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Johnson, King Finally Hitting Their Stride

November 06, 2000|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Maybe now, Keyshawn Johnson won't have to write a sequel to his book, "Just Give Me the Damn Ball."

Johnson played a big role in the Tampa Bay offense for the second consecutive week, catching two touchdown passes from Shaun King as the Buccaneers defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 27-14, Sunday.

"I expect to score touchdowns," Johnson said. "That's what they pay me for. They don't pay me $56 million to stand around and do nothing."

The Pro Bowl receiver was having a frustrating first season with Tampa Bay until he met with King about getting the ball more.

Last week, Johnson responded with six catches for a season-high 121 yards and a score in a 41-13 rout of previously unbeaten Minnesota.

He followed up against the Falcons with his first two-touchdown game of the season. Johnson hauled in a five-yard scoring pass in the second quarter and a game-clinching 29-yarder in the fourth to double his touchdown output for the season.

"I'm doing the same things I did the first half of the season except fumble," Johnson said. "I'm not playing any different."

Tampa Bay (5-4) won its second in a row after a four-game losing streak, rekindling memories of last year's strong finish. The Buccaneers won eight of their final nine to capture the NFC Central title.

King threw for only 110 yards but had three touchdown passes, giving him seven in the last two games. He had six through the first seven weeks.

The Falcons (3-7) aren't getting better. They lost quarterback Chris Chandler to a concussion early in the second quarter and begin a three-game road trip with virtually no hope of salvaging the season.

"We're not going to give up," Atlanta Coach Dan Reeves said. "We won't surrender."

Tampa Bay went ahead on tight end Dave Moore's one-yard touchdown catch midway through the first quarter. Donnie Abraham set up the score with the first of his two interceptions, returning it 22 yards to the Atlanta 23.

The Falcons appeared to have stopped Tampa Bay at the six-yard line, but Ray Buchanan was called for pass interference in the end zone on third and goal. King threw to a wide-open Moore on the next play.

The Buccaneers went ahead, 14-0, after John McLaughlin blocked Dan Stryzinski's punt and Tampa Bay took over at the Atlanta three-yard line. King found Johnson open in the back of the end zone two plays later.

Johnson flipped the ball to a woman wearing his No. 19 jersey, sitting among thousands of Tampa Bay fans in the crowd of 70,097 that gave Atlanta its first sellout of the season.

Chandler was taken to a hospital for observation after being hit by Steve White and Warren Sapp.

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