Flynn's Focus: Bucs 2001 Year In Review

December 31 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had mixed results in 2001, but they will be starting 2002 off on the right foot by making an appearance in the playoffs. But before we enter 2002, let's take a look back at the top five roster moves and top ten plays of 2001 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A year in review is in order for this installment of Flynn's Focus.


1 April 9, 2001 Bucs Re-sign CB Ronde Barber In hindsight, Tampa Bay definitely rolled the dice and came up with all sixes when they let CB Ronde Barber go test the free agent waters in the offseason. Barber might be a product of Tampa Bay's defensive system, but that system would certainly miss Barber's franchise-record 10 interceptions this season.

2March 23, 2001 Bucs Sign Free Agent DE Simeon Rice It took Rice a while to adapt to Tampa Bay's defensive scheme, but he's finished 2001 on fire. Rice leads the defensive line in tackles and the team in sacks with 11.

3March 6, 2001: Bucs Sign Free Agent QB Brad Johnson Tampa Bay blocked B. Johnson from joining the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and made a needed upgrade at the quarterback position. Johnson has not put up the most impressive numbers, but he's made smart decisions with the football and his leadership has rubbed off on his teammates.

4August 8, 2001: Bucs Bring Back LB Derrick Brooks To Training Camp With Much-Deserved Contract Extension Brooks was a 10-day holdout in training camp, but Tampa Bay stepped up to the plate and worked out a new contract with Brooks. Brooks battled injuries throughout 2001, but he has also finished 2001 on the right foot. Brooks leads by example and he is a big reason why Tampa Bay will be playing in the playoffs at the start of the new year.

5April 2001: Bucs Trade No. 1 and 2 Draft Picks So They Can Draft LT Kenyatta Walker: Walker struggled out of the gate, but he started to show his potential at the end of 2001. Not only was Walker thrown to the wolves from the start, but he was also making the transition from right tackle in college to left tackle in the pros. Walker has started to show he was worth two draft picks.

TOP 10 PLAYS OF 2001

1 Wide Receiver Keyshawn Johnson's One and Only Touchdown When the Bucs needed him most, WR Keyshawn Johnson turned in a 10 catch, 101 yard performance against the Detroit Lions. Tampa trailed Detroit with under 1:00 left to play, but Johnson hauled in the game-winning touchdown pass from Brad Johnson. It was a game Tampa Bay had to have, and Johnson kept the Pewter Pirates' season alive. Tampa Bay kept Detroit winless by beating them, 15-12.

2 Fullback Mike Alstott's Game-Winning Touchdown Against Green Bay: Tampa Bay found a remedy for their running woes when FB Mike Alstott rushed for 77 yards on 15 carries against Green Bay. With Tampa Bay trailing Green Bay in the fourth quarter, Alstott broke tackles and got terrific blocking upfield on his way to scoring a 39-yard touchdown. Tampa Bay downed Green Bay, 14-10.

3 CB Ronde Barber's Three Interceptions Against New Orleans: Tampa Bay and New Orleans met at Raymond James Stadium in what was a playoff game in itself. Bucs CB Ronde Barber stepped up for the Bucs biggest game of the season by intercepting Saints QB Aaron Brooks three times. Barber intercepted Brooks with under 2:00 left in the game and scored a 36-yard touchdown. The Bucs defeated the Saints in convincing fashion, 48-21.

4 .RB Aaron Stecker's 86-yard Kick Return Against New Orleans Stecker set the tone against the Saints by returning the opening kickoff 86-yards. It was the longest kick return in franchise history and it set Tampa Bay's offense up to score a touchdown two plays later.

5 FB Mike Alstott's Performance Against Minnesota: The A-Train carried Tampa Bay's offense over the Minnesota Vikings, 41-14. Alstott rushed 28 times for 129 yards (4.6 avg.) and scored three touchdowns.

6 TE Todd Yoder's Touchdown Off a Blocked Punt: Tampa Bay's offense failed to get into the end zone against the Bengals, but that didn't stop the special teams from going there. In the second quarter, CB Ronde Barber blocked a punt, which allowed TE Todd Yoder to pick it up and run 11-yards into the end zone for the only touchdown of the game for the Bucs. Tampa Bay escaped Cincinnati in overtime, 16-13.

7 LB Shelton Quarles Interception Return For a Touchdown Against Green Bay: Quarles' play was a two-score swing, and it proved to be the difference in the Bucs winning and losing the game against the Packers. In the second quarter, Packers QB Brett Favre attempted to hit TE Bubba Franks for a touchdown, but Quarles stepped in front of the pass and intercepted it. Quarles then sprinted 98-yards for a Tampa Bay touchdown-the longest in franchise history.

8 LB Derrick Brooks Interception Against Baltimore on Saturday Night Football: Tampa Bay's defense looked like their old self, and no one had a better night than Bucs ROLB Derrick Brooks, who intercepted QB Elvis Grbac and returned it 53-yards and set Tampa Bay QB Brad Johnson's 1-yard touchdown score.

9 RB Warrick Dunn's Game-Winning Touchdown Run Against St. Louis: Dunn struggled throughout the 2001 season due to poor offensive line blocking and a toe injury, but he came up big against the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football. In the fourth quarter, Dunn sprinted 21-yards down the right sideline for a Tampa Bay touchdown. Dunn's score proved to be the difference in the game as the Bucs beat the Rams, 24-17.

10 CB Brian Kelly's Touchdown-Saving Tackle on Dallas RB Emmitt Smith: Tampa Bay's defense made an impressive goal line stand against Dallas after their special teams allowed the Cowboys to start in great position. Rookie QB Quincy Carter handed off to RB Emmitt Smith and Smith ran to his left and was met by CB Brian Kelly, who held onto Smith for dear life. Kelly's tackle saved the touchdown and might have saved the game as the Bucs escaped Dallas with a 10-6 win on opening day.

The year 2001 will never be forgotten in terms of football and the events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. This past year reminded us that there are more important things in life than football and other sports, and that all of us should have an added interest in the events happening in the world around us. It should be interesting to see what 2002 has in store for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the United States of America and the rest of our world.

Until then…..take care and see you next year!

Copyright 2001 Buccaneer Magazine/

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