After lifting Rams RB Marshall Faulk on Monday, Sapp picked up NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors on Wednesday
Now this is starting to feel like a Warren Sapp season.
After seven weeks of unflagging effort but frustratingly low numbers (one sack in the first seven games), Sapp has detonated for four sacks in the last three games, leading victorious Tampa Bay Buccaneer efforts in Detroit and St. Louis with a pair of two-sack games. He reinforced his national profile with a dominating performance on Monday Night Football, in turn breathing life back into the Bucs' endangered season.
And he's starting to bring in the hardware again.
For the third straight season, Sapp has taken home and NFC Defensive Player of the Week award, winning this time for his three tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery against St. Louis on Monday night. He won the same award in Week Two of 1999 and Week Three of 2000. Sapp was also named NFC Defensive Player of the Month in September of 1997 and September of 1999.
Sapp follows teammate Ronde Barber, who won the same award two weeks ago after the Bucs won, 20-17, at Detroit, thanks in large part to Barber's two acrobatic interceptions. Those are the first two Player of the Week awards for Tampa Bay players this season; in both 1999 and 2000, Bucs received the honor seven different times.
Though he still faced a significant amount of double-team blocking on Monday in St. Louis, Sapp's constant pressure up the middle was an enormous factor in the Bucs' ability to keep the Rams' offense from scoring two or more touchdowns for the first time all season. In addition, he played a part in two takeaways, leading to 10 Tampa Bay points in a 24-17 victory.
In the first quarter, with the Bucs trailing 3-0 and St. Louis driving to just over midfield, Tampa Bay linebacker Shelton Quarles popped the ball out of WR Isaac Bruce's hands on a reverse. Sapp recovered the loose ball quickly, setting up a 54-yard touchdown drive for the visiting team. One quarter later, Sapp beat the Rams' offensive line quickly, dove at QB Kurt Warner's arm and forced a loose ball, which linemate Marcus Jones fell on at the St. Louis 22. The Bucs capitalized with a 36-yard field goal, helping them take a 10-9 lead into halftime.
Sapp had also sacked Warner on a first-down play from the Tampa Bay 15-yard line on the previous drive, eventually forcing the Rams to settle for a field goal. His third tackle of the day was a bruising throw-down of RB Marshall Faulk for a four-yard loss in the third quarter.
On the season, Sapp leads the Buccaneers with five sacks and has added 30 tackles to go along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He has 63.5 career regular-season sacks, second only to Lee Roy Selmon's 78.5 in Buccaneer history.