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Buccaneers quick hits

By RICK STROUD

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000


In the Bucs' six wins this season, quarterback Shaun King owns an astounding 13-2 touchdown to interception ratio. In Tampa Bay's four losses, it's two TDs and six INTs.

In three games against the Bears, all victories, King has thrown nine touchdowns and been intercepted just twice.

The Bucs own a three-game winning streak, but how long they stay hot might depend on the weather today in Chicago. Tampa Bay never has won a game -- 0-17 -- when temperature at kickoff has been under 40 degrees. The forecast is for a high in the low- to mid-30s today at kickoff.

Chicago leads the series 30-15, but the Bucs have won each of the last six meetings and seven of the last eight. During Tampa Bay's six-game winning streak, the Bears have not scored an offensive touchdown in the last 14 quarters. Chicago dominated the series in the '80s, winning 15 of 19 meetings.

Bucs RB Warrick Dunn is averaging 5.2 yards per carry in his last four games.

Matchups to watch

Bears WR Marcus Robinson vs. Bucs CB Donnie Abraham

The Bucs held Robinson to just two catches for 25 yards in the first meeting in Tampa. But Chicago has to get the ball more to its playmaking receiver. The Bears should resist throwing at Abraham, who is tied for the NFL lead with six INTs.

Bears KR Glyn Milburn vs. Bucs coverage units

Milburn is a Pro Bowler and the Bucs coverage units are improving. Tampa Bay did a nice job of containing Milburn in Tampa, holding him to longs of 19 and 33 yards on punt and kickoff returns, respectively.

Bucs WR Jacquez Green vs. Bears CB Walt Harris

Green always seems to get loose against the Bears and has posted 100-yard receiving games in each of his past two meetings with Chicago. Former Bills CB Thomas Smith will be reunited with Keyshawn Johnson on the other side.

Bears QB Shane Matthews vs. Bucs pass rush

Matthews makes his first start of the season for Chicago in place of the injured Cade McNown and Jim Miller. Although not a scrambler, his pocket presence is better than McNown's and he is less likely to hold onto the ball and be sacked. Remember, Matthews is in his eighth NFL season, although he's just two years older than Florida State's Chris Wienke.

Bulletin board

"Is he active this week? No, I won't even go there." -- Bucs G Frank Middleton on former Bucs NT Brad Culpepper

* * *

"They beat us 41-0, that's all we need to talk about right now. There's a little bit of fire (in us) right now. ... If Mike Alstott is running through the hole and I'm there he'll be laying on the ground. The guy runs hard. He does it all. ... But Mike Alstott fumbles that ball, too. You put a helmet on him ... he'll give up the rock." -- Bears DE Bryan Robinson

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