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January 12, 2003
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Bucs vs. 49ers at a glance

Garcia has cold
The 49ers quarterback misses practice to rest at the hotel, but teammates aren't worried.

[Times Illustration: Rossie Newson]
Special section
'We're just getting started here'

Jon Gruden's high-energy approach has guided Tampa Bay to its best regular-season record in team history. But his first season as Bucs coach will be judged by what happens on the road to San Diego.

Chucky Chalk Talk
Bucs coach Jon "Chucky" Gruden on today's opponent, the 49ers:

John Romano: Gimme five
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.

Gary Shelton: Bucs should seize the day while they can
Someone is going to be Doug Williams.

New players inspire new confidence
Roster overhaul on offense makes a big contribution to franchise-best 12-4 record.

1999 vs. 2002
Before the Bucs' current defense can lay claim to best in team history, there is some business to be taken care of first.

Buccaneers get a Krazy hip-hop anthem
TAMPA -- You have to give a few extra points to a rap song that manages to weave in Jurevicious without fumbling the rhyme scheme.

Bucs' top plays of the 2002 season
Top five offensive plays

What they're saying
If history is Steve Mariucci's guide, then he should not send Terrell Owens on a second-quarter reverse Sunday in Tampa, Fla. And he should try to limit the chances of Jeff Garcia absorbing a head-rattling hit.

On the Internet: Want to join the club
For Bucs fans looking for a new source of postseason venom, there's no shortage of 49ers fan pages online, even some devoted to rooting against San Francisco's five-time Super Bowl champions.

Times staff predictions
ROGER MILLS: Tampa Bay 24, San Francisco 17 -- The return of a rested Brad Johnson and a cross-country quest for the 49ers means the Bucs will pull away in the fourth quarter.

Guest analyst: Bucs built to avoid Giant failures
The 49ers are a team that likes to run the ball (and) the Giants did a good job of stopping that. (Terrell) Owens obviously is the big factor, and the Bucs like to play a cover-2 defense (where the priority is to) keep everything in front of you and make the tackle. I think we saw on three different occasions last weekend that Terrell Owens can make that very difficult to do, where an 8-yard gain is turned into a 35-yard gain.

On the air: Fox 13 boasts a Bucs bonanza
Fox 13 clearly is the station the Tampa Bay area turns to for NFL action, a fact never more clear than this season.

Kickin' Back: Heart big enough without bionics
Derrick Brooks is in his eighth season with the Bucs and was named the 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Here he is on Jesus as a teenager, bionic parts, Christopher Columbus, three blind mice, Yao Ming, Warren Sapp and raising his three children.

Bucs chat: Critics exhibit short memories
Reading some of the pathetic complaints in Sunday papers from local fans makes me realize one thing: We have quite an obsessive group of naysayers around here.

Bucs in the playoffs through the years
On the sideline
Bucs' defense, player by player
Bucs' offense, player by player

Garcia still chasing ghosts

He'll be compared to Joe Montana and Steve Young until he wins it all, but his numbers measure up.
Peterson aims to set a new standard
Breakout season moves him closer to his goal of being the linebacker others are compared to.

Piniella confident in Rays' top brass
Part of the reason Lou Piniella accepted a four-year offer to manage the Devil Rays was the commitment shown from those within the organization to get better.

Fighting chance nets tie
LIGHTNING 3, DEVILS 3: Mixing it up helps Tampa Bay erase a 3-0 deficit.

Players also follow Bucs
TAMPA -- The Lightning will have a contingent of fans, including center Brad Richards and left wing Chris Dingman, at today's 49ers-Bucs playoff game at Raymond James Stadium.

Khabibulin returns to All-Star Game
TAMPA -- Nikolai Khabibulin is going to the Feb. 2 NHL All-Star Game intent on giving the fans what they don't want.

Hubert Mizell
Time to hand Madden's crown to Collinsworth

With the fading of John Madden, now more Monday night caricature and Madison Avenue pitchman than innovative commentator, dulled by too many bromides and bus rides, the NFL's new champion TV analyst is Cris Collinsworth.

Titans advance on second try

AFC: TITANS 34, STEELERS 31 (OT): Penalty gives Joe Nedney another shot to make the winning field goal.

Listen up, Bucs
NFC: EAGLES 20, FALCONS 6: If Tampa Bay can get past the 49ers, it faces an Eagles defense that has made a bold statement.

Reid selected Coach of Year
PHILADELPHIA -- By remaining calm and keeping his team focused after injuries to quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Koy Detmer could have ruined the season, Andy Reid steered the Eagles to a 12-4 record and the NFC East title.

Jets and Raiders talk a good game
Rivals take their war of words to the field in AFC divisional playoff.

Familiarity strips game down to fundamentals
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Because this is the fourth game between the teams in a little more than a year, there shouldn't be many surprises.

McNair shows his toughness again
NASHVILLE -- Several players were hurt Saturday, but the grisliest scene involved Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair.

College basketball
Gators win 3-point duel with Dawgs

UF 66, GEORGIA 63: Anthony Roberson's 3 beats buzzer, sealing a controversial win.

St. John's keeps UCLA struggling
LOS ANGELES -- St. John's found a valuable reward at the end of its 3,000-mile trip.

Freshman spurs Miami over Irish
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Freshman Tamara James helped Miami do something Saturday it has never done: beat Notre Dame convincingly.

Florida A&M rallies, wins in 2OT
TALLAHASSEE -- Terrence Woods sat out a half because of the flu but scored 19 as Florida A&M beat Maryland-Eastern Shore 92-89 in double overtime Saturday.

Oregon is upset in second straight
STANFORD, Calif. -- Oregon completed a lost weekend in the San Francisco area by losing 81-57 Saturday to Stanford, its 17th consecutive road loss to the Cardinal. No. 12 Oregon lost 88-72 at California on Thursday.

Terps end drama early, crush Seminoles by 27
After scoring the first 18, Maryland has no trouble sending Florida State to 0-2 in the ACC with an 89-62 loss.

Bad start dooms outmanned USF
The Bulls trail 36-11 and lose two players in a 96-63 defeat at Marquette.

Season on the bubble
SIU 69, Indiana State 61

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Kent Williams scored all 20 of his points during the final 21 minutes to help Southern Illinois improve to 4-0 in the Missouri Valley. It, Wichita State and Creighton are the only teams unbeaten in the conference.

In brief
Rant, rave


Instant replay

Sports salute
Patricia Hoffman, 52, Palm Harbor

Ex-umpire D. Merrill dies at 64

TEXARKANA, Texas -- Durwood Merrill, an AL umpire for 23 years who worked the 1988 World Series, died Saturday at 64.

College football
Dorsey enjoys homecoming

SAN FRANCISCO -- Torrie Cox rushed up to Ken Dorsey in the locker room Saturday to make sure Miami's quarterback didn't get away before signing his shirt.

Capitals cruise to 12-2 win

WASHINGTON -- Jaromir Jagr had three goals and four assists to match his career high with seven points as the Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 12-2 on Saturday night.

Esposito: Have ex-players make calls

In brief
NCAA president wants change

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Myles Brand foresees some dramatic changes on the horizon for intercollegiate sports, but the new NCAA president stresses that reforms will not be made hastily.

Allen's last-second steal helps Bucks ice Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Ray Allen had 28 points and a key last-second steal as the Bucks beat the Pistons 89-87 Saturday night.

Nadeau sees U.S. troops up close in Middle East

Winston Cup driver Jerry Nadeau has made plenty of sponsor appearances during his career, but none quite like the offseason trip he made on behalf of his new sponsor, the Army.

Els, Choi race past the field

KAPALUA, Hawaii -- One bad swing kept Ernie Els from a runaway Saturday in the Mercedes Championships, and a record round by K.J. Choi gave last year's Tampa Bay Classic champion a fighting chance.

Green Devils outdistance city rivals for crown

St. Petersburg captures bragging rights with seven first-place finishes.

Cougars can't end win streak
BRANDON -- The streak was extended to 364 consecutive victories by Brandon after beating Countryside 40-15 in the final of the Graves "Challenge the Streak" tournament on Saturday.

Bucs on their way up
ZEPHYRHILLS -- After four years climbing the mountain, the Buccaneers finally reached the top Saturday.

Rams keep 'Canes under wraps in 63-48 win
BROOKSVILLE -- Ridgewood has played enough teams capable of erasing double-digit deficits this season that the Rams weren't about to get complacent against Citrus.

Durant saves face for Hillsborough teams
TAMPA -- Durant saved Hillsborough County schools from being shut out Saturday.

Cougars, Frayer like tourney
BRANDON -- Give it up to Dave Frayer and his Countryside wrestlers, because unlike several of the top teams around the state, they didn't back down from Brandon.

Your turn

Former Bucs coaches Tony Dungy and Herman Edwards deserve recognition for their professional demeanor and display of good sportsmanship toward each other. They continue to be excellent role models for their teams and communities, and show a genuine appreciation for each other's success. In a profession in which salaries are big and egos even bigger, it is refreshing to see two gentlemen who consistently show class and allow their coaching to speak for itself. They are good coaches and good men, and we were lucky to have them in Tampa Bay for so many years.

Alinghi takes an early lead in challenger final

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- The final of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series started today with a chance to race in the America's Cup at stake.

Daily fishing report
Patience, versatility and common sense play roles in offshore fishing this time of year.

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