Derrick Still Dominates

Bucs need to run the table, starting with Sunday's game against dangerous New Orleans.

There are a lot of places to point fingers after the difficult 2004 Buccaneers season, but one of them isn't Derrick Brooks. Brooks, the NFC Defensive Player of the Week two weeks ago, has been making as much of an impact as he did when he arrived as a rookie out of Florida State in 1995. While the Bucs have suffered on both sides of the ball, Brooks hasn't lost a step. With playoff hopes dwindling, Brooks said he still plans to be playing in January. "We are in pretty good spirits,'' Brooks said. "As bad as the situation is, there is still an upside to it. Our goals haven't changed. We still have to win out to be in the playoffs. It is going to be an 8-8 team that gets in. We hope it is us. We don't want to have any regrets that come to pass, that we are not that team that gets in.'' To go 8-8, the Bucs have to beat New Orleans at home on Sunday, then knock off Carolina at home on Dec. 26. After that is a road trip to play the improving Carolina Panthers. Brooks, like coach Jon Gruden, is following the NFL's favorite cliché: One Game At a Time. "It is important (to beat New Orleans)'' Brooks said. They swept us a couple of years back when we won the Super Bowl and obviously, we want to show them that we have figured out a way to beat this team. It gives us a chance to go 5-2 at home.'' Game time is 4:05 p.m.

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