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Bucs sideline

By ROGER MILLS and DARRELL FRY
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 6, 2002


A game is a game

Tonight's game against the Eagles might be meaningless in the standings and the playoff pairings, but it still is a regular-season game and that, quarterback Brad Johnson said, counts for something.

"There's a reason why you're in this league and there's a reason why you stay in this league and that's because you work hard and prepare well and play well," Johnson said. "I want to go out there and do the same thing and come out with a win. Whether you play one series, or a full game, you have to go out and play your best. "There are a lot of reasons why you want to win 10. It makes a difference. It sounds better. Plus, Tampa Bay has had one of the best homefield advantages throughout the last few years. It's probably one of the toughest places to play and that goes on your record. People forget about it three or four years from now but it makes a difference now."

Should the veteran start tonight, he likely will play one quarter, it'll mark only the second time in 10 years he has played all 16 games.

"If they say play a whole game, you play a whole game," Johnson said. "Every time you play is very precious, so you never take a down or a game for granted."

FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING

0: sacks given up by Bucs offensive line the past two games.

11: touchdowns for Mike Alstott entering tonight.

26: third-down receptions for Warrick Dunn, second in the NFC.

62.5: sacks for Simeon Rice in six seasons.

290: yards on the ground the Bucs have gained the past two games.

MEMORIES, MEMORIES

It was arguably one of the more disappointing days in Bucs playoff history and by the end the team had a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator. The Bucs traveled one day ahead of a snowstorm only to get plowed by the Eagles 21-3 at Veteran's Stadium in a wild- card playoff game on Dec. 31, 2000. That opening-round loss will be remembered mostly for the Bucs' struggles on offense. Tampa Bay managed 199 yards. It had 50 rushing yards on 19 carries and quarterback Shaun King was 17-for-31 for 171 yards and no touchdowns. It was the second playoff game in a row the Bucs failed to score a touchdown.

THAT'S INTERESTING

The Bucs, the Rams and the Dolphins are the only teams to make it to the playoffs each of the past three seasons.

THE LAST WORD

"I'm always looking for positives. I wasn't real excited to come down there (in Week 2) when it was 120 degrees, to be honest with you. I'm kind of a chubby guy and I sweat a lot, so I'm welcoming that 50 degrees and sunshine, but that 120 I could do without." -- Eagles coach Andy Reid talking about his preference to play at Tampa Bay in the season finale as opposed to Week 2 in September when the game was originally scheduled.

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