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The best and the worst of week 1

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 3, 2000


BEST -- TAMPA BAY 48, ATLANTA 10, SEPT. 13, 1987: Before the game, all the chatter was about the new Tampa Bay coach, Ray Perkins, and his new quarterback-to-be, No. 1 draft pick Vinny Testaverde. But by day's end, it was fourth-year veteran Steve DeBerg who became the talk of the town after leading the Bucs to their most lopsided victory. DeBerg was virtually unstoppable, completing 24 of 34 passes for 333 yards and a club-record five touchdowns in leading the Bucs to their most points. The offense converted on 14 of 16 third-down plays. A players' strike would halt the season two weeks later, and the Bucs eventually fell to 4-11 for the year. But for one afternoon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were nearly perfect.

WORST -- NEW YORK GIANTS, 17, TAMPA BAY 13, SEPT. 12, 1999: Still hurts, doesn't it? After the playoff season in 1997, the Bucs were picked by many to go deep into the 1998 playoffs. But when that turned into a lackluster 8-8 campaign, optimism swelled into 1999 as Tampa Bay hosted the Giants in the opener. No player was on a hotter seat than quarterback Trent Dilfer, whom many blamed for 1998's disappointments. And Dilfer did nothing to silence the calls for his ousting, losing a fumble that resulted in the first Giants touchdown and throwing three interceptions, the first one returned by Andre Weathers for the game-winning 8-yard touchdown. The defense held the Giants to four first downs and 107 total yards, but Dilfer's miscues wasted the effort and renewed cries for a quarterback change.

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