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December 16, 2002
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[Times photo: James Borchuck]
Everyone on the Tampa sideline felt a bit more cheerful when Martin Gramatica kicked the winning field goal.
A tighter grip
Sure it wasn't pretty, but couple an ugly win with losses by the Saints and the Falcons and the Bucs, who clinch a playoff berth, are in a beautiful position atop the NFC South.

John Romano's Gimme five!
Bucs game balls
Bucs/Lions quotebooks
Sound bites
Photo gallery
10News video: (56k | High-Speed)

Bucs playoff scenarios
Here's what Bucs need in their last two games:

Pressure transforms O-line
Bucs work through penalties, snap-count problems to help team score 10 in the fourth quarter.

One big play makes up for a downer day
DETROIT -- While the Lions offense seemed to be enjoying unexpected success against the league's No. 1 defense Sunday, everyone on the Tampa Bay sideline expected that at some point, someone would make a play.

McFarland lost in second week back
DT, who missed four games with elbow fracture, is out for year with broken foot.

Pittman and crew show consistency
Bucs running backs score twice, combine for more than 100 yards a second straight week.

Gary Shelton: Just to be safe, stay away from the road
DETROIT -- This was not supposed to be their game. This was not supposed to be their day.

Rays make deal for SS Ordonez
Slick-fielding shortstop acquired from Mets for Russ Johnson and a player to be named.

Four-team trade finally gets Durazo to Oakland
NASHVILLE -- All it took to break the ice at the winter meetings Sunday afternoon was a four-team trade that had been in the works, in some form, for years.

Lecavalier proves even wrong moves can work
TAMPA -- A lot goes through a player's mind in the milliseconds before a shot. Extra time sometimes complicates the issue.

Kearse primed for playoff push

The Titans defensive end could be back to chase Tom Brady tonight.

Dolphins slow Raider attack, seize AFC lead
MIAMI -- As Ricky Williams played a supporting role Sunday, plenty of Dolphins had a big day -- even Dan Marino.

Green Bay keeps pace with best
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brett Favre fought through biting wind and whipping rain one last time to shake Steve Mariucci's hand in the middle of Candlestick Park.

Seattle slips past Atlanta
ATLANTA -- Michael Vick came through, then Shaun Alexander did him one better to win the game for Seattle.

Vikings stun Saints on final play
NEW ORLEANS -- Daunte Culpepper was joyous. Even when he made a mistake he made good.

Steelers pounce on Panther woes
PITTSBURGH -- Only a week after their season seemed in jeopardy, the Steelers find themselves in first place, and in control.

Jaguars nip NFL's worst
CINCINNATI -- So, how would the league's worst team blow this one? More goal-line follies? A left-handed pass from a right-handed quarterback, perhaps? Maybe a fumble or interception?

NFL Round-up
Bills 20, Chargers 13

Harrison sets season mark for catches
CLEVELAND -- Despite a teeth-chattering wind whipping in off Lake Erie, Indianapolis receiver Marvin Harrison came out for pregame warmups in short sleeves.

Gaborik showing star qualities

Opponents don't give Minnesota's Marian Gaborik much room to operate, but he still finds a way to score.

College basketball
Austin Peay's poor shooting benefits Vandy

NASHVILLE -- Jenni Benningfield scored a season-high 20 and Vanderbilt led by as many as 35 as the ninth-ranked Commodores beat Austin Peay 84-50 Sunday.

Seminoles turn back challenging Panthers
Florida State holds Birmingham Southern to eight in the final 11:23.

No.1 Wildcats barely survive
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Jason Gardner found his jump shot, and his touch from the free-throw line, in the nick of time Sunday and No.1 Arizona survived 73-70 over No.8 Texas.

In brief
Distance right for winners

Cindy Pomeroy and Eddie Hensley win the Gulf Beaches Halfathon.

Sports in brief
Floridian wins third straight PBA title

Americans' lone mistake gives Japan World Cup

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Americans Phil Mickelson and David Toms played mistake-free golf three rounds and 17 holes of the World Cup.

Daily fishing report
Unfavorable weather has made inshore fishing challenging. Finding clean water and areas that hold bait have been the key to success. The barrier keys around lower Tampa Bay have good numbers of trout and a few reds. Snook can be found in deeper water in residential canals. Rattling crank baits worked close to the structure after dark should produce plenty of catch-and-release action.

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