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Buccaneers Finally Sapp to It

November 27, 2000|From Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Warren Sapp is wishing he opened his mouth sooner.

Tampa Bay's defensive leader challenged his teammates with critical comments about an up-and-down season, and the Buccaneers responded Sunday with a 31-17 victory that ended the Buffalo Bills' winning streak at four.

"I think I should have done it before now," Sapp said. "But it's said now, and we move on.

"This team is right where it needs to be. We're in position to get some things done, and I'll take my chances with this club once we get into the playoffs, and it's 60 minutes or go home."

Warrick Dunn became the first player to rush for 100 yards against the Bills (7-5) this season, getting 106 and two touchdowns, while Karl Williams scored on a 73-yard punt return and Derrick Brooks had 19 unassisted tackles for the Buccaneers (7-5).

Sapp had two of Tampa Bay's six sacks of Rob Johnson, giving the defensive tackle 13 1/2 this season to break Lee Roy Selmon's franchise record of 13 set in 1977. The reigning NFL defensive player of the year was also penalized 15 yards for taunting the Bills bench, helping Buffalo get into position for Steve Christie's 28-yard field goal that trimmed the Buccaneers' lead to 24-17 with 2:27 to go.

But with All-Pro running back Mike Alstott pacing the sidelines on crutches after suffering a sprained left knee last week, Dunn raced 39 yards untouched to the end zone to put the game out of reach after Tampa Bay recovered an onside kick.

Despite winning by two touchdowns, Tampa Bay finished with only 180 yards in total offense to Buffalo's 433. Keyshawn Johnson had two catches for 15 yards, while Eric Moulds, the NFL leader in receptions, had eight for 102 for the Bills.

"If 180 yards is going to win a football game, then give me 180 yards for 16 weeks and I'm fine with it," Keyshawn Johnson said. "If we can keep doing that, and winning football games, then that means we're one step closer to what we're trying to do, and that is get to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl."

Tampa Bay quarterback Shaun King was 10 for 18 for 106 yards and no interceptions, and had a two-yard touchdown run.

Buffalo quarterback Rob Johnson had touchdown pass plays of four yards to Jonathan Linton and 19 yards to Moulds, and was 24 for 39 for 262 yards and no interceptions.

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