WR Keyshawn Johnson had his first 100-yard day as a Buccaneer
Tampa Bay's critical 41-13 win over the previously-undefeated Minnesota Vikings on Sunday included many significant individual performances. What follows is a series of game notes compiled by the Buccaneers' communications department.
Déjà Vu: For the second time in the last three seasons, a 7-0 Vikings team has traveled to Tampa, only to leave with their first loss of the season. The 1998 Bucs spoiled Minnesota's perfect season with a 27-24 victory on November 1. That game also marked the last time that Tampa Bay played an entire game without punting. The Bucs did not attempt a punt today.
Sack Brigade Rolls On: The Bucs continued their record-setting pace with two quarterback sacks to raise their season total to 37 sacks in only eight games. Tampa Bay is well on its way to shattering the team record of 44 sacks in 1997 and is on pace to eclipse the NFL single-season mark of 72 sacks by the 1984 Chicago Bears. DT Warren Sapp, with his first half sack and forced fumble, now has 10.5 sacks on the year as he moves closer to Lee Roy Selmon's franchise mark of 13 sacks in 1977. DE Marcus Jones is right behind Sapp with 10 sacks.
Brooks Hits Paydirt: For the first time in his career, LB Derrick Brooks found himself in the end zone when he returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. The score was the third by the Bucs defense this season, including the second interception return (also CB Ronde Barber versus the New York Jets) for a touchdown.
Dynamic Duo: DE Marcus Jones and DT Warren Sapp have been terrorizing opposing quarterbacks all season, and the first series of the game was no different. Sapp sacked Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Jones. The Bucs offense capitalized two plays later as QB Shaun King found WR Keyshawn Johnson for a nine-yard score.
Offensive Explosion: With its 31-point outburst in the first half today, Tampa Bay tied the club record for most points in a half. The Bucs also scored 31 points in the first half of a 34-19 victory over Chicago on December 22, 1996 in Tampa. The 41 points on the afternoon gives Tampa Bay 40-plus points in a game twice in the same season for the first time in club history (also 41 points vs. Chicago on Sept. 10). In fact, over the first 24 seasons in franchise history, the Bucs scored 40 or more points just three times.
It's Good To Be King: QB Shaun King, who threw a career-worst three interceptions last week against Detroit, established a much more positive career-high with four touchdown passes today, including three in the first half. The four touchdown passes is tied for the second-best single-game effort in franchise history. Steve DeBerg holds the team record with five TD passes vs. Atlanta (9/13/87). King completed 16-of-23 passes for 267 yards and the four scores with no interceptions. Prior to today, King had thrown for two touchdowns in a game three times.
Defense Leads to Offense: The Bucs defense was largely responsible for 21 of Tampa Bay's points, thanks to several big plays. DE Marcus Jones recovered a Daunte Culpepper fumble, leading to Shaun King's first touchdown pass. LB Derrick Brooks then found the end zone for the first time in his career when he returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. CB Donnie Abraham then grabbed his team-high fourth interception of the year in the fourth quarter and the offense followed with King's fourth touchdown pass of the game. For the season, the Bucs have forced 17 turnovers leading to 73 points, thanks to their three turnovers today. Last season the Bucs defense forced 31 turnovers, which led to 90 points. Over the previous three games this season, Tampa Bay's defense had forced just three turnovers, leading to 14 points.
Key to the Offense: WR Keyshawn Johnson made a big impact on the Bucs offense, reeling in six catches for 121 yards and one TD. The 121 yards marks Johnson's first 100-yard game as a Buccaneer and his teams are now 14-4 over the last three seasons when he scores a touchdown. With his catch on Tampa Bay's first offensive play, Johnson continued his streak of at least one catch in every game (72 games, including two playoff contests) of his NFL career.
First Quarter Output: Tampa Bay's 14 points in the first quarter equals the most for the Bucs in the opening 15 minutes this season (also at Detroit).
Good Start: With a touchdown on its opening drive, Tampa Bay scored seven points on its initial possession for the first time in eight games this season. It marked the second straight game that the Bucs put points on the board on their first offensive series after converting a field goal on their first drive last week against Detroit. The Bucs scored on each of their first four possessions before taking a knee on their final drive before halftime.
You Say Red, I Say Green: The Bucs continued their outstanding success inside the red zone under new offensive coordinator Les Steckel (who calls it the Green Zone). In eight games, the Buccaneers are a perfect 22-22 inside the 20, including 14 touchdowns. Tampa Bay was 3-3 with two touchdowns and a field goal inside the Green Zone today and remains the only team in the NFL to have scored on every possession inside the 20 this season.
Buc Shots: The Bucs gained 413 yards in total offense, their first time over 400 yards since they gained 428 yards vs. Detroit (11/22/98)…Tampa Bay allowed just one quarterback sack today and has given up only three sacks in the last three games…RB Warrick Dunn's 36-yard run in the second quarter was the longest by a Buccaneer this year…Dunn rushed for 89 yards, the most on the ground for a Buc this season…The first punt of the game, by the Vikings, occurred with less than two minutes remaining the third quarter…The Bucs and Vikings have now split the season series in each of the last eight seasons (1993-2000)…Tampa Bay has now won three straight at home against Minnesota…The Bucs have now won seven of their last nine NFC Central games…Tampa Bay has also won seven of its last eight home divisional games.