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Still productive, yet still scoreless

By ROGER MILLS
© St. Petersburg Times,
published December 4, 2001

TAMPA -- With seven receptions against the Bengals, receiver Keyshawn Johnson leads the NFL with 83, one ahead of Denver's Rod Smith.

But Johnson, who has 976 yards, has yet to score a touchdown. Smith has nine and San Francisco's Terrell Owens, who is second to Johnson in the NFC with 75 catches, has a league-high 13.

"We'd all like to score touchdowns. He would like to score as much as anybody," coach Tony Dungy said. "He's never come to me and said, "I've got to have a touchdown.' He talks about moving the ball and what we can do to move it and things he sees. He's not concerned about scoring as long as we win."

Johnson is two shy of James Wilder's NFL mark for receptions without a touchdown.

LESS OF MOORE?: Tight end Dave Moore has been an increasing target in the passing game and has made some important third-down catches as a result. Now, he's hurt.

Moore injured his right hip against the Bengals and his status for Sunday is uncertain.

The 10-year veteran, who has caught 12 passes in his past three games, had an MRI Monday that showed no severe injury, but the team plans to rest him and hope for the best.

"He could possibly be out (for Sunday's game)," Dungy said.

Second-year player Todd Yoder will move into the starting lineup if Moore is out. Yoder scored the first touchdown of his career after he scooped up Ronde Barber's blocked punt and returned it 11 yards Sunday in Cincinnati.

Should Moore sit, the Bucs likely would have to activate Mike Roberg off the practice roster. The Bucs would have to release a player to make room for Roberg.

NO EXPLANATIONS, NO EXCUSES: The Bucs have not had the best year protecting quarterback Brad Johnson, and Sunday six sacks brought the season total to 39.

Only Buffalo and Detroit have surrendered more sacks through 11 games. The Bills (1-10) have given up 40 and the Lions (0-11) have allowed 45. The Falcons also have given up 39. The league average going into Week 13 is 26.9.

The Bears and Dolphins share the NFL lead with 12 sacks allowed.

"I really don't know what it is," second-year right guard Cosey Coleman said. "It's the big question. Everyone is searching for the answer, and it's something we have to continue to work on."

There have been coverage sacks, linemen stepping on Johnson's feet, Johnson failing to get rid of the ball quickly and players failing to pick up blitzes. But whatever the reason, the sacks have kept coming.

Against the Bengals, Johnson was sacked on the fourth and fifth plays of the Bucs' first drive. Then, with eight seconds left in a tie game, Johnson was sacked at the Bucs 43, thwarting any hope of a desperation pass.

BUCS BITS: With his fourth-quarter interception of Jon Kitna, the 29th of his career, Donnie Abraham tied Cedric Brown for first on the franchise's all-time list. Abraham has 18 interceptions in the past three years, most in the NFL during that span. Rams cornerback Dexter McCleon has 15. ... According to Elias Sports Bureau, the NFL's statistical gatekeepers, Sunday marked the first time in league history that brothers kicked winning field goals in overtime on the same day. Bill Gramatica kicked one in the Cardinals' upset of the Raiders. ... The Bucs have recorded at least one sack in 39 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

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