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Pro Football Week 5 | TAMPA BAY 20, NEW YORK GIANTS

Defenses Dominate This One

October 05, 1998|From Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were everything the New York Giants feared they'd be.

Bouncing back from an embarrassing Monday night loss, the Buccaneers played inspired defense to beat the Giants, 20-3, Sunday in a game Coach Tony Dungy and his players felt was crucial to turning the season around.

Charles Mincy returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game, and Regan Upshaw and Ronde Barber also picked off Danny Kanell passes for Tampa Bay (2-3).

The Giants (2-3), who found themselves in a near identical position as the Buccaneers after losing badly in a Monday night game two weeks ago, wasted several opportunities and finished with just 135 yards total offense.

The Giants rebounded from a 24-point loss to Dallas by routing San Diego last week and feared Tampa Bay would feel a similar sense of desperation after losing to Detroit by 21 last Monday night.

Michael Husted kicked field goals of 35 and 26 yards for the Buccaneers, the latter giving Tampa Bay a 13-3 lead with 5:02 left. Barber's interception set up Mike Alstott's one-yard touchdown run for the final margin of victory.

Alstott rushed for 86 yards in 17 carries and Warrick Dunn ran for 63 yards in 21 attempts to take some of the pressure off an ineffective Trent Dilfer, who completed 12 of 20 passes for only 85 yards.

Dungy and Giant Coach Jim Fassel consider their teams mirror images of one another. Both thrived on running the ball in 1997 but have struggled to move it either running or passing in their first five games. The teams rank near the top of the league in three-and-out possessions.

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