Bucs Game Grades

November 18 – The Chicago Bears escaped Raymond James Stadium with a 27-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams tried to gift-wrap the game and hand it to each other, but in the end, Chicago simply made enough plays to win. Buccaneer Magazine hands out game grades based on the Tampa Bay player performances in Sunday's loss to Chicago.

QB BRAD JOHSON: Johnson completed a whopping 40-of-56 (71.4 percent) passes for 399 yards and threw 2 interceptions. Johnson had mixed results against Chicago. Johnson threw two interceptions, but the second was the most costly. Johnson and Tampa Bay's offense had a chance to drive down the field with time on the clock late in the fourth quarter. On the first play of the drive, Johnson threw a pick, which led to Chicago's offense taking a knee on three consecutive plays and running the clock under 1:00 minute in the fourth quarter. Johnson did, however, engineer two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. Johnson's quarterback sneak for a touchdown and 2-point conversion pass to FB Mike Alstott late in the fourth quarter pulled Tampa Bay within three points of the Bears. In the first half, Johnson threw a perfect pass in the corner of the end zone for WR Keyshawn Johnson, but K.J. could not hang onto the ball. Johnson overthrew receivers on a few occasions, but also threw some perfect passes which moved the chains and moved Tampa Bay's offense into the red zone a total of four times in the first half. Tampa Bay's offense outgained Chicago's offense 234-101in the first half, but they were only able to generate nine points.

*Tampa Bay's offense converted 5-of-14 third downs and earned 26 first downs against Chicago.



RB WARRICK DUNN: Rushed eight times for 12 yards (1.5 avg.). Dunn was ineffective in Tampa Bay's running game, but did play a huge part in the passing game. Dunn caught 12 passes for 138 yards. Dunn was able to win battles against Chicago's linebackers, especially when the Bears gave the Bucs' offense the underneath lanes in the late third and entire fourth quarter. Dunn had a costly fumble on Tampa Bay's first drive of the game. CB Ronde Barber intercepted a QB Jim Miller pass to start the game, but Dunn's fumble cost the offense at least a field goal attempt. Barber had two clutch catches on Tampa Bay's last offensive drive of the game. Dunn got out of bounds on both receptions (4-yards, 5-yards) and helped the Bucs move into Chicago territory.

FB MIKE ALSTOTT: Alstott rushed four times for 2 yards (0.5 avg.) against Chicago's defense. Alstott's fumble in third quarter led to a Chicago field goal. The A-Train did, however, rush for the Bucs' first touchdown (1-yard run) and also caught the 2-point conversion pass from QB Brad Johnson to pull Tampa Bay within three points.

*Tampa Bay rushed for a total of 19 yards against Chicago.



WR KEYSHAWN JOHNSON: Johnson caught a career-high 12 receptions for 89 yards. Johnson caught some important passes, but perhaps the one he dropped will be the one that is remembered the most. In the first half, B. Johnson threw a perfect fade into the corner of the end zone and the intended receiver was K.J. The ball dropped right into K. Johnson's hands and popped right out of them. The pass fell incomplete and Tampa Bay would have to settle for a field goal.

WR REIDEL ANTHONY: Caught three passes for 57 yards. Anthony's biggest catch was at the end of the first half when he hauled in a 35-yard strike with one hand down the middle of the field from B. Johnson to set Tampa Bay up in field goal range. Anthony dropped a pass down the sideline that would have moved Tampa Bay inside Chicago's 20 yard line in the fourth quarter. The pass was high, but it popped in and out of Anthony's hands as he leaped up in the air for it. Anthony drew a pass interference penalty on his way into the end zone late in the fourth quarter. The penalty would move Tampa Bay's offense up to Chicago's 1 yard line and set up a touchdown.

WR KARL WILLIAMS: Caught three passes for 34 yards. Williams was an effective No. 3 receiver in the first half, but left the game injured after fumbling a punt.


TIGHT ENDS: TE Dave Moore caught five passes for 36 yards. Moore contributed in the passing game, but he spent most of the game in on the offensive line. Moore was able to help hold off Chicago's pass rush, but wasn't able to help at all in the running game.


OFFENSIVE LINE: Tampa Bay's offensive line did a descent job of providing QB Brad Johnson time to throw. Johnson was only sacked two times by Chicago. But the Tampa Bay offensive line was dominated in the running game. Tampa Bay's offensive line was soft and was not able to open up any holes for Alstott and Dunn, which took Tampa Bay out of their game plan and caused Johnson to throw 56 times.


DEFENSIVE LINE: DE Simeon Rice had a phenomenal game against Chicago, especially in the first half. Rice recorded five tackles, batted two QB Jim Miller passes and sacked Miller one time for an 8-yard loss. DT Warren Sapp recorded two tackles and played solid against the run. DE Steve White played an outstanding game in place of DE Marcus Jones. White recorded two tackles and sacked Miller two times. White was called for a personal foul penalty because of helmet-to-helmet contact on one of his sacks. Besides avoiding Miller all together, there was nothing White could have done to avoid the contact on the sack. The penalty moved the Bears offense closer to Tampa Bay's end zone, but Chicago later settled for a field goal. DT Anthony McFarland recorded two tackles. Tampa Bay's defensive line held Chicago RB Anthony Thomas to just 58 yards on 23 carries (2.5 avg.). Tampa Bay's defensive line put tremendous pressure on Miller throughout Sunday's game.

*Tampa Bay's defensive line sacked QB Jim Miller three times and held Chicago to a total of 68 net yards rushing.


LINEBACKERS: ROLB Derrick Brooks had three tackles against Chicago. MLB Jamie Duncan recorded eight tackles before leaving the game late in the second half. MLB Nate Webster recorded one tackle in place of Duncan. LOLB Shelton Quarles recorded two tackles (2 solo). Tampa Bay's linebackers were blocked out by Chicago on a consecutive screen plays and one of them bit on a play-action pass that resulted in one of Chicago's touchdowns, but other than that, they did a good job of not allowing Thomas to get involved in the passing game out of the backfield.

*Chicago converted just 3-of-13 third down conversions.


SECONDARY: Chicago WR Mary Booker torched Tampa Bay's secondary for 165 yards and three touchdown on seven receptions. CB Brian Kelly was responsible for Booker on two of the three touchdown receptions. Kelly was definitely responsible for Booker's 66-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Even though the blown coverage on Booker was costly, Kelly's most costly mistake was a bonehead personal foul penalty he had called on him for pushing a Chicago coach out of his way on his way back onto the football field. Before Kelly committed the foul, Chicago had absolutely no momentum, but the penalty moved Chicago up the field 15-yards and later led to their first touchdown. Kelly had two tackles. CB Ronde Barber started the game off by intercepting Bears QB Jim Miller. But Tampa Bay's offense could not capitalize. RB Warrick Dunn fumbled two plays after Barber's interception. Barber was guilty of allowing Booker's second touchdown. For whatever reason, Barber stopped running with Booker down the sideline. It looked like Barber thought Tampa Bay's safety (most likely FS Dexter Jackson) was going to pick Booker up from the point where Barber stopped, but that didn't happen. Booker was left wide open and strolled into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown. Barber had eight tackles, all of which were solo. FS Dexter Jackson was partially responsible for at least one of Booker's touchdowns. He recorded three tackles. CB Donnie Abraham played as the team's nickel cornerback and recorded two tackles. SS John Lynch recorded three tackles and lit up Booker on his first touchdown reception of the game. Booker caught Miller's pass 28-yards downfield and was creamed by Lynch as he crossed the goal line. But Lynch's hit actually pinned the ball against Booker instead of deflecting it out of his hands for an incompletion.

*Tampa Bay's secondary allowed Chicago QB Jim Miller to complete 14-of-25 passes for 225 yards and throw three touchdowns. WR Marty Booker had seven of those receptions, all three touchdowns and 165 of the 225 yards.


SPECIAL TEAMS: K Martin Gramatica drilled his first three field goals of the game (25, 38, 26) in the first half to give Tampa Bay a 9-7 halftime lead. But Gramatica's 49-yard field attempt to tie the game at 27 and sent it into overtime bounced off the right upright as time expired. WR Karl Williams was carted off of the field after fumbling a punt. Before his last punt return opportunity, Williams had returned four punts for a total of 20 yards (5.0 avg.). LB Al Singleton recovered the fumble, but Williams appeared to be in a lot of pain as he was carted off of the field. WR Frank Murphy returned kickoffs for Tampa Bay and did extremely well. Murphy returned four kickoffs and averaged 28.8 yard per return. WR Reidel Anthony filled in for the injured Williams. He fielded two punts, one of which he fumbled. But Anthony recovered his own muffed punt. Anthony averaged 3.5 yards per punt return. P Mark Royals was inconsistent in punting. He punted four times and averaged 42.0 yard per punt. In the fourth quarter with Chicago leading 24-16, Tampa Bay called a fake punt on fourth down, but only if they received a certain look from Chicago. RB Aaron Stecker was in for the injured Rabih Abdullah (concussion) and was supposed to check out of the fake punt, but didn't communicate that information to Royals. He fielded the snap and looked downfield for a receiver, but had none that were eligible. Royals threw to RB Aaron Stecker, who gained 5-yards, but still came up short of the first down. Tampa Bay was penalized for ineligible men downfield. Chicago's offense took over on downs and later kicked a field goal a few plays later to increase their lead to 27-16. This field goal proved to be the difference in the football game.


Copyright 2001 Buccaneer Magazine/BucMag.com

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