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

printer version

Sanders shows why he's still dangerous

In the first four quarters, Deion Sanders has six punt returns for 29 yards. In overtime, Prime Time ends the Bucs' chances.


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 2, 2000

Bucs-Skins photo gallery
LANDOVER, Md. -- Deion Sanders couldn't even remember the play, but the Bucs probably won't forget it. At least, not for a long time.

Sanders' 57-yard punt return in overtime essentially won Sunday's game 20-17 for the Redskins and left the Bucs foundering after two straight losses.

The play, which Sanders had difficulty replaying after the game, was especially stunning for Tampa Bay because the team had corraled the always dangerous Sanders all day. Before that game-breaker, Sanders had returned six punts for only 29 yards.

"We basically kicked it straight to Deion. We weren't going to kick it away from him. And we contained him all day," Bucs special-teams regular Don Davis said. "We let him out one time and, unfortunately, one time was enough to beat us."

With the Bucs' first possession of overtime stalled at their 15, punter Mark Royals boomed a 50-yarder to Sanders, who fielded the ball on the left side. He headed upfield, cut to his right, made a couple of Bucs miss, then broke to the outside before being caught by Aaron Stecker at the Tampa Bay 8.

Four plays later, Redskins kicker Michael Husted drilled a 20-yard chip shot for the win at FedEx Field.

"The key was getting away from the first guy and the next guy. The next guy (and) the next guy wasn't there like they were the whole night," Sanders said. "I don't even remember the play really. I think I bounced outside some sort of way."

Davis remembers the play vividly. And what he remembers most is that he had a shot to tackle Sanders, but let him slip away.

"We haven't gotten a chance to watch the film, but I know I'm personally sick about it," Davis said. "I was in position to make the tackle and just missed the tackle. And you just can't have that, especially not against the premier players."

Thing is, Sanders had been looking like anything but a premier returner this season. Before Sunday, his longest return was for 11 yards. He was averaging 3.4 yards on 10 returns and hearing whispers that maybe he had lost a step at age 33.

He said all the skepticism made his dazzling overtime return all that sweeter.

"I know how a woman in labor feels, waiting nine months for that baby to come. And, boy did that baby come. She was a big one, wasn't she?" Sanders gloated in front of a throng of reporters. "All you doubters. I've got room on the bandwagon. I'm not taking applications because I know all the mess you've been saying and writing, as if I've been trying to get tackled on every punt return; as if I'm not dodging two or three (would-be tacklers) every time I catch the ball. But it's all right. I'm a forgiving man."

The only disappointing thing for Sanders and the Redskins was that Sanders didn't score on the return. Royals slowed him slightly and forced him inside, where Stecker was able to get him.

The flamboyant Sanders has promised everyone on the team a Rolex if he returns four punts for a touchdown this season.

"We have a motto on the punt return team. Four for the Rol. We score four times, all them get a Rolex, including the coaches," Sanders said. "So that one counts. That one counts toward the Rolex."

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


  • Mizell: Offensive woes set off wave of worry for fans
  • Not ready for prime time
  • Sapp takes punishment, dishes it out
  • Husted returns the favor vs. Bucs
  • Bucs chat
  • Sanders shows why he's still dangerous
  • Buccaneers quick hits
  • Roller coaster stops, but not in time for Bucs win
  • Redskins quotebook
  • Bucs quotebook
  • Devil Rays

  • Rothschild may know fate today
  • A's victory cancels return to Trop
  • Wheeler picks up his first victory
  • Local writers honor Williams
  • Lightning

  • Dudley: no trades in works
  • Therapy speeds Weekes' return
  • College football

  • Rejuvenated Jackson gets running game back in gear
  • Big win no longer enough
  • Gators lose badly but remain atop Eastern Division
  • Et cetera

  • NFL briefs
  • Baseball briefs
  • NHL briefs
  • Captain's corner
  • Sports briefs
  • Young sailor breezes to victory in Regatta

  • 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