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THE NFL / 1996

Mirer Rallies Seattle to Comeback Victory

September 23, 1996|From Associated Press

TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Just when it looked like winless Seattle's ineptitude might doom the Seahawks again, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers saved the day.

Rick Mirer directed a long touchdown drive, then converted three crucial third-down situations in the closing minutes to set up Lamar Smith's 14-yard touchdown run that rallied the Seahawks to a 17-13 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Mirer's five-yard scoring pass to Brian Blades pulled Seattle to 13-10 with three minutes remaining. Mirer then completed three more passes to Blades in the 11-play, 61-yard drive that produced the winning points with 31 seconds left.

Trent Dilfer avoided costly mistakes for Tampa Bay (0-4), but his inability to move the ball consistently in the second half set the stage for the Seahawks' comeback.

Michael Husted's 28-yard field goal gave the Buccaneers a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Seattle moved 83 yards to score on its next possession, then forced a Tampa Bay punt to give Mirer a chance to win.

Mirer, who started the day as the AFC's second-lowest rated passer, completed 20 of 37 passes for 209 yards. His touchdown pass to Blades was his first of the season.

Dilfer had interceptions returned for touchdowns in his two previous games and lost a fourth-quarter fumble that eliminated any chance Tampa Bay could rally in a 27-23 loss at Denver last week.

Against Seattle, Dilfer was 15 for 26 for 118 yards with one interception, on a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game.

Tampa Bay's ground game worked for the second consecutive week, helping Dilfer by not forcing him to repeatedly bail the Buccaneers out of long-yardage situations.

The third-year quarterback completed third-down passes of 21 and eight yards to Alvin Harper to set up Husted's 33-yard first-quarter field goal. He took advantage of John Lynch's 40-yard run on a fake punt to get Tampa Bay into the end zone for a 10-3 lead just before the half.

Reggie Brooks, a former 1,000-yard rusher claimed on waivers late in training camp because of Errict Rhett's holdout, scored on a two-yard run.

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