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By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 6, 2002

Defense begins to jell during winning streak

No doubt the offense has made some steady strides since the opener, but consider the defensive stats through its three-game winning streak: the Bucs defense has seven turnovers, 11 sacks, three touchdowns and a safety. Tampa Bay also has limited the three opponents to seven points a game and an average of 233 yards of offense.

"We're jelling pretty well," linebacker Shelton Quarles said. "The linebackers are playing pretty good. Our front four has been awesome. They are rushing the passers and not giving them very much time to get the balls off. When we can do that and sit back in Cover 2 zones and just tee off, we're at our best."

-- In the offseason, Falcons second-year quarterback Michael Vick spent time with former 49ers quarterback Steve Young, who shared some of the secrets of being a mobile, left-handed quarterback. Young's advice appears to have had an effect. Vick enters today's game with a streak of 105 attempts without an interception. Through seven games at the Georgia Dome, Vick has not thrown an interception, a streak of 113 passes.

-- James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, will perform at the Georgia Dome after today's game. The Bucs are 1-0 in stadiums preceding concerts. On Nov. 2, 1997, they beat the Colts 31-28 in Indianapolis before a LeAnn Rimes concert.


It seems the Bucs could put together a decent basketball team. Tight end Rickey Dudley (6-6, 255 pounds) started at Ohio State, quarterback Brad Johnson (6-5, 230) started at FSU and defensive end Simeon Rice (6-5, 268) scrimmages with Michael Jordan in the offseason. Add to the mix receiver Joe Jurevicius (6-5, 235), tight end Ken Dilger (6-5, 250) and cornerback Dwight Smith (5-10, 210), all of whom allegedly have game, and the Bucs could dominate various charity events.

And where would the outside shots come from?

"I've never really lost at horse," Johnson said. "Only my dad can beat me because he's got a hook shot, and my grandmother because she can hit a granny shot."


The Bucs intercepted Chris Chandler four times, had four sacks, blocked a punt and pulled off a fake punt to cruise to a 27-14 victory in Atlanta on Nov. 5, 2000. Keyshawn Johnson caught two touchdowns and Warrick Dunn had 77 yards on 18 carries as the Bucs opened with a 14-0 lead and scored 10 points in the fourth.


0: NFC starting quarterbacks with a higher rating that Atlanta's Michael Vick (101.1).

77.5: rushing yards per game for the Bucs, up from 69.7 last weekend.

148.3: rushing yards per game for the Falcons.

965: passing yards for Brad Johnson during the first quarter of the season, putting him on pace for 3,860.

23,000: season-ticket seats in the Georgia Dome available from $100 to $240 (last season they were $300-$360).


"We've got to play explosively. We've got to play fast. ... The guy's a terrific player and he's making plays all over the field and they're doing a good job putting him in situations that showcase his talent. But, we've got to play our game and I like our chances." -- Bucs Pro Bowl safety John Lynch on dealing with Vick.

Back to the Bucs

Today's lineup


  • What a rush
  • D making its opponents disappear
  • High Profile -- T.J. DUCKETT
  • For fun, bring handcuffs and a snake
  • Chucky's Chalk Talk
  • Side line

  • Rays
  • Manager hunt isn't a battle

  • Lightning
  • Modin anxious to slap back into good form of 2000-01
  • Khabibulin shows how it's done
  • Lightning: 10 questions/answers exiting camp

  • Other sports

    College football
  • MISS-Fortunate
  • Quick TD strikes keep Irish perfect
  • Bulls earn road win
  • 'Canes easily extend unbeaten streak (27)
  • Brown's Gessner ties mark: 24 catches
  • Around the state
  • Top TE doesn't start
  • Grossman loses uninspiring battle
  • Another loss by Florida yields another team's goal post party
  • Florida: By the numbers
  • South Florida: By the numbers
  • Verpaele picks his spots well
  • Bulls break out of the gate quickly
  • Big 12: With OU ahead, Texas outlasts Oklahoma St.
  • ACC: Wake Forest grounds out road win
  • C-USA: Pirates run wild on Army
  • Pac-10: Cal QB Boller ends Huskies' domination
  • Big East: Pitt snaps 11-game skid against Syracuse
  • Around the nation
  • SEC: Vols use six overtimes to knock off Arkansas
  • Big Ten: QB Mills leads Penn State despite sprained shoulder

  • Baseball playoffs
  • Both champs ousted
  • Twins prove to be survivors yet again
  • NL: Selig promises end to late playoff starts
  • AL: Twins forced to try to outfox Mulder
  • Karros may be done as a full-timer
  • Cardinals knock out champs
  • Maddux helps put Braves in control
  • Angelic upstarts finish Yanks

  • Motorsports
  • Earnhardt Jr. can't outrun inevitable growing pains
  • Showers ensure Kanaan's pole spot
  • In single file, and stay there
  • Drivers, chiefs like the small gas tanks as attempt at safety

  • NFL
  • Steelers give Maddox a shot
  • NFL Game Day: Week 5
  • Spurrier to start Wuerffel

  • Golf
  • Mayfair one back of Jobe

  • NHL
  • Thrashers end preseason with win

  • Boxing
  • Montana KOs Smith

  • Et cetera
  • Highs and Lows

  • Preps
  • Eagles stay positive despite five losses
  • Howard returns to defend title
  • Wildcats continue to duel

  • Outdoors
  • Hardcore wader has much info to share
  • Daily fishing report

  • Letters
  • McRae wasn't the problem, it's LaMar
  • Back to Top

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