By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 15, 2002
K. Johnson looking to duplicate first Buc TD
It may have been one of the most memorable and important games of last season for the Bucs and receiver Keyshawn Johnson. With 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Johnson made a leaping, acrobatic catch in the front corner of the end zone to give the Bucs a 15-12 victory against the Lions on Dec. 9 at Raymond James Stadium.
The catch not only lifted the Bucs to a 7-5 record, it gave Johnson his only touchdown of the season.
The Bucs chased around Lions rookie quarterback Mike McMahon, sacked him three times and held Detroit to 253 total yards.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay generated 356 yards of offense and Johnson finished with 10 catches for 101 yards.
SOME INSIDE STUFF
-- He normally is a mild-mannered guy whose emotional expressions are limited to a fist-pump touchdown celebration. But Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson isn't afraid to get into a scrap. With the Redskins, Johnson was involved in an altercation with Lions defensive end Robert Porcher. That, Johnson said, is behind him.
"Yeah, we kind of went at it a few years ago, back in 1999, but that's over with now," Johnson said. "We do have respect for each other. I guess that kind of signified respect.
"We've faced each other (since). We will go at it in the game and shake hands afterward."
-- Though the Lions are 3-10, the Bucs have made it a point not to look ahead. After the Lions, the Bucs finish at home against Pittsburgh (Dec. 23) and play the Bears Dec. 29 in Champaign, Ill.
"That stuff's going to take care of itself," receiver Joe Jurevicius said.
"We're not going anywhere without getting past Detroit first. We have to focus and take the next leap."
-- The Bucs weren't the only team busy in the free-agent market during the offseason. Detroit signed nine free agents, including former Bucs linebacker Jeff Gooch, Rams receiver/returner Az-Zahir Hakim, Dolphins safety Brian Walker and 49ers guard Ray Brown.
DIGGIN' THE DIGS
Ford Field, the Lions' new digs in downtown Detroit, is the latest stadium gem in the NFL. The facility, which seats 65,000 and has a steel-structured retractable roof, cost $500-million, $350-million of which came from private funding.
16: sacks given up by the Lions this season, lowest in the NFL.
68: consecutive starts for Bucs safety John Lynch, who is questionable today with a sprained neck.
73: sacks by Porcher since 1996, third most in the NFL (Giants' Michael Strahan, 82.5, and Bucs' Simeon Rice, 76).
THE LAST WORD
"Jon (Gruden) really mixes up the protection. Anywhere from mass protection to three-step drop to six-man protection, whatever he needs. It keeps defenses off guard. (The line) has gotten better week to week and I think the injury thing at the beginning of the season kind of hurt us all as far as just the chemistry. ... (Now) you're not looking around to see who's behind you. We're tackling it better right now."
-- Brad Johnson on the improvement of offensive line.
Back to the Bucs
Chucky's Chalk Talk
Who to root for today, Bucs fans
All the talk that is not there
High profile -- John Howell
I appreciate every cent
Keyshawn's doing what needs doing
Gary Shelton: A vote for Brooks, but counting's not done
RaysPiniella is bold with statements
No more 'original' Rays remain
LightningLightning strikes back on home ice
Cullen glad to come back
Palmer captures Heisman
Rally puts W. Kentucky in I-AA final vs. McNeese
Gators end streak for Terps
Tennessee holds USC to lowest point total
Unlikely Spartan silences Wildcats
Bulldogs' Austin a force in his return
Cardinals win with 33-3 run
Wright State tops Bullswith a last-second shot
Alabama avoids embarrassing loss to Bowling Green
Value of 1,000 has dropped
NFL Game Day: Week 15
Highs & lows
Maddux has pick of lucrative offers
Maple Leafs stay hot, hand Rangers fifth loss in a row
Flooding postpones opening of Downs
UF in 1st Final Four since '98
Riley places Heat on refs
Mickelsonleads surge toward top
Hillsborough football: Close, but ...
Norland wins thriller, Rockledge cruises
Four Cougars, one team
Leopards second in Kiwanis meet
Rams learn to bounce back
Wesley Chapel pulls away from Mitchell late
Fourth-quarter scores earn East first All-Star win
Daily fishing report
The BCS matchups are a bust