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First quarter

A little early deja vu for the Bucs

By JOHN ASHLEY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 27, 2003


OVERVIEW: For the second Sunday in a row, the Bucs got off to an ugly start. Under pressure from the defense on third and 5, Brad Johnson's second pass attempt was picked off by Charles Woodson at the Bucs 48 and returned to the Bucs 36. On five plays the Raiders moved the ball to the Bucs 16. Simeon Rice sacked quarterback Rich Gannon on third and 7, forcing the Raiders to settle for a 40-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski and a 3-0 lead. But the Bucs responded quickly, and on their next drive moved 58 yards on nine plays and tied the score with a 31-yard field goal by Martin Gramatica. Two big plays led to the field goal. The first was a 23-yard third-down catch and run by Joe Jurevicius. The second was a 23-yard run by Michael Pittman on the next play that moved the Bucs into Gramatica's range. The Bucs defense did the rest. The next two Raider possessions were three-and-outs that ended in Shane Lechler punts. The Raiders' final offensive drive ended at midfield when Bucs safety Dexter Jackson stepped in front of tight end Doug Jolley and intercepted a Gannon pass. While the Bucs defense kept the potent Raiders offense quiet, the Bucs offense struggled as well. Both of Lechler's punts were downed at the Bucs 16 and gave the Raiders an edge in field position. The Bucs followed their drive for a field goal with two Tom Tupa punts.

KEY PLAYER: In need of an offensive spark, Jurevicius remained Johnson's hottest receiver with two catches for 34 yards. In the turnover battle, Jackson evened the score with his pick, which gave the Bucs good field position heading into the second quarter.

HIGHS: The Bucs defense, which registered two sacks and an interception. Of all the Raiders' offensive weapons, only Charlie Garner was a factor, and that was as a receiver instead of a running back. Garner had three receptions for 22 yards but rushed once for a yard. Receiver Tim Brown had one catch for 8 yards and Jerry Rice had none. Tampa Bay's stingy play also overshadowed its offensive struggles and kept the Raiders from expanding their early lead.

LOWS: The play of the Bucs offensive line was questionable. Johnson was forced the throw under pressure several times, and as a result, the usually accurate quarterback completed just 4 of 13 passes for 50 yards.

DID YOU NOTICE: The Raiders, who commited 100 yards in penalties six times this season, played 15 minutes without being flagged. Johnson threw one interception and almost three others. The first near-miss was a bobbled pass to Pittman that bounced off two players before falling to the ground. The second caromed off Mike Alstott. The third was a deep pass over the middle that Raiders veteran Rod Woodson leaped in front off and lost off his fingertips.

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