St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

McNabb's early escape run sets tone for Bucs' defeat

The Eagles QB displays elusiveness again, especially on an early 39-yard run.

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 13, 2002

Flash game gallery

Photo gallery

Bucs page

Message board

PHILADELPHIA -- He is what he is. Quick, ingenious, crafty and, well ... quick.

For the second straight season, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb tore the heart out of the Bucs.

For the second straight season, the Bucs went in aware of how much he likes to move in the pocket and how willing he is to improvise. And for the second straight year, they were incapable of doing anything about it.

Tampa Bay lost 31-9 at Veterans Stadium on Saturday and the Eagles earned the right to celebrate. But make no mistake, McNabb was a big part of beating the Bucs.

"He made unbelievable plays and is an unbelievable athlete," Bucs free safety Dexter Jackson said. "He gets away from trouble I have never, ever seen another player get away from.

"He's a new-school quarterback and there are a lot of quarterbacks like that where they can get away so easily and be so mobile. That's him. He was amazing. We had him so many times and couldn't bring him down."

Added defensive tackle Warren Sapp: "McNabb makes them special. Let's keep this real. He is what makes them go."

And he did from the first few moments.

Take the sixth play from scrimmage for the Eagles. Tampa Bay's defense, which had played so well in the final weeks of the season, had forced a Philadelphia turnover and on the next possession had the Eagles facing third and 5 at their 39.

The Bucs brought their pass rushers up both sides of McNabb and somehow left the middle open. McNabb stepped into a Grand Canyon-sized opening, turned right and bolted 39 yards for the first down.

To polish off the moment, Jackson was called for hitting McNabb out of bounds, adding a 15-yard penalty. That sequence led to the Eagles' first points and set the tone.

"He's back there running around, running around," Bucs cornerback Donnie Abraham said. "Today he made plays, kept plays alive when we had them dead. That's what it came down to."

Added Pro Bowl cornerback Ronde Barber: "He's a one-man wrecking crew."

McNabb was 16-of-25 for 194 yards and two touchdowns. He added four rushes for 57 yards. Not bad, said Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice, who has been friends with McNabb since high school and appeared to be the only Buc who could get to the quarterback.

"He's been doing it his whole career," Rice said. "He's a great athlete who can run. He came up big. You have to give it to him. We lost, they won. It's extremely disappointing for me."

Equally disappointing for the Bucs was how they handled McNabb once he was out of the pocket.

"I don't want to say the wrong things, but you have to look at where the breakdowns were at," cornerback Brian Kelly said. "We knew coming in that he was going to want to run with the ball. We knew it was his thing. He was just running around and all of a sudden he was taking off. We knew that's what he had been doing for the Eagles for the past two years."

Barber said the time McNabb had to throw was a factor.

"They found time to throw the ball," he said. "When you have time to throw the ball like that, the zones break down, the man-to-man breaks down. Give them credit, they outplayed us. We're going home and they are not."

Added middle linebacker Jamie Duncan: "I thought this was one of best weeks for preparing. We were on it. Man. I just can't put my finger on it. It's the weirdest thing. I knew we were coming here to shut these guys down. He made a couple of plays, as expected, but a couple of those runs ... wow."

Back to Sports

Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

  • Dungy's wins and losses
  • Bucs -- Before Tony/With Tony
  • The playoffs
  • Eagles quotebook
  • Game balls
  • Free agent Dunn ponders Dungy, backfield issues
  • Playoffs, Buccaneer offense not friendly
  • Bucs tried to block out distractions
  • Bucs bites
  • Gimme Five
  • McNabb's early escape run sets tone for Bucs' defeat
  • Bucs quotebook
  • Eagles fans find nest in Tampa

  • NFL playoffs
  • Ravens at least still talking like champions
  • Baltimore defense discovering its form
  • Minding their own business

  • NHL
  • Lightning loses close one again
  • Newcomer might move
  • Isles cool off after their hot opening

  • Colleges
  • Showing fire while under fire
  • UF: Coming and Going
  • Jackson, Bernard carry Bulls on road
  • Sloppy, short-handed, UF hangs on

  • Rays
  • Devil Rays Schedule
  • Contraction could help Tampa Bay

  • Preps
  • Knights finally get first win
  • Eagles barely defend Batista title
  • Team of six bests Panthers
  • Crusaders no match for Barons
  • Springstead barely defends Dr. Batista title
  • Green Devils' unity prevails

  • Sports etc.
  • Florida Gulf Beaches Marathon
  • Spurrier's timing is suspect
  • Tennis: Players to watch
  • Searching for past magic with coach
  • Rings and things

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts