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Third quarter

Bucs team effort pads the lead

By JOHN ASHLEY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 27, 2003

OVERVIEW: If the Raiders were going to take the second-half kickoff and answer the Bucs' big second quarter, cornerback Brian Kelly ruined their plans. On Oakland's third play, Rich Gannon's third-and-2 pass was broken up when Kelly batted the ball down at the sideline. After a Shane Lechler punt, the Bucs offense made a statement with a 14-play touchdown drive that covered 89 yards and chewed 7: 52 off the clock. The drive, which gave the Bucs a 27-3 lead, included runs by Michael Pittman, a 9-yard scramble by Brad Johnson and completions to Joe Jurevicius, Mike Alstott and Ken Dilger. The final play was an 8-yard touchdown pass to Keenan McCardell on second and goal from the 8. The Raiders' task got tougher on their next possession when a second-down pass from Gannon was intercepted by Dwight Smith. The cornerback's first pick quickly became a 34-3 Bucs lead after he sprinted 44 yards to the end zone. With the Bucs beginning to celebrate, the Raiders became strictly a passing team and covered 82 yards in 2: 33 to try to get back in the game. Jerry Porter, who got free from a falling Smith at the goal line, caught a 39-yard pass from Gannon in the back of the end zone and was ruled out of bounds. After a challenge by the Raiders, however, the ruling was overturned and the Raiders trailed 34-9. Their two-point conversion ended with a Simeon Rice sack.

KEY PLAYER: Johnson, with time to throw, made the Bucs tough to stop. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. His favorite target continued to be Jurevicius, who caught two more passes for 44 yards.

HIGHS: The play of the Bucs secondary continued to keep Oakland's offensive weapons in check. Until their scoring drive, they had taken only six snaps and gained 16 yards. The Bucs' ability to run the ball with Pittman and Alstott was crucial. Though their big gains were few, their efforts kept the Raiders off the field and took time off the clock.

LOWS: Oakland responded to Smith's INT with a touchdown drive as Gannon spread the ball around to open targets, completing passes to Porter, tight end Doug Jolley, Charlie Garner, Jerry Rice and Jon Ritchie.

DID YOU NOTICE: The Bucs gained more than 100 yards rushing? That was bad news for the Raiders. Heading into the game, Oakland was 10-0 when holding its opponent below the century mark, but 1-5 when failing to do so. ... Two penalties on Kenyatta Walker. The first was illegal use of hands that moved the Bucs from first and goal at the 1 to the 11. Two plays later, Johnson hit McCardell for the score. The second followed Oakland's score, when on first down Walker was called for holding, giving the Bucs first and 20.

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