By beating the Eagles 27-10 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Tampa Bay (14-4) advances to its first ever Super Bowl, which will be played at 6:00 p.m. on January 26 in San Diego, Ca. on ABC against the Oakland Raiders (13-5). The Bucs won their first NFC Championship title in the team's 27-year existence. For the best Super Bowl coverage, stay tuned to PewterReport.com
BUCS TEAR DOWN THE VET:
After losing their last three games to the Eagles at Veterans Stadium -- 21-3 in the 2000 playoffs, 31-9 in the 2001 playoffs and 20-10 during the 2002 regular season -- the Bucs came through with a victory in the NFC Championship Game in the last football game at the Vet -- much to the dismay of Eagles fans. The Bucs will have to travel to Philadelphia next year to face the Eagles again in the regular season, but it will be at the new Lincoln Financial Field.
Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson practiced without a helmet during the first part of the week to let his swelling around his eye subside from a laceration he suffered last week against San Francisco. Johnson started the game and had no ill effects from the injury. During the game, right guard Cosey Coleman went down with a right knee sprain with 12:48 left in the second quarter after Mike Alstott's helmet hit the knee. Todd Washington replaced Coleman for the rest of the second half, but Coleman returned in the third quarter. Defensive tackle Warren Sapp was poked in the right eye by Eagles guard Jermane Mayberry in the first half. Sapp was fitted with a clear visor. Running back Michael Pittman suffered a mild concussion in the first quarter, but returned to action in the second quarter.
JUREVICIUS MAKES IT TO PHILLY:
Tampa Bay wide receiver Joe Jurevicius missed practice all week due to health concerns that arose from the premature birth of his son, Michael. Jurevicius' wife, Meagan, was supposed to deliver in February, but complications forced an early delivery. Jurevicius missed the team flight to Philadelphia on Friday, but flew to Philly on Saturday to join the team. He came up with a huge, 71-yard grab that set up Tampa Bay's first touchdown in the first quarter.
CB Tim Wansley, TE Casey Crawford, TE Dan Wilcox, LB Justin Smith, WR Reggie Barlow, DT Buck Gurley, OT Dan Goodspeed and QB Shaun King.
Tampa Bay's defense got to Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb from the outside. Defensive end Simeon Rice had a key sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery right before halftime. In the third quarter, cornerback Ronde Barber also had a sack and forced a fumble, which was recovered by defensive tackle Ellis Wyms.
IN GREAT COMPANY:
The Buccaneers become the fourth team in NFL history to advance to the Super Bowl with the No. 1 defense in terms of fewest points and yards allowed. The other teams -- Green Bay (1996), Chicago (1985) and Miami (1972) -- all won the Super Bowl.
DRAFT POSITION FOR 2003:
Tampa Bay will either pick 31st or 32nd in the 2003 NFL Draft depending on the outcome of the Super Bowl.
BOO BIRDS COME OUT:
Philly's notorious fans turned on their own team at the end of the first half when the Bucs preserved their 17-10 lead when defensive end Simeon Rice sacked Donovan McNabb, stripped him of the ball and then recovered the fumble to deny the Eagles a scoring opportunity. The infamous boo birds came out and stayed through halftime, booed rap stars Ja Rule and Ashanti, and then booed the Eagles in the second half.
The kickoff temperature was 26 degrees with a wind chill of 15. The Bucs are now 2-0 in cold weather games in the Jon Gruden era. ... Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber's 92-yard interception return for a touchdown was the longest in NFL Championship game history. ... The Buccaneers won the turnover battle 3-to-1 against the Eagles. ... Wide receiver Joe Jurevicius' 71-yard catch tied his career long. ... The Bucs were only penalized three times for 16 yards ... Tampa Bay was 6-of-15 (40 percent) on third downs
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