Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Something Old, Something New, Something Good

Tampa Bay wins 37-14, mixing some old tricks with a few new wrinkles to rev up the offense


FB Mike Alstott scored twice in his typical hardnosed fashion

If the Bucs got your mental replay reels spinning on Friday night, you weren't alone. Big plays by key Buccaneers Mike Alstott, Donnie Abraham and Warrick Dunn had a very 1999 feel to them, some recalling specific moments of past glory.

Alstott's bouncing, spinning, third-effort touchdown run in the second quarter, for instance, was very similar to his touchdown run in last January's playoff win over Washington (not to mention a number of other runs in his made-for-TV career).

Abraham's interception on the third play of the game, setting up a Bucs' touchdown, had the suddenness of his game-turning interception TD against Minnesota last December.

Warrick Dunn's 48-yard scamper in the first quarter actually recalled Dunn's electric rookie season, when he was commonly freed into the second wave of the defense, where he generally does great damage.

But there was much, much more, some of it foreign to Bucs fans.

Case in point: long gains by Dunn and WR Reidel Anthony were measurably lengthened by the downfield blocking of WR Keyshawn Johnson. "I think our receivers had a good first half, making some good blocks. Reidel Anthony came in and had a big block and that really opened up some additional yards for the running game."

Or, for new Buccaneer visions, there was simply the offensive totals. Tampa Bay gained 320 yards of total offense, split fairly evenly with 139 on the ground and 181 through the air. Most impressively, the first and second-team units ran unchecked through the Kansas City defense for 236 yards.

"We certainly did better than last week," said Dungy. "It went down just like we scripted, beside the turnover. But other than that, our defense set the tone early, creating the turnover and setting us up for the score. I really like what we did the rest of the way."

Yes, the Bucs' defense was monstrously effective, holding the Chiefs to 44 first-half yards, but that wasn't an entirely new vision for the 66,000 fans in attendance. Abraham's pick came on the third play of the game and set Tampa Bay up at the Chiefs' 13. Three plays later, Alstott barreled three yards for the opening score.

The Bucs' first-string defense stuffed Kansas City again on the next drive, but the Chiefs quickly tied the game. LB Donnie Edwards intercepted a Shaun King pass and returned it 61 yards to the end zone. That was the Bucs' lone turnover; meanwhile, Tampa Bay's defense, which had a league-leading 13 takeaways entering the night, snatched four more from the Chiefs.

Alstott scored again on the aforementioned run on the first play of the second quarter, and that was the end of an 84-yard drive and the first-team's tenure in the game. The Bucs piled on the scoring from there, scoring on an Aaron Stecker run, a David Gibson fumble return on a kickoff and three Martin Gramatica field goals in three tries.

Buccaneers.com provided detailed coverage of each quarter's play-by-play as the game went on. Those reports are included below.

First Quarter

Head Coach Tony Dungy hoped before the game that his offense would come out sharp, so the starter's one quarter of play would include a significant amount of snaps. He got his wish. Though the game was tied after the first period at 7-7, the Bucs were one yard from another touchdown when the period ended.

Kansas City's First Drive

Kansas City won the toss and elected to receive, while the Bucs chose to put their backs to Buccaneers Cove. Martin Gramatica's game-opening kickoff went three yards deep in the end zone, and return man Kirby Dar Dar was corralled at the 17 by LB Don Davis.

The Chiefs, known as a run-first team, came out shooting, throwing a straight fly pattern to WR Derrick Alexander. Alexander briefly had a step on CB Donnie Abraham, but Abraham recovered to knock the pass away. On second down, QB Elvis Grbac found Kevin Lockett on a quick out near the left sideline, but CB Ronde Barber made a nice unassisted tackle to hold the gain to four yards.

The Bucs' Amazing Cornerback Show got even better on third down. Grbac tested Abraham on a quick out to Alexander on the right side, but Abraham jumped the play and picked off the pass, giving the Bucs possession at the Chiefs' 12.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

From there, it took Tampa Bay just three plays to get into the end zone. RB Warrick Dunn took the first handoff behind right guard and picked up three yards. TE Patrick Hape, playing in just his second game of the preseason, was the target on second down, and he caught a short pass over the middle for six more yards. On third-and-one from the three, FB Mike Alstott was charged with picking up the first down on a bull-rush up the middle, but he followed a Hape block all the way to paydirt. Bucs 7, Chiefs 0.

Kansas City's Second Drive

Perhaps energized by the capacity crowd, Gramatica went deep again on his next kickoff, forcing Dar Dar two yards into the end zone. He returned it 24 yards before Al Singleton put hit on the ground with a hard hit at the 21.

The Chiefs took to the ground this time, running Mike Cloud twice up the middle for a total of nine yards. On third down, Cloud lowered his shoulder and picked up seven yards up the gut, more than enough for the Chiefs' initial first down.

On first down from the Chiefs' 37, Elvis Grbac put the Chiefs in a very manageable second-and-one, but DT Warren Sapp then caught FB Donnell Bennett in the backfield for a three-yard loss. Forced into a third-and-four, Grbac had to pass, but he couldn't get the ball into TE Tony Gonzalez, who had S John Lynch tight on his hip. Just as Grbac released the ball, he was hit from both sides by LB Derrick Brooks and DT Marcus Jones. Grbac was shaken up and had to be helped off the field.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

The Bucs' second drive started out in much worse field position but quickly reached Kansas City territory. After a two-yard loss on first down and a false start penalty, the Bucs picked up much of what they needed on second down when Dunn darted out of the backfield on a draw play and picked up 12 yards. On third and three, QB Shaun King found WR Reidel Anthony near the left sideline, from where he turned upfield and followed a block from Keyshawn Johnson to pick up 37 yards to the Chiefs' 43.

Unfortunately, that was the end of the forward progress for the Bucs on that drive. King's next pass was slightly behind WR Jacquez Green, and Chiefs LB Donnie Edwards intercepted the pass on a dead run and went 61 yards untouched for the tying score. Bucs 7, Chiefs 7.

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

The Bucs shook off that bit of bad fortune quickly. After Jacquez Green was spilled at the 15 on the kickoff return, Alstott barreled up the middle for nine yards, just inches short of a third down. Alstott got two more yards for a first down on the next snap, but Dunn was stopped for a loss of one on the resulting first down. On the next snap, King targeted Johnson, who caught a short pass and picked up nine yards thanks to a block by Green.

Once again, on third down the Bucs got much more than they needed. Warrick Dunn got the initial few yards thanks to a big hole opened on the left by C Jeff Christy, but he put himself in position for much more by juking the linebacker that came flying in. Jetting to the right sideline, Dunn next knocked CB Eric Warfield to the ground with a stiff arm, then set up behind a convoy of Johnson and Anthony. Their blocks helped Dunn get all the Kansas City 17 for a pickup of 48 yards.

Alstott picked up two yards up the middle on first down, then WR Karl Williams made a nice reaching grab on a quick slant-in for 10 yards and a first down at the Chiefs' five. After two runs netting four yards by Alstott, but before the Bucs could try a third-and-goal from the one, the quarter came to a close.

Second Quarter

The Bucs' offense, so dominant in the first quarter, kept clicking in the second period when the second unit came in. With both teams using substitutes liberally, the Bucs scored 13 unanswered points to take a 20-7 lead into the locker room.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

The Bucs' first drive of the second quarter was about as short as it could be, in a way. On third-and-goal from the one, FB Mike Alstott ran one yard for a touchdown, completing what was actually a 10-play, 84-yard march.

The capacity crowd at Raymond James Stadium was thrilled by the run, however, as it was another one for the Alstott highlight reel. The Bucs' 250-pound bruiser shook off tackle attempts by four Chiefs before spinning and trotting unmolested into the end zone. Bucs 14, Chiefs 7.

Kansas City's First Drive

Both teams put in their second-team units at this point.

The Chiefs started out with good field position on their first drive of the period, as Desmond Kitchings took Martin Gramatica's kick right up the middle to the 31. From there, the Chiefs earned a first down on the legs of backup RB Frank Moreau, who rushed for seven, two and four yards on successive plays. Another nice gain by Moreau was called back, however, by a holding penalty and the Chiefs could get no further. On third-and-13, DE Tyoka Jackson found a seam in the offensive line and shot through for a solid hit and an eight-yard sack of new QB Todd Collins. The Chiefs punted to return man Andre Hastings, who returned it 14 yards to the Bucs' 27.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

QB Eric Zeier took over for the Bucs and quickly tried a down-out-and-up to WR Karl Williams. Williams drew a pass-interference penalty on CB Pat Dennis for a Buc gain of 14 yards. However, RB Rabih Abdullah lost one yard on a run up the middle and picked up just four on an improvised shovel pass from Zeier. On third down, Zeier threw the ball away under very quick Kansas City pressure. Mark Royals then punted 46 yards to the Chiefs 10 and return man Kirby Dar Dar was bottled up at the 18.

Kansas City's Second Drive

The Chiefs second drive was put down at the hands of LB Jamie Duncan. On first down, Moreau tried to run behind left guard and was caught almost immediately by Duncan for a one-yard loss. On second down, Collins zipped a quick pass over the middle to rookie Sylvester Morris, but Morris was instantly knocked off his feet by Duncan after a four-yard pickup. The Chiefs' third-down pass to Larry Parker was a yard short.

The change of possession was eventful, full of fine individual efforts which, thankfully added up in the Bucs' favor. WR Karl Williams was deep to field Todd Sauerbrun's punt, but he wasn't deep enough, as Sauerbrun's blast went 66 yards before spinning to a stop at the Bucs' eight. Williams snatched the ball off the turf just before the tacklers arrived and eluded the first wave for a 17-yard gain. Chiefs LB Mike Maslowski caught Williams from behind and popped the ball loose, but it flew directly into WR Yo Murphy's arms.

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

Thus, the Bucs picked up again on offense at their own 29. RB Rabih Abdullah gained nothing on a run off right guard, but a four-yard pass to TE Henry Lusk had five yards and an automatic first down tacked on the end by a hands to the face penalty.

Abdullah then picked up 10 yards on a run up the middle. However, an incompletion and a short Abdullah run set up third-and-11. Zeier converted that when he found a wide-open Andre Hastings over the middle, hit him and watched him run for a total gain of 39 yards to the Chiefs' 18.

It took four downs to pick up the next first down. Abdullah went nowhere on first down and Zeier's try for Murphy in the corner of the end zone was purposely overthrown thanks to good coverage. Zeier got the next pass into Murphy's hands over the middle but the receiver was stopped one yard shy of the first down. The Bucs elected to go for it initially, but eventually called a time out as the play clock ticked towards zero. After the timeout, the Bucs sent Martin Gramatica out on the field, and Gramatica made good on a 27-yard field goal. Bucs 17, Chiefs 7.

Kansas City's Third Drive

The Chiefs appeared to get off to a good start on this march when Kitchings crossed the 30 on the kickoff return, but a holding penalty on Kansas City forced a drive start of the 15-yard line. On first down, new QB Warren Moon handed off to FB Donnell Bennett, but Bennett was caught two yards behind the line of scrimmage by Jeff Gooch as he tried to sweep left. That brought the half down to the two-minute warning.

On second down, Moon threw to Morris, who was tackled by Damien Robinson after an eight-yard gain. Jackson broke through the line again on second down for his second sack of the game, forcing a three-yard loss. Moon tried to convert the resultant third down but his pass to Kitchings was broken up. Sauerbrun then punted 59 yards to the Bucs' 25, a kick that Williams took 21 yards back on the return.

Tampa Bay's Fourth Drive

The Bucs had one more crack on offense, starting from their own 46 with 86 seconds to go. On first down, Zeier tried a fade-stop route to Williams, who adjusted brilliantly to an off-target ball but couldn't quite hold on as he hit the turf. After a false start penalty, Zeier threw a screen pass to Abdullah on second-and-15, picking up the five yards just lost.

On third-and-ten, Zeier threw over the middle directly into Maslowski's hands. However, that interception was overruled by a pass-interference penalty that gave the Bucs a new set of downs at the Chiefs' 46, with under 40 seconds to play. LB Ron George came up the middle untouched on the next play to disrupt what was meant to be a quick slant in with a hard hit on Zeier.

Williams pulled off another acrobatic catch on second down, but this one counted. With the cornerback right on his hip, Williams turned slightly on a dead run and caught the ball while falling out of bounds at the Chiefs' 29. Tampa Bay then went back to the play that had been disrupted by George moments earlier, and with better protection, Zeier fired a completion to a slanting Murphy, who got 11 more yards to the Chiefs' 18. There were 23 seconds remaining at this point.

Zeier tried an out to Williams on the left side after a timeout but it was incomplete and got the same result from a quick pass to Lusk, who had released to the right. On third-and-10 from the 18 with 14 seconds remaining, Tony Dungy sent Gramatica in to try a 36-yard field goal, which he pushed through the uprights, setting off his own jubilant celebration. Bucs 20, Chiefs 7.

After a kickoff formality to clear the final seven seconds, the half ended with the Bucs up 20-7.

Third Quarter

After getting just 44 yards of offense in the first half, the Chiefs found a little more room to run against Buc third-stringers in the third quarter, but still couldn't get the ball in the end zone. Meanwhile, one of two turnovers recorded by rookie LB Nate Webster resulted in a Buc touchdown and a 27-7 Tampa Bay lead.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

RB Aaron Stecker, who has been so consistently strong on kickoff returns, did it again to open the second half, running Todd Sauerbrun's kick back to the Bucs' 40. However, the Bucs couldn't move far, as two completions to TE Henry Lusk were good for just three yards and a third-down pass into tight coverage couldn't meet up with intended target Todd Yoder. Mark Royals punted 50 yards to the Chiefs' seven and Desmond Kitchings was surrounded at the 12.

Kansas City's First Drive

On first down, RB Frank Moreau swept right but was buried under an avalanche of Buc tacklers, including Tyoka Jackson, who had two first-half sacks. An offsides penalty set the Chiefs up with a second-and-11, which they appeared to convert with a nice slant to rookie WR Sylvester Morris. However, rookie S Jeff Popovich forced Morris to put the ball on the turf, and Webster scooped it up and returned it 24 yards to the three for Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

Not much to report here. It was Stecker time again, as the first-year back further helped his roster cause with a tough run up the middle for the necessary three yards on first down. Bucs 27, Chiefs 7.

Kansas City's Second Drive

The Chiefs saw a long kickoff return negated by another penalty, then watched Popovich break up a long pass over the middle on first down with a hard hit on Kirby Dar Dar just as the ball arrived. However, QB Warren Moon got it to Dar Dar on the next play in the left flat, and Dar Dar eluded CB Deshone Mallard to pick up 15 yards and a first down at the Chiefs' 32.

On the resulting first down, Moreau picked up just one yard up the middle, but the Chiefs struck gold on the next snap when Moon connected with Dar Dar for 42 yards down the left sideline and gained another 15 yards to the Bucs' 13 thanks to a roughing-the-passer penalty on Jackson. LB Jeff Gooch broke up Moon's next pass over the middle and a holding penalty pushed the Chiefs back 10 yards.

On second-and-20 from the 23, Moon tried to hit Kitchings on a post over the middle, but rookie LB Nate Webster dropped into the middle zone perfectly. Webster couldn't hold on for the interception, but he did force a third-and-20, which was shortened to third-and-15 by an offsides penalty. Jackson got pressure on Moon on the next snap, but the veteran QB dropped it off over the middle to Moreau, who picked up 11 yards to the seven. On fourth-and-three, Moon tried a quick slant to TE Troy Drayton but Popovich and Mallard prevented the completion and ended the drive.

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

That left the Bucs at their own seven, from where Stecker tried the middle twice with no luck. New QB Joe Hamilton found Yoder for two yards on third down, but the Bucs had to punt on fourth and eight. Kansas City ended up with the ball in Bucs' territory again at the 46, and they immediately launched into a precision drive led by QB Ted White.

Kansas City's Third Drive

White started by hitting Moreau on a screen pass and watching him ramble 20 yards to the Bucs' 27. Next, after a three-yard Moreau run, White found FB Chris Gall for three yards and handed off to RB Rashaan Shehee for a 10-yard burst up the middle on third-and-four. Moreau picked up two yards up the middle on first down from the 11, and a six-yard reception by Gall set up a third-and-two at the three.

The Chiefs tried to pick that up by sending Moreau up the middle, but the Chiefs' back fumbled at the point of impact and the loose ball bounced into the end zone and into Webster's waiting arms for a touchback.

Tampa Bay's Fourth Drive

The Bucs traded penalties to get the next possession started, losing five yards in the process while also negating a nice 17-yard run by Stecker. On first-and-15 from the 15, Hamilton dropped a quick screen pass off to WR Andre Hastings, who spun for five yards. Hamilton's next two passes were incomplete, forcing a Royals punt from the 20. Kitchings fielded the kick at the Chiefs' 35 and was tackled by Yo Murphy at the…34!

Kansas City's Third Drive

White started with a screen right to Moreau, but he dropped the ball. White's next pass was nearly intercepted by both David Gibson and Shelton Quarles and the Chiefs then jumped early on the next snap to make it third-and-15. Kansas City turned to another screen on third down, but Webster stopped Shehee seven yards short of the sticks. After another K.C. penalty, Nick Gallery lofted a 36-yard punt to Hastings, who returned it sharply up the right sideline all the way to the Bucs' 45

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

On the last play of the third quarter, Hamilton scrambled up the middle for six yards into Chiefs territory.

Fourth Quarter

The Bucs and Chiefs each scored one touchdown in the final period, which was fine by Tampa Bay, who walked away with a 37-14 win. K Martin Gramatica added his third field goal of the game and the Bucs had their most explosive win of the preseason.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

The Bucs opened the fourth quarter on the move at the Chiefs' 49. On a designed keeper, rookie QB Joe Hamilton dashed up the middle for eight yards and a first down at the '41. He then threw a quick out to TE Blake Spence, just claimed off waivers this past week, and followed with a 12-yard strike to Daniel Jones.

RB Aaron Stecker then tried the left end but got just one yard. After a false start penalty, Hamilton scrambled right under pressure and got those five yards back. On third-and-nine, CB Pat Dennis broke up a pass intended for Jones, setting up a 41-yard field goal try. Gramatica was good for the third time in three ties tonight. Bucs 30, Chiefs 7.

That led to a Buccaneer kickoff and, incredibly, another Tampa Bay score. TE Blake Spence caught Kitchings at the Chiefs' seven and forced another fumble. S David Gibson scooped up the loose ball and trotted two yards into the end zone for the score. Bucs 37, Chiefs 7.

Kansas City's First Drive

The Chiefs' offense finally produced a score in the fourth quarter, driving 75 yards without putting the ball in the air. Brian Shay got it going with a six yard run up the middle, then ran up the same lane for three more. On third-and-one, RB Frank Moreau made it around the left end and ran for 29 yards to the Bucs' 32. The next possession was an almost exact replay: runs of four and five yards by Shay and a 23-yard scamper around left end for a TD by Moreau. Bucs 37, Chiefs 14.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

WR Yo Murphy almost broke the next kickoff around the left side but was brought down by a nice foot tackle at the Bucs' 20. RB Rabih Abdullah got nothing on a quick run, and a false start led to second-and-15. Abdullah then dashed for 10 yards on a draw play and Hamilton converted the third down with a pass to rookie TE James Whalen.

Abdullah then blasted up the middle for 12 yards and another first down to the Bucs' 43. Tampa Bay put it back into his hands for two more runs, and he earned five and one yards on those totes. Hamilton looked for Whalen again on third down but it came up two yards short. Mark Royals punted into the Chiefs end zone for a touchback.

Kansas City's Second Drive

The Bucs weren't interested in letting the Chiefs further pad their stats, holding Shay to gains of four and three yards and breaking up Ted White's third-down pass to force a punt.

Tampa Bay gathered the ball at its own 26 and kneeled twice to end the game. Tampa Bay thus finished off a 37-14 win and a 3-1 preseason.

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