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Best and worst: Game 6


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000

BEST -- TAMPA BAY 24, MINNESOTA 13, OCT. 13, 1996: The Vikings (5-1) were tied for the NFL's best record when they came to Tampa, but rookie coach Tony Dungy got his first win by beating the team that employed him as defensive coordinator the four previous seasons. He got it using a now-familiar blueprint: The defense got three sacks (11/2 by second-year tackle Warren Sapp) and three turnovers. Trent Dilfer threw no interceptions and three touchdowns, including one to a rookie fullback who bounced off two Vikings and carried one into the end zone. "I want to be an impact player," Mike Alstott said. "I don't want to be just a blocking back." After the game, Dungy was doused with the contents of a Gatorade tub and greeted warmly by players from both teams. "I can recall being so proud (of the Vikings) so many times," he said. "But I've never been any prouder than I am of our players."

OTHER WIN OF NOTE: In 1984, Tampa Bay overcomes 543 yards of offense and a 14-0 deficit to beat the Vikings and coach Les Steckel 35-31.

WORST -- SEATTLE 13, TAMPA BAY 10, OCT. 17, 1976: It could have been a red-letter day but ended up being a yellow-flag one, and another in a string of Bucs losses. The meeting of expansion teams figured to be both teams' best chance at victory, but it was the visiting Seahawks who made fewer errors. Tampa Bay surrendered 190 yards on 20 penalties; Seattle 120 yards on 15. Six more penalties were called but not assessed. The Seahawks blocked two field goals, including a 35-yard try with 42 seconds to play. A Seattle field goal didn't make it. There were five sacks and three turnovers. Even a highlight -- the first touchdown pass in Bucs history -- came on a broken play. Louis Carter tried to dive into the end zone on third and goal but was bounced back, so he flipped a two-handed, overhead pass to Morris Owens for a 1-yard score. Still, Bucs tackle Mike Current's planned celebration was ruined. "This was a victory cigar," he said afterward. "Now it's just a cigar."

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