Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Mojo City

The Buccaneers conquered their Silverdome hex and defeated the Lions 31-10 to remain undefeated


G Randall McDaniel's first career TD catch was the most unusual of the Bucs' four touchdowns

How seriously has the mojo in the Motor City affected the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Not much if you ask Tampa Bay's Head Coach, Tony Dungy? Quite a bit if you consider that the Buccaneers' 31-10 victory over the Detroit Lions actually seemed close until the closing seconds.

Tampa Bay's unmatched defense was again nearly impenetrable, allowing only one touchdown and a total of 243 yards. However, that score, a 50-yard bomb to WR Germane Crowell as time expired, followed by a rousing goal-line stand by Detroit in the third quarter helped give the illusion that the outcome was in doubt.

When the dust had settled and the heartpounding had eased, however, it was clear that the Buccaneers had dominated another opponent. Tampa Bay exactly matched its point-scoring average from the first two weeks, racked up 331 yards of offense and came up with the only three turnovers of the game.

The Bucs also outrushed the Lions, 120-17, converted 10 of their 16 third down tries, racked up seven more sacks (for 18 on the season), blocked one punt and deflected another and generally made life miserable for QB Charlie Batch, who came into the game with three wins in three tries against Tampa Bay.

How did the Bucs, who had lost their last two games in Detroit by a combined score of 47-9, affect this remarkable turnaround? Well, besides being an obviously improved team on offense, the Buccaneers did exactly what Dungy had suggested to get the crowd out of the game: get an early lead.

The Bucs looked like they might fall prey to their usual Silverdome pattern at the beginning of the game when Lions return man Desmond Howard took the opening kickoff all the way back to the Bucs' 38. However, the stalwart Bucs' defense forced the Lions' into a field goal attempt, which Jason Hanson hit from 38 yards away.

The Bucs answered, however, thanks to their own big return, a 42-yard punt runback by WR Karl Williams to the Lions' 18. Four plays later, QB Shaun King took the ball in himself from six yards out by sneaking directly up the middle.

Tampa Bay extended its lead to 14-3 seven minutes later when a six-play, 65-yard drive concluded in a typical Mike Alstott pinball touchdown run. Most of the drive's yardage was gained on a spectacular 43-yard King-to-WR Jacquez Green pass that immediately preceded Alstott's run.

The Buccaneers appeared in danger of running away with the game in the second quarter when another unusual play from offensive coordinator Les Steckel's bag of tricks paid off. The Bucs drove 60 yards on eight plays to get a touchdown, with the seventh play being a gain of no yards by Alstott from the two. The next snap looked exactly the same, but this time King faked the handoff and threw to 290-pound G Randall McDaniel, who was in to play fullback in the Bucs' jumbo package.

Just minutes later, a blocked punt by LB Alshermond Singleton set the Bucs up for a 38-yard field goal try and seemingly salted the game away. However, Martin Gramatica missed the kick and, amazingly, the Lions used the final 16 seconds of the half to score their only touchdown. With seven seconds and the ball at midfield, Batch stepped up in the pocket and lofted a high pass downfield. Just as S Damien Robinson appeared ready to intercept the desperation pass, WR Germane Crowell cut in front of him and caught it for a 50-yard score.

The Bucs had the possession to open the second half and immediately set off on an epic 19-play, 75-yard drive that ate nearly 10 minutes off the clock. Still, the Lions' momentum swing continued when seven plays from the goal line failed to net a Buccaneer touchdown. Tampa Bay actually went for it on fourth down and appeared to score the touchdown on a pass to TE Dave Moore, but it was called back by an illegal substitution penalty.

The Bucs' settled for a field goal and the din in the Silverdome began to rise again. Fortunately, the Tampa Bay defense never let Detroit near the end zone again and the Bucs were able to wear away their opponents in the late going.

Some individual performances not mentioned above were crucial to the Bucs' victory. DT Warren Sapp had three of the Bucs' seven sacks. WR Keyshawn Johnson had a team high eight receptions for 84 yards, his highs as a Buccaneer. CB Ronde Barber deflected one John Jett punt and recovered the ball after Singleton's block.

For the third straight week, it was clearly a full-team effort for the 3-0 Buccaneers.

Buccaneers.com provided detailed accounts of each play as the game transpired, posting them after each quarter in the gameday section. Those accounts follow to provide a deeper look at the Bucs' most impressive road victory in some time.

First Quarter

Despite serious problems on kickoff returns, the Bucs jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter at Detroit, silencing an initially raucous Silverdome crowd. Two rushing touchdowns gave Tampa Bay a 14-3 lead.

Tampa Bay lost the coin toss for the first time this season, meaning the Bucs' defense would take the field first. That turned out to be a damaging turn of events, as Lions return man Desmond Howard took Martin Gramatica's opening kick one yard deep and returned it all the way to the Bucs' 28.

Detroit's First Drive

Detroit got going on first down with a quick out to WR Germane Crowell, who picked up four yards before CB Donnie Abraham bumped him out of bounds. QB Charlie Batch then found a wide-open David Sloan on second down and the tight end picked up 13 yards to the Bucs' 21.

The Lions then went to the ground with RB James Stewart, but S John Lynch came around the right end to stop Stewart for a gain of just two. Batch faked a handoff to Stewart on second down and rolled right, but the Buccaneer coverage was tight and Sloan dropped a quick pass over the middle. On third and eight, CB Brian Kelly shot off the left end on a blitz and hit Batch as he started to throw, causing an incompletion.

That led to a Jason Hanson field goal attempt from 38 yards out, and Jason Hanson nailed it. Detroit 3, Tampa Bay 0.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

The Bucs were less effective on their first kickoff return, as RB Aaron Stecker downed Hanson's kickoff two yards deep in the end zone.

Tampa Bay thus began its first possession at its own 20 yard line, and they got off to a quick start when FB Mike Alstott took a quick handoff and blasted up the middle for six yards. On second down, WR Keyshawn Johnson ran six yards off the line and stopped and QB Shaun King hit him for a first down.

Now at the 32, King dropped back on first down and hit WR Jacquez Green on the left sideline for five yards. Alstott got the call on second down and pounded up the middle for three more. On third-and-two, RB Warrick Dunn released from the backfield and found an open zone in the right flat, where King hit him for nine more yards and another first down.

King's next pass from near midfield was overthrown and through TE Dave Moore's hands, then nearly intercepted by a Lions' defensive back. The Bucs tried a delayed handoff to Dunn on the next snap but LB Stephen Boyd sniffed it out and stopped Dunn for no gain. Now in a third-and-ten, King took a shotgun snap but threw incomplete. That led to a Mark Royals' punt Kelly downed at the Lions' four yard line.

Detroit's Second Drive

Backed up against their own end zone, the Lions decided to stick to the ground, handing off to Stewart and getting seven yards for the effort before Lynch put Stewart on the ground. Stewart appeared to have a hole off right tackle on second down but was stopped rather abruptly by LB Jamie Duncan. Stewart gained one yard, leading to third-and-two, and the Lions tried a pitch to Stewart on the right side. Stewart bobbled the pitch but recovered, allowing the Bucs to catch him for a loss of four.

P John Jett hit a boomer that drove return man Karl Williams back all the way to the Bucs' 43, but Williams gave the Bucs incredible field position by returning it 42 yards, all the way to the Lions' 18. CB Jimmy Wyrick caught Williams from behind to prevent a touchdown.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

Tampa Bay immediately got into first and goal when King's first down pass to Johnson was caught for a gain of 12 yards. On first down from the six, the Bucs handed off to Alstott, but the Lions' defense was all over it, stopping the big fullback for no gain.

On second down, King rolled right and tried to throw short to Johnson, but it was out of the receiver's reach. On third-and-goal, King lined up under center with an empty backfield, dropped back two steps, then shot up the middle himself for a six-yard touchdown. S Kurt Schulz hit King at about the two, but the gritty Bucs' QB dove in for the score. Tampa Bay 7, Detroit 3.

Detroit's Third Drive

The Bucs tried a low, bouncing kickoff this time, but Howard caught it on one hop while moving forward and brought it back to the Lions' 38.

Batch faked a handoff to Stewart on first down and fired to Herman Moore, who made an acrobatic diving catch despite tight coverage from CB Donnie Abraham for a gain of 13. The next pass also went in Moore's direction, but it went through his hands for an incompletion. After a holding penalty, the Lions faced a second-and-20 and they gained 11 of those yards back with a pass over the middle to Sloan.

On third-and-nine, Batch took a shotgun snap and was sacked by a swarm of Bucs, but the Lions got a reprieve thanks to a face-mask penalty. With a down to replay it, the Lions had no more success, thanks to a monster blitz off the right by both Ronde Barber and Shelton Quarles. Barber batted the pass in the air to force a punt. With Jett back to kick, here came Barber again, getting around the protection to deflect the punt. The kick did roll over the line of scrimmage, but only to the Bucs' 35.

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

The Bucs continued to move the ball on their next possession, handing off to Alstott and watching him pinball up the middle for nine yards. Alstott converted the first down on the next snap with another blast up the gut, this one for six yards to midfield.

Alstott released on the next play and caught a pass in the flat but was stopped by LB Chris Claiborne for a gain of just three. The Lions got good pressure on a blitz on second down, forcing King to roll right and throw incomplete. On third-and-seven, King took a shotgun snap and threw a deep pass to WR Jacquez Green. Green momentarily slowed, then accelerated past the cornerback and caught the ball at his knees for a 42-yard gain.

It took only one play from there. Alstott took a quick handoff up the middle and got to the two, was momentarily stopped, then pushed forward to get into the end zone for his fourth touchdown of 2000. Tampa Bay 14, Detroit 3.

Detroit's Fourth Drive

Of course, that led to the Bucs' scariest situation, a kickoff return by Howard, and sure enough the superb returner took this one all the way to the Bucs' 24 before Gramatica forced him out of bounds.

A 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty made it first-and-15, and Batch scrambled for three yards on first down. Stewart tried the left side but got only two yards to force a third-and-10, and that's where the quarter ended.

Second Quarter

The half certainly ended in a disappointing fashion for the Buccaneers as Detroit scored on the last play before the intermission. Still, the second quarter was a wash, with each team scoring one touchdown and the Bucs maintaining their 11-point lead.

Detroit's First Drive

The Lions opened with a third-and-10 at the 24, and this time picked up the Bucs' blitz, leading to an 11-yard completion to WR Herman Moore. Stewart got nothing on first down from the Bucs' 13, but a quick pass to him over middle picked up five yards. On third-and-five, DT Warren Sapp came straight up the middle for a quick sack of QB Charlie Batch.

That forced the Lions into another field goal attempt, this one from 34 yards out. This one sailed wide left and the Bucs once again thwarted a serious scoring attempt.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

After the missed field goal, the Bucs started on their own 25. QB Shaun King found no one open on a play-action pass on first down, so he took off up the middle and picked up four yards. RB Warrick Dunn went off left tackle on second down but got only one yard. However, King zipped a quick slant pass to WR Keyshawn Johnson for six yards and a first down.

Returning to a play that had already worked several times – lining up with Mike Alstott in the fullback slot ahead of Dunn but handing off quickly to Alstott – the Bucs gained 15 yards as Alstott rambled through the secondary.

Warrick Dunn found nowhere to go around the right end on first down, and a holding penalty further complicated matters. On first-and-20, King threw a receiver screen to Reidel Anthony, who picked up six yards before being knocked out of bounds. A quick out to Johnson on the left sideline netted only three yards, and the Bucs called timeout on third-and-11. After the timeout, a screen pass to Dunn picked up only seven yards and the Bucs were forced to punt. Howard fair caught the kick at the Lions' 16.

Detroit's Second Drive

Stewart tried the middle on first down but got only one yard. After a six-yard completion to FB Cory Schlesinger, Batch threw to Moore on the left side but Moore hit the ground a yard short of the sticks. Jett got off another fine, high kick and WR Karl Williams called for a fair catch at the Bucs' 40.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

The Bucs put the ball back in Alstott's good hands on first down, but he found the middle clogged and got only one yard. King faked it to Alstott on the next snap and looked left, but the coverage was tight and King threw it out of bounds to set up third-and-nine.

King converted that third down, and how. With a serious blitz in his face, King lofted a perfect timing pass to Dunn deep over the middle and Dunn took it for a gain of 38 to the Lions' 21. King then rolled right on first down and threw to WR Jacquez Green on the sideline. Green made a fine catch and kept both feet in bounds for an eight yard gain.

The next snap was predictable but welcome, as Alstott got the handoff and rumbled up the middle to the Lions' five. After a timeout, Alstott got the call again but couldn't find a gap and was stopped for no gain. On second down, King tried a fade pass to Johnson, and even though it was unsuccessful, a roughing the passer penalty gave the Bucs a new set of downs at the Lions' two.

The Bucs then made the obvious call, putting in the jumbo package and handing off to Alstott, but the Lions stopped it on first down. If you thought the Bucs would try Alstott again, well, so did everyone in the Silverdome. However, coordinator Les Steckel reached back into his bag of tricks and pulled out a doozy.

G Randall McDaniel, acting as the fullback in the Bucs' jumbo package, released on the right side and was wide open in the end zone. King threw a high pass in his direction, and the 290-pound McDaniel made a fine, two-handed grab at his eye level. Tampa Bay 21, Detroit 3.

Detroit's Third Drive

Batch came out throwing with the clock ticking down to two minutes. A quick toss over the middle picked up 11 yards, and another pass to TE David Sloan netted 16 more. On first down, Batch threw over the middle again to WR Johnnie Morton, picking up eight more to the Lions' 46.

On second down, Batch threw to the left to get eight more out of Moore, but his resulting first-down pass deep down the right sideline was overthrown and nearly picked off by S John Lynch. The next snap was even worse for the Lions when DE Marcus Jones caught Batch for an eight-yard sack back to the Detroit 46.

Severe pressure again on third down forced Batch to scramble right and he couldn't find an open receiver, throwing incomplete. The Lions were forced to punt again.

For the second time in this game, the Bucs' punt rush made it through the coverage and this time finished the job. LB Al Singleton blocked the kick right off Jett's foot and CB Ronde Barber recovered at the Lions' 30.

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

King came out throwing with about 50 seconds on the clock, but his first pass was just out of the reach of Green, who tripped on the defender's feet. King then gave a delayed handoff to Dunn, who zipped up the middle for nine yards. King dropped back with an empty backfield on third and one but found no one open in the end zone and threw it away to preserve the field goal try. Martin Gramatica missed with 16 seconds remaining.

Detroit's Fourth Drive

With 16 seconds remaining, Batch threw over the middle for a 22-yard completion to Morton, and the Lions called timeout at midfield with seven ticks left on the clock. Batch took that opportunity to drop back, move up in front of the pressure and throw a deep ball downfield. Germane Crowell caught it as he crossed the goal line to score the Lions' first touchdown of the game. Tampa Bay 21, Detroit 10.

Third Quarter

Tampa Bay scored the only points of the third period but Detroit clearly gained the momentum. A drive of nearly 10 minutes by Tampa Bay to open the half included three consecutive first-and-goal series, but never found the end zone. The Bucs' settled for a field goal and finished the third period leading 24-10.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

After RB Aaron Stecker's kickoff return got the Bucs started at their own 16, RB Warrick Dunn took a pitch to the left side and cut inside one Lions defender to gain six yards. QB Shaun King then gave the Bucs a new set of downs by hitting WR Keyshawn Johnson for six more yards on the right side.

FB Mike Alstott got the next handoff and fell for one yard inside a crowded middle. On second down, Dunn got the carry up the middle and was able to slide past a Lion at the line of scrimmage to pick up three yards. The third-and-six snap took care of matters when King scrambled up the middle for seven yards and a first down.

The pocket collapsed on King on a play-action pass on first down, so he fired a quick outlet to TE Patrick Hape, who let it slip through his hands. The second down pass was just of Johnson's reach, setting up another third down.

King was up to the task again. Standing in the pocket for what seemed like an eternity, King finally lofted a floater to a wide-open Johnson near the right sideline. Johnson kept it in bounds for a gain of 38 down to the Lions' 20-yard line.

FB Mike Alstott pushed the Bucs into the red zone on first down with a three-yard bruiser off right tackle. With the blitz coming from the left side, King smartly zipped a quick pass to Johnson on the right, but it went through his hands for an incompletion, setting up third-and-seven.

And for the fourth straight time, King converted, throwing a bullet under pressure to WR Reidel Anthony at the Lions' six. That gave the Bucs' first-and-goal, and the first snap resulted in an incompletion when King threw it away under pressure. On second down, King threw quickly to Johnson, but the receiver was wrapped up at the three, setting up yet another third down.

This time, the Bucs didn't have to convert on third down. King rolled right and tried to find Johnson in the back of the end zone, but CB Bryant Westbrook interfered, giving the Bucs a first down at the one. Amazingly, the Bucs tried the release pass to G Randall McDaniel, but McDaniel couldn't hold on to a pass slightly behind him.

On second down, Alstott was tripped up trying to cut behind left tackle, setting up yet another third down, this one from the two. And yet again, a penalty saved the Bucs. King threw a very quick pass to TE Dave Moore in the middle, but the ball was dropped. However, DE Robert Porcher was flagged for roughing the passer, and the Bucs had another first down at the one.

The Bucs tried Alstott again in this epic war, but the fullback's dive off left tackle was stopped just short. Detroit was then forced into a timeout with confusion on defense. King tried a sneak on second down but the Bucs got no push. Alstott tried to dive over the middle again on third down and once again was met at the top.

The Bucs chose to go for it on fourth down and converted with a pass to TE Dave Moore, but an illegal substitution penalty erased the score. After a long argument on the sideline and a Buccaneer timeout, Tampa Bay settled for Martin Gramatica's 24-yard field goal. Tampa Bay 24, Detroit 10.

Detroit's First Drive

The downside to that score for Tampa Bay was the resulting need to kick off to return man Desmond Howard, who was having a phenomenal afternoon. The Bucs caught him at the 25 this time.

The Lions, seemingly buoyed by the goal-line turn of events, came out firing with an 11-yard swing pass to RB James Stewart. At the Detroit 37, QB Charlie Batch then was forced into a quick dumpoff by a nice checkoff on the part of the Buccaneers' defense. The one-yard pass to Stewart made it second and nine.

The Bucs blitzed on second down and Batch's desperate throw zipped right into and off of LB Jamie Duncan's chest. The Buc defense swarmed Batch under for an apparent sack on third down, but a personal-foul face-mask penalty gave Detroit a first down at the Bucs' 48.

Stewart got the handoff on first down and got three yards to the 45. A quick pass to Herman Moore on the line of scrimmage picked up the necessary seven yards for another first down. A slower cadence on the next snap threw off the Bucs' blitz and Batch found WR Brian Stablein for a five-yard catch on the left sideline.

DT Anthony McFarland got those five yards back with a sack of Batch on second down. On third-and-ten, the Lions were called for a false start, making it third-and-15. Great coverage downfield on the next snap allowed McFarland and DE Chidi Ahanotu to trap Batch for a 13-yard sack.

John Jett's punt trapped WR Karl Williams at the 15.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

The third quarter ended on Tampa Bay's first play of the possession, a one-yard run off left tackle by Dunn.

Fourth Quarter

The final quarter began with the Bucs nervously protecting a two-touchdown lead, but it ended with Tampa Bay up by three scores. The Bucs scored the only points of the fourth period, shutting out the Lions in the second half to win 31-10.

Tampa Bay's First Drive

On second-and-nine, RB Warrick Dunn sliced up the middle for seven yards to make it third-and-one. Detroit then swarmed FB Mike Alstott in the backfield, forcing a punt. Mark Royals' high, hanging kick was fair caught by Desmond Howard at the Lions' 37, and a tripping penalty on the Lions pushed the spot back to the 27.

Detroit's First Drive

Germane Crowell got a nine-yard pass from QB Charlie Batch on first down, but LB Derrick Brooks knifed into the backfield for a stop on RB James Stewart on second down that resulted in a two-yard loss. On third-and-three, the Lions committed another false start penalty, making it third-and-eight, but Batch had good protection on the next snap and was able to find TE David Sloan for 13 yards and a first down.

The next play began and ended at almost the same place, but covered a lot of ground in between. Batch's pass attempt to Sloan deep over the middle sailed over Sloan's head, was slightly deflected by S Damien Robinson and ended up in the hands of S John Lynch. Lynch returned it all the way to the Lions' 37.

Tampa Bay's Second Drive

The drive got off to a good start when an offsides penalty on Detroit led to a first-and-five at the 32. Dunn then got the handoff on a sweep left and beat the first man but couldn't find a lane and was stopped for no gain. QB Shaun King found WR Keyshawn Johnson on second down, picking up 10 yards to the 22 and another first down.

FB Mike Alstott took the next handoff up the middle and wasn't stopped until he had picked up seven yards. Alstott danced down the line on second down but was tripped up for no gain. Dunn got the call on third down and swept right, juking two Lions defenders and diving forward for five yards and a first down.

First down was Alstott time again, and he weaved around in traffic on the right side to pick up six yards down to the four. Another Alstott run up the gut netted three and a third down at the one. The Bucs took a different approach on third down this time, handing off to Dunn who took it off left tackle for his first touchdown of the season. Tampa Bay 31, Detroit 10.

Detroit's Second Drive

Desmond Howard took the next kickoff from the goal line to the Lions' 25, with 5:30 left on the clock.

Stewart picked up five yards on a well-executed screen pass on first down, and Batch's next pass to Crowell picked up 14 more for a first down at the 44. Batch was then swarmed under by a Warren Sapp sack on the next play, and the Lions called a timeout.

Batch experienced severe pressure again on the next snap, but he got off a quick pass to WR Johnnie Morton. Morton caught the ball with one hand but then coughed it up while being tackled. LB Shelton Quarles recovered at the Bucs' 49.

Tampa Bay's Third Drive

RB Aaron Stecker came in to help the Bucs run out the last four and a half minutes. His first carry, a sweep left, fooled no one and resulted in a four-yard loss. Stecker made some nice moves on his next carry but still lost one yard, then shed a tackle on third down to dart up the middle for seven yards. On fourth-and-eight, the Bucs punted.

Detroit's Third Drive

Howard took Royals' short punt on the run and got it back to the Lions' 36. Batch fired over the middle to FB Brock Olivo for 14 yards on first down as the Bucs' defense sagged to kill the clock. TE Alfred Pupunu picked up five yards on the next pass, but Batch's subsequent pass hit a Lions' linemen, resulting in a five-yard penalty.

Batch's next pass was in the direction of an open Johnnie Morton, but it was thrown behind the receiver and incomplete. On third-and-ten, Batch's pass was caught by a diving Crowell for eight yards, setting up fourth-and-two. Detroit called a timeout.

Batch's final pass appeared to be a miscommunication, and the ball went directly into CB Donnie Abraham's hands. A short return and one quick kneel-down and the game was over.

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