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Bucs' top plays of the 2002 season

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2003

Top five offensive plays:

Joe Jurevicius' 10-yard TD catch from Brad Johnson vs. Atlanta Dec. 8 at RJS

[AP photo]
Bucs wide receiver Joe Jurevicius reacts to his leaping, 10-yard touchdown catch vs. the Falcons.
Playing behind Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell, Bucs receiver Joe Jurevicius didn't see a lot of passes thrown his direction this season. But he didn't waste many opportunities.

In the game that likely decided the hierarchy for the NFC South, Jurevicius provided the spark for the Bucs. His leaping, 10-yard catch over the head of defensive back Ray Buchanan in the second quarter was the first of four TDs by quarterback Brad Johnson, the first two to Jurevicius.

Brad Johnson's 1-yard TD pass to Keyshawn Johnson vs. Carolina Nov. 17 at RJS

The Bucs quarterback set a club record with 22 touchdowns. None was shorter, or more clutch, than the 1-yarder he threw against the Panthers. Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, the Bucs responded with one of their most impressive drives of the season, a 13-play, 86-yard march. On fourth and 1, Tampa Bay elected to eschew the field goal. Lining up on the right side, Keyshawn Johnson weaved through traffic on a crossing route and Brad Johnson delivered a strike to tie the score in a 23-10 victory. The play established the Bucs' aggressiveness on offense.

[Times photo: Jim Damaske]
Bucs wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson hauls in a fourth-down, 1-yard touchdown pass against the Panthers.

Brad Johnson's pinpoint TD pass to Joe Jurevicius vs. Green Bay Nov. 24 at RJS

Having missed much of the first half after being poked in the eye by the Packers' Vonnie Holliday, Brad Johnson returned in the third quarter with the Bucs trailing 7-6. After Brian Kelly returned his first interception 31 yards, Johnson stood tall under heavy pressure and delivered a perfectly thrown TD to the corner of the end zone as Jurevicius tight-roped the sideline. The play initially was ruled incomplete, but instant replay showed it was a TD.

Shaun King's 7-yard pass to Karl Williams to set up a winning score Oct. 17 at Carolina

It's rare for a No. 3 quarterback to have an impact, but Shaun King managed to earn his keep with his first snap at Carolina. With the Bucs locked in a 9-9 game and driving in the final seconds, starter Rob Johnson scrambled for a first down but had to leave the game with a gluteal strain. Without any warmup, King entered and flicked a 7-yard completion to Karl Williams, setting up Martin Gramatica's winning 47-yard field goal with five seconds left.

Runaway A-Train Oct. 13 vs. Cleveland at RJS

[Times photo: James Borchuck]
Running back Mike Alstott runs 17 yards for a touchdown against the Browns.
The Bucs running game never got on track until Week 6, when the A-Train arrived on schedule.

Moving to tailback, Mike Alstott rushed 17 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns. But he had carried just twice before a 25-yard run late in the third quarter, when he bounced off five defenders. It was the second of five straight runs for 55 yards on the Bucs' second TD drive, capped by a 17-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter of a 17-3 win.


Derrick Brooks' fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown Sept. 23 vs. St. Louis at RJS

Brooks set an NFL record for linebackers with four returns for touchdowns. But none was bigger or better than his game-clincher against the Rams on Monday Night Football.

Having left the game with a hamstring strain late in the fourth quarter, he returned for one play at another position, replacing injured strongside linebacker Al Singleton. Brooks made it count. With the Bucs clinging to a 19-14 lead, he stepped in front of a Kurt Warner pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown, grabbing his hamstring when he reached the end zone and continuing into the tunnel and the locker room.

[Times photo: James Borchuck]
Linebacker Derrick Brooks returns an interception 39 yards for a touchdown against the Rams.

Brian Kelly's third-quarter interception of Brett Favre vs. Green Bay

[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]
Defensive back Brian Kelly returns an interception 31 yards against the Packers.
The Bucs were gunning for the best record in the NFL, but skeptics believed their success was the product of a soft schedule. That was until the Packers came to town with an identical 8-2 record.

With Green Bay up 7-6 in the third quarter, Kelly intercepted a Brett Favre pass intended for Terry Glenn and returned it 31 yards. The play set up the Bucs' go-ahead score, a 4-yard TD pass to Joe Jurevicius.

Derrick Brooks' hit on QB Michael Vick vs. Atlanta at RJS

It didn't cause a turnover or result in a score. It merely set the tone in what was the biggest game of the season.

All week long, the Bucs listened to NFL analysts wonder how the Tampa Bay defense would stop Falcons QB Michael Vick. Brooks answered early. Chasing Vick across the field on the third play of the game, he applied a vicious hit that left the first-year starter wide-eyed.

Warren Sapp's INT and lateral to Brooks for a TD Oct. 6 at Atlanta

[Times photo: James Borchuck]
After intercepting a pass from Falcons quarterback Doug Johnson, defensive tackle Warren Sapp prepares to lateral to Derrick Brooks.
Defensive linemen rarely have an opportunity to intercept a pass. When the play results in a touchdown, the play is even more cherished.

With the Bucs clinging to a 13-6 lead in the fourth quarter, defensive tackle Warren Sapp intercepted a deflected pass from backup quarterback Doug Johnson. Surrounded by Falcons, Sapp alertly lateraled to linebacker Derrick Brooks, who returned it 15 yards for a game-sealing touchdown.

Shelton Quarles' Interception of Mike McMahon Dec. 15 at Detroit

During what was arguably the Bucs' worst performance on defense, Shelton Quarles produced one of the biggest plays of the season.

With the Bucs locked in a tie at 13, Quarles intercepted Lions quarterback Mike McMahon in the fourth quarter, setting up Michael Pittman's 4-yard go-ahead TD run. The lead was short-lived and the Bucs would need a Martin Gramatica 38-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. But on a day when the defense didn't make many plays, Quarles provided one of the biggest of the season.

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