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Pro Football / Week 10 | TENNESSEE 31, TAMPA BAY 22

Oilers on Road to Success

November 09, 1998|From Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tennessee Oilers can't explain why they play so much better on the road than at home. All they do is keep running--and winning.

Eddie George had his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing game and quarterback Steve McNair had a 71-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes left as the Oilers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-22, on Sunday night.

The victory was the fourth in five games for the Oilers (5-4), who are 4-1 on the road. The Buccaneers (4-5) lost for the first time at Raymond James Stadium after four consecutive victories on their new home field.

George, who gained 134 yards in 27 carries, had a 14-yard touchdown run and help set up Mike Archie's seven-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Joe Bowden's bizarre interception of a Trent Dilfer pass from the end zone resulted in a one-yard return for touchdown that gave the Oilers a 24-16 lead, while McNair's scoring scramble on third and eight with 1:46 left was the game-clincher.

"If we can run the ball, we'll do it under any circumstances because it opens everything else up," Tennessee offensive lineman Bruce Matthews said. "Speaking from experience, you don't want to have to win in this league by throwing the ball 40, 45 times a game. Steve can be so much more effective with play action, rolling out, the quarterback draws. It just gives you so much flexibility."

Tampa Bay, which snapped out of a season-long offensive funk with 378 yards in a 27-24 victory over Minnesota last week continued to move the ball well against Tennessee.

The Buccaneers outgained the Oilers 289-110 to take a 16-3 lead, but it took some luck to score their only touchdown of the first half. Dilfer threw a ball up for grabs in the end zone, but cornerback Darryl Lewis had it go through his hands to Bert Emanuel, who tipped it three times before gaining possession for the 58-yard touchdown.

Dilfer completed 20 of 38 passes for 294 yards, and had a second touchdown to Reidel Anthony in the fourth quarter.

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