Review shows Bucs receiver gets both feet down for the deciding touchdown.
By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 25, 2002
TAMPA -- No need to review this: count Bucs receiver Joe Jurevicius among the proponents of the NFL's instant-replay system, which overturned a call to give him the deciding touchdown in Sunday's 21-7 victory against the Packers.
"God bless instant replay," said the fifth-year pro, whom officials ruled had gotten both feet down inbounds on a 4-yard touchdown catch from Brad Johnson in the third quarter. "That's the beauty of instant replay, when it works for you."
Initially, two officials on the left sideline ruled Jurevicius out of bounds. The Bucs offense had broken out of the huddle and come to the line for third and goal when a replay on the BucVision video board gave Tampa Bay enough evidence to challenge.
Jurevicius had lined up on the left side, one-on-one with Packers defensive back Tyrone Williams, and he caught Johnson's pass, barely tapping two feet inbounds before going out. Referee Johnny Grier, in announcing the reversal, said that Jurevicius had "dotted the i" with his second foot.
Trailing 7-6, the Bucs took possession on the Green Bay 18 after the first of two Brian Kelly interceptions. Three runs by Mike Alstott set up Jurevicius' catch, and a two-point conversion gave the Bucs a 14-7 lead. The catch looked pretty, he said, but it's something all the Bucs receivers can do.
"You get some easy ones and you get some difficult ones," Jurevicius said. "Our job's to go out and make them. There were a bunch of receivers on the sideline while I was out there who could have done the same thing."
Williams argued to officials that Jurevicius was juggling the ball as he went out of bounds, but that was the only thing of which Jurevicius was sure: he had possession. He didn't know if he got his feet inbounds but said that's the way to do it. If you look down to see where the sideline is, by the time you react, you're already out of bounds.
"I knew I caught the ball," Jurevicius said. "I'm on the sideline, and it just becomes habit, because (receivers coach) Richard Mann drills it in our heads: you tap your toe and drag your foot."
The touchdown capped a strong day for Jurevicius, who had three catches for 30 yards in the first half and finished with 41, matching a season high with five catches.
His first-half success coincided with the rough start by Keyshawn Johnson, who did not have a catch until his 39-yard reception with 11 seconds left in the half. Two of Jurevicius' catches came on the Bucs' third possession in the second quarter. Jurevicius caught a 9-yard pass after a false start backed the Bucs up to their 3, and he added a 12-yard reception on the same drive.
After five touchdown passes in his first fourseasons, he has two this season, including one in the season-opening loss to New Orleans.
"I felt pretty comfortable here after the first week, and I look forward to being here for awhile," said Jurevicius, who was drafted by the Giants and played for them before signing as an unrestricted free agent with Tampa Bay. "We all believe in one thing here, and when you have one common goal and a bunch of guys like we have, it makes everybody's life easier."
Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who applauded the reversal from the sideline, said several players were lobbying for a challenge. Mark Arteaga, assistant to head coach for football operations, tossed the red flag clear to the 15-yard line.
"We were all sitting right there on top of Mark Arteaga," Sapp said. "It wasn't me that said to review it. I think it was (quarterback Shaun) King, and Mark whipped out that flag and threw it. Lovely. I was joking with the ref, I told him: "You missed that one. You want to bet?' He didn't want to bet."