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January 13, 2003
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Bucs
photo
[Times photo: James Borchuck]
Mike Alstott, who rushed for two touchdowns, congratulates tight end Rickey Dudley, right, after Dudley's second-quarter touchdown reception.
A Laugher
TAMPA BAY 31, SAN FRANCISCO 6: Johnson's return and stellar defense propel Bucs to third NFC title game.

More photos: Click here
Sound bites
Game quotebooks
1st quarter: From bad finish to good finish
2nd quarter: Break it open with three TDs
3rd quarter: Turnovers and a sigh of relief
4th quarter: Counting down to Philadelphia

Rushing attack emerges at best time
Mike Alstott's timely runs continue a trend the Bucs finally started in early December.

Brad leaves no doubt about it
Quarterback returning from back injury shakes off rust and questions about his health to lead Bucs rout.

Walker wants the offensive line to get credit
TAMPA -- A little late, Kenyatta Walker now knows what he wanted for Christmas.

Bucs finding asset in bevy of receivers
With multiple targets for Brad Johnson's arm instead of a lone Keyshawn, the offense is more efficient.

Defense slams the door on 49ers
The Bucs are stingy (228 yards alowed) and aggressive (five turnovers). "Whenever a team cannot get big plays on us, we're a tough team to beat," Derrick Brooks says.

Philadelphia puts the past behind it
Eagles focused on correcting mistakes, not continued domination of Bucs, as they prepare for NFC Championship.

Thin secondary hurts 49ers
Tampa Bay shreds a defense playing without its starting cornerbacks for most of the first half.

Pirates' voyage charted
Captain Ron and his crew take pride in manning the sights and sounds that arise from the ship on game day.

John Romano: Gimme five!
TALK OF THE TOWN

Gary Shelton: Bucs, for once, can top Philly
TAMPA -- The day will be miserable. Again.

Lightning
Defensemen adjust without teammates
Injuries force the Lightning to reassess their blue-line situation.

All-stars should include Boyle
Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle said his goals this season were modest; "to get a regular shift and play as much as they needed me."

NFL
Raiders in a romp

RAIDERS 30, JETS 10: Oakland enjoys defeating New York; some Raiders even find time to speculate about Super Bowl possibilities vs. the Bucs.

McKay: Full-time refs could be one solution
Bucs general manager Rich McKay, co-chairman of the NFL's competition committee, said Sunday there is merit for the league to "further discuss the issue of having full-time referees as opposed to having full-time crews" in the wake of several high-profile, controversial officiating decisions in playoff games the past two weekends.

Middleton has (bunch of) last words
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The running cross-country diatribe between Oakland guard Frank Middleton and New York defensive tackle Josh Evans was a highlight of the week leading to the game.

Tennis
Serena begins a Grand quest

Younger Williams could hold four Grand Slam titles at once if she wins in Australian Open.

Motorsports
No rest, just tests for drivers

Winston Cup brings its version of spring training -- in winter -- to the fans.

College football
Bulls land bay area products

TAMPA -- The first big recruiting weekend quickly paid dividends for South Florida as the Bulls received commitments from several players, including two of Tampa's premier preps.

NHL
Controversial OT goal gives Avalanche win

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Rob Blake's controversial goal helped end Colorado's losing streak and added to Carolina's recent woes.

In brief
British teen sails Atlantic solo

ENGLISH HARBOR, Antigua -- Fifteen-year-old Sebastian Clover became the youngest sailor to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic. The British schoolboy completed the 2,700-mile voyage Sunday after 24 days at sea.

Explosion, crash mar Dakar Rally
CAIRO, Egypt -- Motorcyclist Patsy Quick crashed and was rushed to a hospital, and an explosion halted truck racing in the desert Sunday during the 11th stage of the Dakar Rally.

College basketball
UConn pulls within two of best win streak (55)

STORRS, Conn. -- Diana Taurasi had a lot of help Sunday as No. 3 Connecticut extended its winning streak to 53 games.

Duke KOs Wake, stays perfect
DURHAM, N.C. -- Mike Krzyzewski keeps saying he has a different Duke team than in years past. But the results look strikingly similar.

NBA
McGrady, Miller take over in fourth

PHILADELPHIA -- A morning meeting about ball movement paid off for the Magic.

Golf
Els sets record of 31 under

KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Ernie Els could not have asked for a better start. He set a PGA Tour scoring record Sunday, won the season-opening Mercedes Championships by eight shots, and Tiger Woods was nowhere to be found.

Outdoors
Daily fishing report

The recent boating tragedy that claimed four lives and the article on hypothermia should cause every boater to assess safety equipment.

Quiet speed leads to win at Disney
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Brazilian runners say they like to bring their families to Orlando for vacation.

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