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Sideline

JOANNE KORTH
Published December 7, 2003

With the playoffs a remote possibility, the Bucs would seem to have little left to play for this season.

Think again.

The Saints, today's opponent, have beaten the Bucs three straight times, including a 17-14 loss Nov. 2 at Raymond James Stadium. Also, New Orleans, at 6-6, still has playoff hopes. Also, the Bucs want to extend to five their streak of consecutive winning seasons. At the very least, they hope to avoid their first losing season since 1996.

"It comes down to being a professional, showing up and being a man about your job," linebacker and co-captain Derrick Brooks said. "We've got a winning season right here to defend. It's been a long time since I've been part of a losing season and, to me, that's a very important goal."

RECORD WATCH

Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson is closing in on Doug Williams' 22-year-old team record of 3,563 passing yards. Johnson, at 2,919 yards after 12 games, is on pace to finish with 3,892.

BY THE NUMBERS

0 - losing seasons in Jon Gruden's six-year coaching career.

10 - interceptions thrown by Johnson in the past seven games.

18 - shopping days left "til Christmas.

SMALL WORLD

Bucs special teams coach Rich Bisaccia was the running backs coach at the University of Mississippi when the Saints' Deuce McAllister led the Rebels rushing attack in 1999 and 2000.

RIVAL RECEIVER

Bucs receiver Keenan McCardell has played against nine NFC South opponents the past two seasons with 54 catches and 8 touchdowns. In each game, he caught at least four passes for at least 41 yards.

OFF LIMITS

No self-respecting Bucs fan would be caught dead ...oh, go ahead. Gumbo, crawfish, beignets, jazz music, Hurricane cocktails - they're all too good to resist. How about voodoo? Stay away from voodoo, and we'll call it a day well spent.

THE LAST WORD

"Any time a team has beaten you, whether it's one time or three in a row, you want to show some revenge. You want to go out there and play hard and redeem yourself."

- Bucs linebacker Ryan Nece.

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