WR Keyshawn Johnson's eight touchdown catches fell just one short of the team record
It was a season of streaks – three runs of three or more wins plus one challenging four-game skid – but there can be no ups and downs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now that the playoffs have arrived. Any potential losing streak will end at one game.
On the other hand, another four-game run would make the Bucs Super Bowl Champions for the first time in franchise history. Step number one in that rather lofty goal is a Wild Card game at Philadelphia late Sunday afternoon.
The postseason, obviously, brings a whole new lists of challenges, not to mention stats, notes and trends. The Bucs finished up one of their most successful regular seasons ever in Green Bay, putting the final touches on a host of team records, particularly on offense. The highest-scoring team in franchise history also heads into the playoffs with more sacks in one season than ever before.
Complete coverage of what the Bucs accomplished in 2000 and what still lies ahead is provided in the release below. In preparation for the game, as usual, the Buccaneers' communications department has prepared its weekly release for distribution to local and national members of the media. The document previews the upcoming game and keeps an eye on team notes, stats and trends.
TAMPA BAY (10-6) TRAVELS TO PHILADELPHIA (11-5) FOR NFC WILD CARD GAME
GAME INFORMATION Date: Sunday, December 31, 2000 Kickoff: 4:15 p.m. ET Site: Veterans Stadium Records: Tampa Bay 10-6, Philadelphia 11-5 Television: FOX; Play-By-Play: Pat Summerall, Color: John Madden, Sideline: D.J. Johnson National Radio: CBS Radio Sports; Play-By-Play: Joel Meyers, Color: Matt Millen, Boomer Esiason, Sideline: John Dockery 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 Close Regular Season With 17-14 Overtime Loss at Green Bay
Ryan Longwell nailed a 22-yard field goal midway through overtime as Green Bay kept Tampa Bay winless in cold weather (0-19 when the temperature is below 40 degrees) with a 17-14 overtime victory at Lambeau Field. The Bucs had rallied to tie the game with 11 fourth-quarter points but K Martin Gramatica missed a go-ahead 40-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds remaining in regulation. Green Bay jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a touchdown run by Ahman Green in the first quarter. That lead lasted until the third quarter, when Green found the end zone again for a 14-0 edge. Gramatica got Tampa Bay on the board with a 38-yarder late in the period following a fumble recovery by S Damien Robinson. The Bucs would slice into the Green Bay lead two series later as QB Shaun King executed a perfect two-minute drill with six straight completions. The final pass hit WR Keyshawn Johnson for an 18-yard score and then King ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 14-11. S John Lynch intercepted Packers QB Brett Favre two plays later and Tampa Bay followed with a 43-yard FG by Gramatica to tie the game with 7:50 left. After the teams exchanged punts, LB Jamie Duncan picked off Favre to give the Bucs possession at their own 43-yard line with 1:45 on the clock. King drove the team into field goal range, but Gramatica barely missed wide right.
DID YOU KNOW? WR Keyshawn Johnson's eight touchdown catches in 2000 tied for the second-best single-season total in franchise history. His 71 receptions this season marked the fourth-best total in club history, including the most catches for a wide receiver since 1989.
BUCCANEERS IN THE POSTSEASON
Tampa Bay will be looking for its first win on the road in postseason play when it travels to Philadelphia Sunday. The Buccaneers are 3-5 all-time in the playoffs, including an 0-4 mark away from Tampa. Here is a look at Tampa Bay's postseason history:
· 12/29/79: NFC Divisional Playoff vs. Philadelphia…..W, 24-17 · 1/6/80: NFC Championship Game vs. Los Angeles Rams…..L, 9-0 · 1/2/82: NFC Divisional Playoff at Dallas…..L, 38-0 · 1/9/83: NFC First Round at Dallas…..L, 30-17 · 12/28/97: NFC Wild Card vs. Detroit…..W, 20-10 · 1/4/98: NFC Divisional Playoff at Green Bay…..L, 21-7 · 1/15/00: NFC Divisional Playoff vs. Washington…..W, 14-13 · 1/23/00: NFC Championship Game at St. Louis…..L, 11-6
BUCS IN THE RANKINGS
Here is a look at where the Buccaneers finished in the final team and individual rankings:
|Team Statistic||NFC Ranking||NFL Ranking|
|Total Offense (290.6 ypg)||10th||21st|
|Rushing Offense (129.1 ypg)||3rd||9th|
|Passing Offense (161.4 ypg)||14th||26th|
|Total Defense (300.0 ypg)||4th||9th|
|Rushing Defense (103.0 ypg)||3rd||9th|
|Passing Defense (197.0 ypg)||6th||13th|
|Points Scored (388)||t3rd||t6th|
|Points Allowed (269)||t3rd||t7th|
|Turnover Margin (+17)||1st||t3rd|
|Third Downs (33.3%)||12th||26th|
|Third Down Defense (32.9%)||2nd||3rd|
|Red Zone TD Pct. (57.4%)||3rd||6th|
|Opponent Red Zone TD Pct. (40.0%)||4th||6th|
|First Downs (275)||11th||23rd|
|Opponent First Downs (283)||5th||11th|
|Individual Statistic||NFC Ranking||NFL Ranking|
|Kicking - Gramatica (126 points)||t2nd||t3rd|
|Rushing – Dunn (1,133 yards)||8th||----|
|Total Yards – Dunn (1,555 yards)||8th||----|
|Passing - King (75.8 rating)||10th||----|
|Receptions - Johnson (71)||t14th||----|
|Receiving Yards - Johnson (874)||14th||----|
|Punting - Royals (41.8 avg.)||6th||----|
|Punt Returns - Williams (9.2 avg.)||7th||----|
|Interceptions - Abraham (7)||t3rd||t3rd|
|Interceptions - Robinson (6)||t5th||----|
|Sacks – Sapp (16.5)||2nd||t2nd|
|Sacks – Jones (13.0)||4th||8th|
BUCCANEERS-EAGLES SERIES NOTES
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The series is tied 3-3 in the regular season, with the Buccaneers winning each of the last three meetings. The two teams have also met once in the postseason, with Tampa Bay notching a 24-17 victory in an NFC Divisional playoff at Tampa in 1979. The playoff game marked the first postseason contest in the Bucs' history. The two teams first met in 1977 in Philadelphia, a 13-3 Eagles win. Philadelphia also grabbed victories in 1981 (20-10 in Philadelphia) and 1988 (41-14 in Tampa). The Bucs' current three-game streak includes a 14-13 victory in Tampa in 1991, a 21-6 win in 1995 in Philadelphia and last year's 19-5 victory at the Vet.
- Bucs' longest winning streak: 3, 10/6/91-current - Eagles' longest winning streak: 9/18/77-9/4/88 - Eagles' home record: 2-2
LAST MEETING (postseason) - Tampa Bay 24, Philadelphia 17 (12/29/79): The first foray into the postseason was a successful one for the Tampa Bay franchise, which reached the playoffs in just its fourth year of existence. After winning the NFC Central with a 10-6 record, the Buccaneers faced Philadelphia in the Divisional Playoff round after the Eagles had downed Chicago a week earlier. Tampa Bay used a stingy defense (227 yards allowed) and the relentless running of Ricky Bell to prevail 24-17 in front of a home crowd of 71,402. The Buccaneers opened the game with a methodical 18-play, 80-yard march that drained more than nine minutes off the clock, culminating with a four-yard score by Bell. Neither team advanced significantly on its next possession, but the Eagles moved into field goal range early in the second quarter. After a successful fake field goal run was nullified by a delay-of-game penalty, K Tony Franklin came up short on a 52-yard attempt. The Bucs had to settle for a 40-yard FG on the next series after an apparent TD catch by TE Jimmie Giles was ruled incomplete. Two plays later Bucs NT Randy Crowder recovered a fumble at the Philadelphia four-yard line, leading to a one-yard score by Bell on fourth down. The Eagles finally got on the board before halftime on a scoring strike from QB Ron Jaworski to WR Charles Smith following a Doug Williams interception, cutting the Bucs lead to 17-7. Franklin drilled a 42-yard FG after the break, but Tampa Bay scored the deciding points early in the final period on a nine-yard TD pass from Williams to Giles. Jaworski answered on the ensuing drive, finding WR Harold Carmichael for a 37-yard TD. Following an onside-kick attempt, Philadelphia forced Tampa Bay to punt, but the Bucs defense celebrated after Jaworski's fourth down pass fell incomplete from the Bucs' 45-yard line.
SERIES HIGHLIGHTS: Eagles hold Bucs to 118 total yards in season-opening 13-3 win at Veterans Stadium (9/18/77)…QB Ron Jaworski throws two TDs…Bucs host and win first-ever playoff game, 24-17 over Philadelphia before 71,402 at Tampa Stadium (12/29/79)…Bucs start game with mammoth 18-play, 80-yard TD drive that eats up 9:25…RB Ricky Bell runs for 142 yards on 38 carries…DE Lee Roy Selmon sacks Jaworski twice for 20 yards…"This is not an expansion team," Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil said of the young Bucs. "It is a pro football team, a conference championship football team that won 10 games."…RB Wilbert Montgomery rushes for 119 yards and a score in 20-10 Philly win (10/25/81)…Eagles intercept QB Vinny Testaverde five times en route to 41-14 win (9/4/88)…QB Chris Chandler throws two fourth-quarter TDs to rally Tampa Bay to 14-13 victory (10/6/91)…After Chandler hits WR Bruce Hill for 5-yard score with 1:09 left, LB Sam Anno forces and recovers fumble on ensuing kickoff...Tampa Bay kicked off the 1995 season in style, breaking open a tight defensive struggle with two TDs in the fourth quarter to beat Philadelphia 21-6 (9/3/95)...Tampa Bay registered nine sacks and held Philadelphia to just 151 total yards in a 19-5 victory at the Vet (9/19/99).
RB Rabih Abdullah played collegiately at Lehigh...Eagles DL coach Tommy Brasher was the Bucs' DL coach in 1990…Bucs QB coach Clyde Christensen coached at Temple from 1983-85…Eagles WR coach David Culley held the same position in Tampa Bay from 1994-95…Eagles OL coach Juan Castillo was a training camp coaching intern for the Bucs in 1994...He also coached Bucs C/G Kevin Dogins at Texas A&M-Kingsville...Dogins played with Eagles G Jermane Mayberry at Kingsville...Assistant head coach/DB coach Herman Edwards played for the Eagles from 1977-85…DT/DE Tyoka Jackson played collegiately at Penn State...Eagles DE Greg Jefferson is from Bartow…Bucs T George Hegamin played with the Eagles in 1998...Philadelphia P Sean Landeta played with the Buccaneers in 1997...Bucs special teams coach Joe Marciano played (1972-75) and coached at Temple (1982), and also coached at Villanova (1980)…Tampa Bay S Damien Robinson and DE Steve White were both claimed by the Bucs after stints with Philadelphia - Robinson was on the Eagles' practice squad (1997), while White was waived in the preseason (1996)…White played with Eagles C Bubba Miller at Tennessee...Bucs LB Al Singleton played at Temple…Eagles WR Torrance Small was born in Tampa and attended Jefferson High…S Dexter Jackson played at Florida State with Eagles T Tra Thomas…LS Morris Unutoa played with the Eagles from 1996-98.
DT Warren Sapp, arguably the league's most dominant defensive force, posted one of the finest seasons for an interior lineman in NFL history. Sapp, who has followed a 1999 campaign in which he earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, posted a club-record 16.5 sacks and added a career-high 76 tackles. Sapp's 16.5 sacks in 2000 ranks as the third-best total for a defensive tackle in NFL history. The sixth-year pro finished second in the NFL with 16.5 sacks (tied with Miami DE Trace Armstrong) and just behind New Orleans DT La'Roi Glover (17.0). Sapp recorded at least one sack in 11 of Tampa Bay's 16 contests.
Despite forging off constant double and triple teams, Sapp has amassed 58.5 career sacks and also surpassed the club single-season mark of 13 sacks set by DT Lee Roy Selmon in 1977. As the anchor of one of the NFL's most suffocating defenses, Sapp has been the focal point of a Bucs defense that established a franchise record with 55 sacks, breaking the old mark of 44 set by the 1997 squad. Of those 55 sacks, 45.5 came from the Bucs defensive front, marking the second-best total in the NFL for a defensive front (New Orleans, 48 sacks). Sapp also recorded the eighth sack of his career against the Packers last Sunday, nailing QB Brett Favre for a 12-yard loss last Sunday. That represents the most sacks on an opposing quarterback for Sapp.
You've Been Sapped...The most sacks on opposing quarterbacks courtesy of Warren Sapp:
Brett Favre…8.0 Charlie Batch…6.0 Brad Johnson…4.0 Drew Bledsoe…2.5 Daunte Culpepper…2.0 Kent Graham… 2.0
DEFENSIVE LINE CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS
How important is it to create consistent pressure up front? The four teams who have the NFL's top defensive line sack totals in 2000 will be working during the holiday season: Two of those teams - New Orleans and Miami - captured their respective divisions, while Tampa Bay and Philadelphia will face off in an NFC Wild Card matchup on Sunday during the opening weekend of the playoffs.
|Team||Defensive Line Sacks||Total Sacks|
With an anticipated game temperature in the 20s or 30s this Sunday, the outcome of the NFC Wild Card contest could be determined by two of the better young kickers in the NFL: the Buccaneers' Martin Gramatica and the Eagles' David Akers.
Gramatica, who was selected to the Pro Bowl in just his second NFL season, established six single-season team records en route to leading the Buccaneers to their second consecutive postseason appearance. Gramatica set single-season marks for points scored (126), field goals made (28), field goals of more than 50 yards (5), PATs made (42), consecutive field goals (16, tied with Michael Husted, 1995-96) and PAT percentage (100%, tied with several others). He also finished tied for second in the NFC with 126 points, connecting on 28-of-34 field goal attempts (82.4%), including an NFL-best 55-yarder against Detroit.
Akers connected on 29-of-33 field goals, finishing fourth in the NFC with 121 points. A second-year pro, Akers nailed three game-winning field goals this season and also hit the go-ahead field goal with 3:03 left in a 23-20 win at Washington in the last week of November.
In addition, the honors for both kickers were bountiful during the 2000 season. Gramatica earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October and followed by capturing Special Teams Player of the Week honors in a Week 15 win over Miami, in which he nailed three field goals in a driving rain storm to lead the Bucs to a crucial December road win.
Akers followed Gramatica by winning the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award for November. He earned multiple Player of the Week honors, in a Week 7 win over at Arizona and then had his finest game of the season in a 26-23 OT win at Pittsburgh. Akers was perfect on all four field goal attempts against the Steelers, including nailing a 42-yarder on the final play of regulation to force the game into overtime. He then calmly drilled a 42-yard field goal in the extra period for the Eagles' second consecutive overtime win in as many weeks.
|Category||Martin Gramatica||David Akers|
|Field Goal Percentage||82.4%||87.9%|
|50-yard Field Goals||5-7||1-1|
|Field Goals - 40 or more yards||12-16||8-11|
DUNN ON THE GROUND (AND IN THE AIR)
RB Warrick Dunn has become the go-to-guy in the Buccaneer offense and the second half of the season firmly established that trend. Dunn, who gained just 366 yards in the first half of the season, more than doubled that output over the last eight games. He averaged just less than one rushing touchdown per game over that stretch after finding the end zone on the ground only one time total in the first eight games of 2000.
|Statistic||First 8 Games||Last 8 Games|
|Total Yards from Scrimmage||560||995|
|Plays of 20 or More Yards||4||13|
Since FB Mike Alstott suffered a medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee at Chicago in Game 11, Dunn has put up extraordinary numbers. Dunn finished the year with a team-leading 1,133 rushing yards on 248 carries (4.6 avg.) and led the squad with a career-high eight touchdowns on the ground. Dunn became just the third Bucs RB to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a single season twice in a career (also 1,026 yards in 1998). His 1,133 yards were the most for a Buccaneer since Errict Rhett rushed for 1,207 yards in 1995.
The 2000 season proved to be a record-breaking one for the Buccaneers, with several club records being tied or broken this season. The offense re-wrote part of the record book, setting marks for points scored, touchdowns and average per rush. The Bucs defense also did its part with a new standard for sacks and tied the record for defensive touchdowns. Tampa Bay's special teams even got into the act with seven blocked kicks to surpass the all-time record and K Martin Gramatica tied or broke six marks. Here is a look at those records and more:
Points Scored: 388 (335 in 1984) Scoring Margin: +119 (+47 in 1981) Touchdowns: 43 (40 in 1984) *Best PAT Percentage: 100% (Several - Last time, 1999) Avg. Per Rush: 4.2 (4.11 in 1998) Team Sacks: 55 (44 in 1997) *Defensive TDs: 5 (5 in 1981) Return TDs: 7 (5 in 1981) Blocked Kicks: 7 (5 in 1978)
Individual Sacks: Sapp - 16.5, Jones - 13.0 (Lee Roy Selmon - 13 in 1977) Individual Scoring: Gramatica - 126 pts. (Gramatica - 106 in 1999) Field Goals Made: Gramatica - 28 (Gramatica - 27 in 1999) Field Goals (50+ yards): Gramatica - 5 (Several - Last time, Gramatica - 3 in 1999) *Consecutive FGs: Gramatica - 16 (Michael Husted – 16 from 1995-96) PATs Made: Gramatica - 42 (Obed Ariri - 38 in 1984) *Best PAT Percentage: Gramatica - 100% (Several - Last time, Gramatica in 1999) *QB Rushing TDs: King - 5 (Steve Young 5 in 1986)
- 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 14-7 as a starter in the regular season and 1-1 in the postseason. Under a new offensive scheme, King completed 233-of-428 passes (54.4%) for 2,769 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. King 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 the Bucs also have Georgia Tech All-America QB Joe Hamilton.
Running Backs With FB Mike Alstott (who will make his fourth Pro Bowl appearance) sidelined over the last month, RB Warrick Dunn saw his workload increase. Dunn, who became the third Buccaneer to reach 1,000 yards twice in a career, led the Bucs with 1,133 yards, the most for a Buccaneer since Errict Rhett (1,207) in 1995. Dunn tied the club single-game record with a career-high three rushing scores against St. Louis and Tampa Bay was 9-2 this season when Dunn rushed for 50 or more yards. Alstott, who ranked second on the squad with 465 yards, missed three games with a third degree sprain of the MCL in his left knee but returned for the final two regular season games. FB Charles Kirby saw his playing time increase with Alstott's injury. NFL Europe Offensive MVP Aaron Stecker had been Dunn's primary backup, but was inactive for the last four weeks. RB Rabih Abdullah filled in for Stecker as the top backup and also ranked fourth on the squad with 16 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 did not disappoint. Johnson caught a team-best 71 passes with eight touchdowns, also tops on the team. His 71 catches were the most by a Bucs wide receiver under head coach Tony Dungy and his 874 yards also ranked first on the club. Jacquez Green emerged as Tampa Bay's big-play receiver and ranked second on the club with 773 yards receiving on 51 catches. Green set a career-high with 11 catches (for 131 yards) at Minnesota. Reidel Anthony was second on the team with four TD receptions on only 15 catches (a TD for every 3.75 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. 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 went through the season with a new left side of the line in T Pete Pierson and 12-time Pro Bowler Randall McDaniel, who spent his previous 12 seasons with Minnesota, at LG. Fellow Viking Jeff Christy, a three-time Pro Bowler, was the new C. The right side remained intact with Frank Middleton at RG and Jerry Wunsch at RT. DeMarcus Curry also returned as a backup tackle on the right side. T George Hegamin alternated with Pierson on the left side for most of the year. Todd Washington backs up Christy. Kevin Dogins and second-round pick Cosey Coleman are reserve guards. The Bucs started the same five players in 15 of their 16 games and allowed two or fewer sacks in 11 of its 16 games.
Defensive Line The defensive line is anchored by four-time Pro Bowl selection DT Warren Sapp, who earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press last year. Sapp, who ranked tied for second in the NFL with 16.5 sacks this season, surpassed Lee Roy Selmon's team record of 13 sacks in 1977 with two sacks against Buffalo. His 58.5 career sacks ranks second in team history. DE Chidi Ahanotu notched 63 tackles and 3.5 sacks, while DE Steve White had 42 tackles and two sacks on the year. DE Marcus Jones, who ranked 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. Jones and Sapp were the top sack duo in the NFC with 29.5 sacks. DT Anthony McFarland, who replaced Brad Culpepper, starts alongside Sapp and totaled 6.5 sacks. DT James Cannida (two sacks), DE/DT Tyoka Jackson (two sacks) and DE John McLaughlin all provide solid depth.
Linebackers Weakside LB Derrick Brooks paced the club with 179 tackles, leading or tying for the team lead in 10 of the 16 contests. The four-time Pro Bowler tied the team single-game record and set a career high with 22 tackles against Buffalo, and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November. Starting SLB Shelton Quarles, who grabbed his first career interception at Miami, had 69 tackles. Third-year pro Jamie Duncan (fifth on team with 97 tackles) moved into the starting MLB slot, vacated by Hardy Nickerson, and scored his first career touchdown on a 31-yard interception return at Miami. Third-round pick Nate Webster, who had 32 tackles, backs up Duncan. Special teams standout Jeff Gooch, who led the team with 23 special teams stops, also serves in a backup capacity, as does Don Davis (second on team with 21 special teams tackles). 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, missed the final three games of the year with a left knee injury, but may be back for the playoffs.
Secondary All-Pro SS John Lynch, in his fifth year as a starter, ranked second on the squad with 110 tackles on the year. Lynch was named a starter to his third Pro Bowl this season. FS Damien Robinson, who can also play strong safety, notched 104 tackles, third-best on the squad, and his six interceptions were second-best on the defense and tied for fifth in the NFC. LCB Donnie Abraham ranked tied for third in the NFL with a team-high seven interceptions. Abraham also returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown at Minnesota and his 63 tackles was ninth-best on the squad. RCB Ronde Barber made several big plays, including a fumble return for a score against Chicago and an interception return for a TD versus the Jets. Barber added 5.5 quarterback sacks. He also registered 97 tackles, fourth-best on the squad. Brian Kelly (47 stops), who notched his first career touchdown on an interception return 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 registered 30 tackles and his 20 special teams tackles were third-best on the team. Sixth-round draft pick David Gibson serves as a backup at safety.
Special Teams K Martin Gramatica, who tied or broke six single-season records in 2000, made all 42 of his PATs and was 28-34 on field goals. Gramatica, who was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October, set club records for single-season points (126), field goals (28), 50-plus yard FGs (5) and PATs made (42), and nailed 16 straight field goals prior to a miss at Miami to tie the club record. The 126 points ranked tied for second in the NFC and tied for third in the NFL. P Mark Royals averaged 41.8 yards per punt this year to rank sixth-best in the NFC. WR Williams, who was seventh in the NFC with a 9.2 return average, took back a punt 73 yards for a touchdown against Buffalo. Williams (23.8 avg.) and RB Stecker (22.9 avg.) are the Bucs' top kickoff returners.
Pro Bowl LB Derrick Brooks, who has started 80 consecutive games, sprained his right shoulder in the first quarter and did not return against the Packers. Brooks is listed as probable for this week's game. LT Pete Pierson, who was inactive in the Monday Night win over the St. Louis Rams due to a left calf strain, suffered a lower back strain against the Packers but is also probable for Sunday's contest. LB Jamie Duncan (right knee sprain) and DE Marcus Jones (left foot sprain) also suffered injuries but did not miss any action against Green Bay. LB Al Singleton (sprained MCL in his left knee) was upgraded to probable this week after missing the final three regular season games. C/G Todd Washington (right hamstring), DE Steve White (left hip pointer) and CB Floyd Young (right shoulder sprain) are all probable for this week's game.
Tampa Bay head coach Tony Dungy is in his fifth season with the Bucs, boasting a franchise-best 45-35 regular-season mark (2-2 postseason). Dungy's 45 victories are the most for a Tampa Bay coach in franchise history. Dungy is the first Bucs head coach to lead three different clubs to 10 or more wins in a season (10 in 1997, 11 in 1999 and 10 in 2000). Last year the Bucs captured their first NFC Central Division title in 18 years with a franchise-best 11-5 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.
Andy Reid is in his second season as the 20th head coach in Eagles history. Reid came to the Eagles after spending the previous seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers under Mike Holmgren. With Green Bay, Reid helped the Pack reach the playoffs six straight times from 1993-98. During that span, Green Bay defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI and reached the NFL's title game again the following year after earning the NFC crown with a victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Reid put his signature on nearly every part of the Packers' offense while coaching three different positions and assisting Holmgren and offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis with their game-planning duties. A tackle and guard at Brigham Young from 1979-81, Reid entered the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant on Lavell Edwards' 1982 BYU staff. It was at BYU, in fact, that Reid met and worked alongside Holmgren, who served as the Cougars' QB coach from 1982-85. Reid next moved to San Francisco State in 1983 and helped the Gators lead the nation in passing and total offense for three consecutive years (1983-85) while serving as that school's offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and strength coach. He then continued to build his coaching reputation by developing quality offensive lines at Northern Arizona, Texas-El Paso, and Missouri.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Here are a few things to keep an eye on this Sunday:
- Both offensive lines need to be ready for a ferocious pass rush. The Bucs defense set a club record with 55 sacks this year, while the Eagles notched 50 sacks.
- Tampa Bay rushed for 18 touchdowns, one shy of the club record of 19 in 1995, while Philadelphia allowed just 10 rushing touchdowns on the year.
COLD FRONT: It is a topic that inevitably pops up at least once every season. The Bucs own an 0-19 all-time mark in games where the game-time temperature is less than 40 degrees. Tampa Bay has won six times (in 20 tries) when the temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees. Overall the Bucs are 6-33 when the temperature is below 50 degrees. Tampa Bay was 0-2 this season in games when the temperature was less than 40 (37 degrees at Chicago and 15 degrees at Green Bay).
LOOKING AHEAD: Now that the regular season is complete, Tampa Bay's opponents for the 2001 season are set. In addition to the usual home-and-home battles with their NFC Central foes, the Bucs will host Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay will travel to Cincinnati, Dallas, St. Louis and Tennessee. The combined winning percentage of the Bucs' 12 opponents next season is .563 (108-84).
WHAT A RUSH: Tampa Bay's potent rushing attack totaled 2,066 rushing yards this season, marking the fourth-best mark in franchise history and the third-best total in the NFC in 2000. The Buccaneers amassed that total on 490 carries, averaging 4.22 yards per rush, the best per-carry mark in club history (4.11 yards in 1998). The addition of Pro Bowlers C Jeff Christy and G Randall McDaniel, along with the steady play of G Frank Middleton, G Pete Pierson and T Jerry Wunsch, helped pave the way for RB Warrick Dunn to run for a career-best 1,133 yards rushing on 248 carries. Dunn's 4.57 average fell just short of the individual yards per carry season record of 4.6 held by RB James Wilder.
Tampa Bay's running attack also combined to rush for more than 100 yards in 13 contests. Dunn also raced for more than 100 yards in three of the final five contests, including a 210-yard rushing effort against Dallas, the second-best single-game mark in Buccaneer history.
SECONDARY TO NONE: The Tampa Bay secondary has had an outstanding season and the last several games of the regular season have solidified that reputation. The Bucs picked off nine passes over the final three games of the regular season. For the season, Tampa Bay had 25 interceptions, tied for the third-best single-season total in club history. Bucs Single-Season Interceptions
1981 32 1990 25
1978 29 1977 23
2000 25 1983 23
SUCCESS PREDICATED ON TURNOVERS: Tampa Bay, which ranked first in the NFC in turnover margin at plus-17, had success this season when it limited its turnovers on offense and forced opponent miscues. The Bucs were 10-1 this season in games in which they had a positive or equal turnover ratio against their opponents, with the lone loss last week at Green Bay. In fact, since head coach Tony Dungy arrived in 1996, Tampa Bay is 31-4 in games when it has fewer turnovers than its opponent.
SCORING MARGIN SETS CLUB RECORD: Tampa Bay's scoring margin of plus-119 (388 points scored and 269 allowed) shattered the team record of plus-47 in 1981 (315-268) this season. The Bucs ranked first in the NFC and fourth overall in the NFL.
NOTES FROM THE GREEN BAY GAME: The Bucs forced at least one turnover for the ninth straight game and the 15th time in 16 games this season (all but Detroit game on October 19)…With one sack by DT Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay has now registered at least one sack in 28 consecutive regular season games…K Martin Gramatica set a single-season record for FGs made in a season with two (to give him 28), breaking the mark of 27 FGs he set in 1999...P Mark Royals tied a club single-game record with 11 punts, the most in a game since Tom Blanchard had 11 punts against Green Bay on October 12, 1980.
YOU SAY RED, I SAY GREEN: The Buccaneers were 42-47 inside the Red Zone under new offensive coordinator Les Steckel (who calls it the Green Zone) this season, including 27 touchdowns for a scoring percentage of 89.4% and a touchdown rate of 57.4% (third in the NFC). 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%).
BUCS TIE FOR LEAGUE-HIGH WITH EIGHT PRO BOWL SELECTIONS: The NFL announced earlier this month that eight Buccaneers - CB Donnie Abraham, FB Mike Alstott, LB Derrick Brooks, C Jeff Christy, K Martin Gramatica, S John Lynch, G Randall McDaniel and DT Warren Sapp - have been selected to the 2001 Pro Bowl, to be held in Honolulu February 4. Tampa Bay's eight players tie with the 1997 squad for the most in club history and are tied with Tennessee for the most for an NFL team this season. Six Buccaneers (Alstott, Brooks, Christy, Lynch, McDaniel and Sapp) were selected as starters, giving Tampa Bay the most starters in the NFL and the most-ever in team history, surpassing its four starters in 1999. Under the watch of General Manager Rich McKay and Head Coach Tony Dungy over the last five years, Tampa Bay has had 28 Pro Bowl selections. Prior to that, the Buccaneers had 18 Pro Bowl selections in the previous 20 years (1976-1995). Since McKay's arrival in 1994, the Buccaneers have drafted at least one Pro Bowl player in five of the six drafts from 1994-1999.