St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Offense adjusts to discover the right gear, after a while

King-to-Keyshawn TD starts impressive second-half flurry.

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 11, 2000


TAMPA -- Truth be told, the lights shouldn't just come on at the half, they should be glowing from the get-go.

And if he had his druthers, Bucs coach Tony Dungy would insist that his offense explode out of the blocks.

Fine.

But the way the offense came alive in the second half, scoring 21 points on three memorable touchdowns, there likely will be few complaints today in Buc land.

"We made some adjustments at halftime and talked about closing out the game in a strong fashion," Dungy said. "We wanted to come out, get good kickoff coverage and come out aggressively on offense."

So said, so done.

Struggling in the first half, Tampa Bay turned to its million-dollar offensive catalyst, and receiver Keyshawn Johnson provided the spark.

"That was one of the biggest things we wanted to do," Johnson said. "We wanted to come out and have no breathing room for them, just choke them."

To strangle the Bears, the Bucs drove 90 yards in nine plays with their first possession of the third quarter. Johnson scored on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Shaun King.

In the box score, Johnson's touchdown with 8:27 left in the third shows that it made the score 27-0. But in reality it was more than that. It was an emotional lift to an offense that squandered a number of opportunities in the first half. It was a monkey off the back of a prized free-agent acquisition who had not yet gotten into the end zone in a Bucs uniform.

"It was key because it was early in the third," tight end Dave Moore said. "We felt the momentum before but when we came in (at the half) we were like, "Let's keep this thing rolling. We've got things going in our favor. Let's not go out there and give the momentum back.' It was a key catch by Keyshawn because it helped keep that momentum going."

For the Bucs, Johnson's touchdown appeared to have a psychological effect. After Johnson out-leaped a Bears defender for the touchdown, running back Warrick Dunn dived on top of Johnson to begin a frenzied celebration.

"If I didn't score, fine, we still won the game and that's what the most important thing of it was," Johnson said. "(But) I think a lot guys were excited to see that I scored a touchdown, just to know that if (one thing isn't) working we still have something we can do down there.

"I don't know if I'm a lucky charm or what."

Surprisingly, as the offense struggled in the first half, it seemed unable to find Johnson, the one off-season addition expected to help in just such situations. At the half, he had one reception for 19 yards.

"We ran the ball 500 times with the Jets, and we'll run the ball 500 times with the Bucs," Johnson said, dispelling questions that he was frustrated by not being involved more. "I will get my catches and I will score my touchdowns and that will not change.

"It's just when will I do it. I might have two catches this game, four the next, then 10, then three, then 10 again. That's how it was in New York, and that's how I expect it to be here. ... This is not the run-and-shoot. ... This is not Chicago's offense, you're not going to see us throw the ball 55 times a game and I knew that coming here."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Bucs
  • A Bucs laugher
  • Sunday's spectacle is a rare sight around here
  • Many thrills and only one disappointment
  • NFL briefs
  • Special teams get back in the saddle
  • Bucs quick hits
  • M.J.'s visit raises Bucs profile again
  • Offense adjusts to discover the right gear, after a while
  • Bucs cornering market on impact plays
  • Futility becoming one trait of Bears
  • Culpepper weathers a rough return

  • Devil Rays
  • Loss has Vaughn left 'embarrassed'
  • Rothschild looking for team's spirit

  • Bobby Knight
  • Knight fired for latest breach
  • Knight's fall leaves lousy feeling
  • Knight seen resuming career

  • College football
  • Quarterback problem? Spurrier doesn't see it
  • Losing to Kentucky offers perspective
  • Bowden sees good and bad against Tech
  • Davis poised despite disappointment

  • Other sports
  • Open-and-shut case
  • Afanasenkov getting noticed
  • Attendance record set at 605,487
  • Sports briefs
  • Captain's corner
  • Daytona completes series sweep
  • NHL briefs


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts