We'd seen Warren Sapp line up at tight end several times. But in week one, head coach Jon Gruden surprised the Eagles defense by having the Bucs defensive end actually catch a pass, gaining a first down in a drive that would lead to the second spectacular Joe Jurevicius touchdown.
This guy's done it all, right? Wrong. He had never scored an offensive touchdown... until today.
As the Bucs lined up with first and goal at the Falcons' six-yard line, the big fellow was joined by fellow defensive teammate Anthony McFarland. Expecting Sapp to block for fullback Mike Alstott, the Falcons neglected to cover Sapp in the end zone where quarterback Brad Johnson hit his big target to give the Bucs a 17-3 lead on their way to a 31-10 victory. The touchdown was followed by a jubilant Sapp doing an unusal dance in the end zone.
Sapp claims is was from the "Crazy In Love" video by Beyonce Knowles. "I didn't do it quite like she does," Sapp admited. "She's got more assets than me."
The game began with the two teams trading punts. On the Bucs second posession, Brad Johnson led the Bucs 50 yards in eight plays. Johnson was four for four on the drive, with 43 yards. Trying to shake off three blocked kicks from last week, Martin Gramatica lined up for a 24 yard field goal. The Bucs line held, and the Bucs claimed an early 3-0 lead.
The two teams then each had three-and-outs before safety John Lynch intercepted a Doug Johnson pass at the Bucs three yard line. The Bucs offense was unable to capitalize on the turnover however, as the team was held to their second straight three-and-out, thanks in part to a facemasking penalty called against offensive lineman Roman Oben.
The Falcons quickly got into field goal position after cornerback Ronde Barber was called for pass interference at the Bucs 19. The defense stopped the Falcons, who had to settle for a Jay Feely field goal to tie the score at 3-3.
On the Bucs next possession, with third and two, Brad Johnson threw a short pass to Pittman who broke a tackle and headed up the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown. Gramatica's extra point was good, giving the Bucs a 10-3 lead.
Two possessions later, Doug Johnson had his first pass of the drive intercepted by defensive back Dwight Smith at the Falcons' 37-yard line. Seven plays later, Brad Johnson found Warren Sapp in the end zone to give the Bucs a 17-3 lead.
The Falcons next drive would end the same as their last drive. Five plays into the drive, Dwight Smith made his second interception of the day, this time in the Falcons' end zone. "We felt like we let the team down last week, so we wanted to bounce back," said Smith.
The Falcons would get the ball first in the second half, but they were held to another three-and-out. On the third play of the Bucs ensuing drive, running back Thomas Jones would fumble the ball, which would be recovered by linebacker Sam Rogers who returned the ball to the Bucs 2-yard line. Only the speed of Mike Alstott would prevent Rogers from reaching the end zone.
The Falcons would eventually score the touchdown three plays later as Woody Dantzler, lined up at quarterback, ran and end around for the one-yard score to pull the Falcons to within seven.
Brad Johnson was perfect on the Bucs' next drive, completing five of five passes for 46 yards. On second and goal from the two-yard line, Alstott rumbled up the middle to give the Bucs a 24-10 lead.
The ensuing kickoff, a squirelly looking squib kick, would be fumbled by Brian Kozlowski and recovered by John Howell at the Falcons 40 yard line. Michael Pittman and Mike Alstott drove the Bucs to a quick touchdown, led by a 29 yard Alstott run down to the one-yard line. Alstott would punch it in on the next play.
Doug Johnson would be sacked by Simeon Rice on the next drive to extend the Bucs streak of at least one interception and one sack to 44 straight games.
With about ten minutes remaining in the game, Nate Webster put Doug Johnson on the ground again. Johnson, showing his frustration, shoved Webster which began a scuffle between the two teams. Perhaps remembering all the stupid penalties from last week, Warren Sapp pulled Ellis Wyms away and the two began to yell at each other. "I was just telling him to get off the field," Sapp said. "This game is over, get off the field."
Doug Johnson was replaced by Kurt Kittner, who was just as ineffective. Kittner completed one of his first three passes, before he was picked off by Bucs linebacker Ryan Nece.
After a Bucs three-and-out, the defense held the Falcons as the clock ran out, giving the Bucs a much needed victory over a division rival.
Brad Johnson completed 16 of 24 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns - a 118.8 quarterback rating for the day. The Bucs defense held the Falcons QBs to 18 of 31 passes for 127 yards, four interceptions and no touchdowns - a 28.0 quarterback rating.
Michael Pittman led the Bucs in receiving and rushing with 82 yards on 20 rushes, and 87 yards on 7 receptions. Mike Alstott had 44 yards on 8 runs. Keenan McCardell had 41 yards on 4 receptions.
Showing total domination, the Bucs defense held former Buccaneer Warrick Dunn, who led the Falcons rushing game, to just 7 yards on 9 attempts.
Sapp Rocks, Bucs Roll
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