplished the feat in Weeks Two (130 at Detroit) and Three (101 at Minnesota) in 1997. For his career, Dunn owns nine 100-yard games, the second-best total in franchise history. Dunn's 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter marked the fourth-longest run in team history, including the second-longest touchdown run. The play was also the longest touchdown run of Dunn's career.

Bucs Top Individual Rushing Performances

YardsPlayerOpponent (Date)
219James Wilderat Minnesota (11/6/83)
210Warrick Dunnvs. Dallas (12/3/00)
192Errict Rhettvs. Washington (12/4/94)
172James Wildervs. Green Bay (9/30/84)
167Ricky Bellvs. Green Bay (10/21/79)

Dunn has also posted the best three-game output of his four-year career, totaling 391 rushing yards on 59 carries (6.6 avg.). He has averaged 19.6 carries over the last three games, compared to just 11.5 carries per game in his first 10 contests. Dunn also has four rushing touchdowns in the last two games.

Overall Dunn is ninth in the NFC in rushing with 889 yards on 183 carries (4.9 avg.) His 4.9 average yard per carry trails only Vikings RB Robert Smith (5.5 avg.) among the NFC's top 10 rushers. Dunn's 4.9 average is also on pace to eclipse the club record of 4.6 yards per carry by James Wilder in 1987. Dunn is on pace to rush for a career-high 1,094 rushing yards, which would better his previous career-best of 1,026 rushing yards in 1998.

Running the ball effectively has been the cornerstone for the Buccaneers, who have recorded a 5-1 record over their last six games. Tampa Bay has registered 915 rushing yards on 185 carries (4.9 avg.), improving its totals from the first seven contests, in which it averaged just 3.7 yards a carry.

RECORD BREAKERS

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):

Team Records Points Scored: 320 (335 in 1984) Scoring Margin: +116 (+47 in 1981) Touchdowns: 36 (40 in 1984) Rushing Touchdowns: 15 (19 in 1995) Rushing First Downs: 108 (114 in 1984) Avg. Per Rush: 4.3 (4.11 in 1998) *Team Sacks: 51 (44 in 1997) Defensive TDs: 4 (5 in 1981) *Return TDs: 6 (5 in 1981) *Blocked Kicks: 6 (5 in 1978)

Individual Records *Sacks: Sapp - 13.5 and Jones - 13.0 (Lee Roy Selmon - 13 in 1977) Scoring: Gramatica - 102 pts. (Gramatica - 106 in 1999) Field Goals Made: Gramatica - 22 (Gramatica - 27 in 1999) *Field Goals (50+ yards): Gramatica - 5 (Several - Last time, Gramatica - 3 in 1999) Field Goal Percentage: Gramatica - 84.6% (Steve Christie - 85.2% in 1990) *Consecutive FGs: Gramatica - 16 (Michael Husted - 16, 1995-96) PATs Made: Gramatica - 36 (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) Best Avg. Per Rush: Dunn - 4.9 (James Wilder - 4.6 in 1987) Interceptions: Abraham - 6 (Cedric Brown - 9 in 1981) Tackles: Brooks - 158 ( Hardy Nickerson - 214 in 1993) Forced Fumbles: Brooks - 5 (B. Thomas - 7 in 1991, Chambers - 7 in 1979) Gross Punting Average: Royals - 42.8 (Royals - 43.1 in 1999)

  • Have already tied or broken record

POSITION BREAKDOWN

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 12-6 as a starter in the regular season. Under a new offensive scheme, King has completed 183-of-333 passes (55.0%) for 2,129 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 at least two more weeks, RB Warrick Dunn will continue to see his workload increase. Dunn, who leads the Bucs with 889 yards, exploded for a career-high 210 yards last week against Dallas, the second-best single-game effort in club history. That performance followed a 106-yard game against Buffalo, the first back-to-back 100-yard games for a Buccaneer since 1997. Tampa Bay is 7-2 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 has seen 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 18 special teams tackles. Abdullah rushed for a career-high 38 yards on 10 carries last week against Dallas.

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 54 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 668 yards receiving on 43 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 and the veteran played in his 100th straight game versus Dallas. 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 nine 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 week against Dallas, the line paved the way for a club-record 250 yards rushing, including 210 yards by RB Warrick Dunn. The Bucs have allowed just 27 sacks after allowing 37 in the first 13 games last season. Tampa Bay has allowed two or fewer sacks in 10 of its 13 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 fourth in the NFL with 13.5 sacks this season, surpassed Lee Roy Selmon's team record of 13 sacks in 1977 with two sacks against Buffalo. His 55.5 career sacks ranks second in team history. DE Chidi Ahanotu has notched 47 tackles and 3.5 sacks thus far, while DE Steve White has 32 tackles and two sacks on the year. DE Marcus Jones, who ranks 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. 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 158 tackles, leading or tying for the team lead in eight of the first 13 contests. The three-time Pro Bowler tied the team single-game record and set a career high with 22 tackles two weeks ago 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 57 tackles and third-year pro Jamie Duncan (fifth on team with 73 tackles) has moved into the starting MLB slot, vacated by Hardy Nickerson. Third-round pick Nate Webster, who has 24 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 20 special teams stops, also serves in a backup capacity, as does Don Davis (tied for second on team with 18 special teams tackles).

Secondary All-Pro SS John Lynch, in his fifth year as a starter, ranks second on the squad with 89 tackles on the year. Lynch, who has been bothered with a left shoulder sprain, still managed to play against Buffalo two weeks ago and notched eight tackles. FS Damien Robinson, who can also play strong safety, has notched 82 tackles, third-best on the squad, and his four interceptions are second-best on the defense and tied for ninth in the NFC. LCB Donnie Abraham ranks tied for fourth in the NFL with a team-high six interceptions. Abraham also returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown at Minnesota and his 56 tackles is eighth-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 80 tackles, fourth-best on the squad. Brian Kelly (45 stops), who notched his first career touchdown on an interception return last week against Dallas, 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 24 tackles and his 18 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 36 of his PATs and is 22-26 on field goals in 2000. He has nailed 16 straight field goals to tie the club record. 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 102 points ranks third in the NFC. P Mark Royals has averaged 42.8 yards per punt this year to rank fifth-best in the NFC. WR Williams, who is fourth in the NFC with a 10.7 return average, took back a punt 73 yards for a touchdown against Buffalo. RB Stecker (22.9 avg.) and Williams (26.3 avg.) are the Bucs' top kickoff returners.

INJURY UPDATE

FB Mike Alstott remains sidelined with a third degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. LB Al Singleton (sprained MCL in his left knee) left the Dallas game in the second quarter and is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season. CB Donnie Abraham (left shoulder contusion and a hip flexor) also left in the second quarter and did not return. His status for this week's game will be determined later in the week. QB Shaun King (right groin strain) suffered his injury during pre-game warmups.

HEAD COACHES

Tampa Bay head coach Tony Dungy is in his fifth season with the Bucs, boasting a franchise-best 43-34 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 Wannstedt is in his first season as head coach of the Dolphins, just the fourth head coach in club history. He is in his 25th season of coaching at major colleges and in the NFL. He has been on 16 winning teams, 10 bowl teams, four NFL playoff teams and one Super Bowl champion. Prior to being named head coach, Wannstedt served as the Dolphins' Assistant Head Coach under Johnson in 1999. Prior to that, he served the previous six years (1993-98) as head coach of the Chicago Bears after working as Johnson's defensive coordinator at Dallas from 1989-92. His coaching career began in 1975 as defensive line coach at the University of Pittsburgh under his college coach, Johnny Majors.

DUNGY CLOSING IN ON COACHING RECORD

In just his fifth season, Bucs head coach Tony Dungy's next victory will mark a major milestone in his coaching career. Dungy's next win - his 44th - will tie the record for most coaching wins in franchise history with the club's first head coach, John McKay (44-88-1 from 1976-84). Dungy has 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. In his four-plus seasons, Dungy has posted a franchise-best record of 43-34 (.558), with two postseason appearances and a pair of playoff wins. Tampa Bay is aiming to reach the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Here are a few things to keep an eye on this Sunday:

  • Tampa Bay's offense has allowed just 27 sacks (2.1 per game), while the Miami defense has registered 42 sacks (3.2 per game). On the other side, the Bucs have set a club record with 51 sacks (3.9 per game) and the Dolphins offense has given up only 21 sacks (1.6 per game).
  • Miami has rushed for 12 touchdowns, including 10 by RB Lamar Smith, while the Bucs defense has surrendered six rushing scores on the year. Tampa Bay's rushing defense is ranked 11th in the NFL (103.0 ypg), while the Dolphins rushing offense is also ranked 11th in the league (124.8 ypg).

BUC SHOTS

GRAMATICA AUTOMATICA: With two field goals Sunday, K Martin Gramatica tied the club record with 16 consecutive field goals made (also Michael Husted in 1995-96). Gramatica also continued his climb up the career and single-season charts for points scored. Gramatica scored nine points to give him 102 for the year, moving into second place on the club's single-season list (Gramatica holds the record with 106 points in 1999). He also passed Jimmie Giles (204 points from 1978-86) into fourth place on the all-time scoring chart with 208 career points.

MANY HAPPY RETURNS: The Bucs broke one team mark and moved closer to another when CB Brian Kelly returned an interception nine yards for a touchdown in the first quarter Sunday. The score marked Tampa Bay's sixth return touchdown of the year (three INTs, one fumble, one FG block, one punt), breaking the previous record of five return scores by the 1981 squad. The touchdown also gave the Bucs their fourth defensive touchdown on the season (three interceptions, one fumble), one shy of the team record of five in 1981.

A PAIR OF FIRSTS: Last Sunday's 27-7 win over Dallas marked a day of firsts for a pair of Buccaneer players: Second-year FB Charles Kirby made his first career start, paving the way for the Bucs to set an all-time record with 250 rushing yards on 36 carries (6.9 avg.). RB Warrick Dunn posted a career-high 210 yards on 22 carries (9.5 avg.). Kirby, who was signed to the Bucs' active roster from the practice squad on October 5, has played in the last four contests. Kirby was joined last Sunday by WR Frank Murphy, who made his NFL debut against the Cowboys. Murphy, who was signed to the active roster on November 22, returned two kickoffs for 24 yards.

FORCING THE ISSUE: Tampa Bay's defense continued to provide points by forcing turnovers as the Bucs scored 17 points off four Dallas turnovers Sunday. For the year, the Bucs have 29 takeaways (16 interceptions, 13 fumbles), leading to 103 points. The 103 points ranks first in the NFC and trails only Denver (113 points) for the NFL lead. In Tampa Bay's previous two games (at Chicago, vs. Buffalo), the Bucs caused three total turnovers, but failed to score any points following those opponent miscues.

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 (13) and tackles (39), 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' 13 sacks ties for second place on the club's single-season list with DE Lee Roy Selmon (13 in 1977). 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 become 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 75 tackles over the past two seasons. His 21 career sacks ranks ninth on the team's all-time sacks list.

CORNER BLITZ: Tampa Bay received stellar play from its cornerbacks in the 27-7 win over Dallas, limiting the Cowboys to just 153 net yards passing. CB Brian Kelly, who sees significant action in the nickel package, filled in nicely for the injured Donnie Abraham at left cornerback in the second half, posting two passes defensed, one tackle and a crucial fumble recovery that ended a Cowboys scoring drive early in the fourth quarter. Kelly also grabbed his first interception of the season - which he returned nine yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter - that propelled the Bucs to a 17-0 margin. That interception marked Kelly's third career interception and his first career for a touchdown. Kelly can now boast a career-high 45 tackles and is currently third on the team with 12 passes defensed. CB Ronde Barber continued his aggressive play, tying his career-high in tackles (10) and passes defensed (5). A fourth-year pro out of Virginia, Barber has recorded a career-high 80 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He is also second on the club with 14 passes defensed.

NOTES FROM THE DALLAS GAME: With his interception return for a touchdown, CB Brian Kelly scored for the first time in his career… The Tampa Bay defense tied a season-high with four turnovers (also first Chicago game and at Atlanta)… The Bucs forced at least one turnover for the sixth straight game and the 12th time in 13 games this season (all but Detroit game on October 19)… Tampa Bay's 17 points in the first quarter was just three shy of the club record for most points in the opening 15 minutes of a game (20 vs. Chicago, 10/25/87)… TE Dave Moore saw action in his 100th consecutive game and made a key block on RB Warrick Dunn's 70-yard TD run… WR Keyshawn Johnson kept alive his streak of at least one catch in every game of his NFL career with a second quarter grab… FB Charles Kirby made his first career start… Since the opening of Raymond James Stadium in 1998, Tampa Bay has posted a 18-5 record at home in the regular season… With the win, Tampa Bay beat Dallas for the first time in nine tries (seven regular season, two playoffs).

YOU SAY RED, I SAY GREEN: The Buccaneers are 34-36 inside the Red Zone under new offensive coordinator Les Steckel (who calls it the Green Zone) this season, including 22 touchdowns for a scoring percentage of 94.4% and a touchdown rate of 61.1% (third 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%).

QUOTE BOARD

Head Coach Tony Dungy on Warrick Dunn: "He is unique at his size. He is fast, quick and a great rusher. He runs strong for his size. It takes a lot to get a shot on him and we are lucky to have him."

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