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Dunn Cuts Lions Down to Size

September 08, 1997|From Associated Press

PONTIAC, Mich. — Tampa Bay rookie Warrick Dunn never doubted he belonged in the NFL. Upstaging the great Barry Sanders only makes him more confident than ever.

"I don't want to think small," the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Dunn said after the Buccaneers' 24-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. "I think big. I expect the best from myself, and my teammates."

Dunn, from Florida State, carried 24 times for 130 yards, including a six-yard touchdown, as the Buccaneers--who began 0-5 last season--posted their first 2-0 start since 1992. The Buccaneer defense, which held the San Francisco 49ers without a touchdown in the opener, held Sanders to 20 yards in 10 carries.

"We have the type of team that can contain Barry," said Tampa Bay Coach Tony Dungy, whose aggressive, swarming defensive scheme is turning the Buccaneers around. "We've got a lot of speed in our linebacker corps and our front four."

It was the best defensive effort Tampa Bay has had against Sanders, who had rushed for 1,763 yards in his first 15 games against the Buccaneers. Sanders' previous low against them was 48 yards in 18 carries in 1995.

Sanders, the NFL's rushing leader a year ago, rushed for only 33 yards in Detroit's opening victory against a rebuilding Atlanta team.

Detroit (1-1) had 11 penalties for 129 yards and both of its touchdowns came on broken plays.

Scott Mitchell hooked up with Johnnie Morton on a 73-yard scoring play--only after a Tampa Bay defender fell down. And with just 15 seconds remaining, Mitchell flipped a desperation underhand toss that Sanders turned into a 66-yard touchdown pass play.

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