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Buccaneers Prove to Be Lion Tamers

September 18, 2000|From Associated Press

PONTIAC, Mich. — Everybody in the NFL knows what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to do. Stopping them is another matter.

The Buccaneers did exactly what they wanted, without much resistance, in a 31-10 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Just as they did in a 41-0 victory over Chicago at home the previous week.

Tampa Bay, undefeated after three games for only the second time since 1979, rushed for 120 yards and limited the Lions (2-1) to 17 yards on the ground. Shaun King threw a touchdown pass and rushed for a score. Warren Sapp led the harassment of Detroit quarterback Charlie Batch with three of Tampa Bay's seven sacks.

The Buccaneers want to run the ball and mix in a pass here or there. On defense, they want to shut down the run so teams are forced into passing situations.

That was the formula for success in the Buccaneers' run to the NFC Championship game last season, and they're hoping it will lead them to the Super Bowl.

"We don't try to trick teams, we just want to beat them," safety John Lynch said. "A lot of teams try to be deceptive with new schemes each week, but then they end up fooling themselves because they're not fundamentally sound with what they want to do."

Tampa Bay beat Detroit in the Silverdome for only the second time in eight visits.

King completed 18 of 30 passes for 211 yards. Mike Alstott ran for 68 yards and a touchdown in 21 carries. Keyshawn Johnson caught eight passes for 84 yards.

Batch was 26 of 36 for 277 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. James Stewart gained only 13 yards in eight carries, and Germane Crowell had six receptions for 93 yards.

"We knew it was going to be physical, and we just weren't up to it," Batch said. "They physically dominated us all game. You can't let a team like that dictate what you are going to do. We couldn't run, and they just teed off on us."

Desmond Howard's returns and the Lions' stingy defense weren't enough Sunday, as they were in the first two games.

"I apologize to our fans--they deserve better than that," Detroit Coach Bobby Ross said. "That was just an old-fashioned butt-kicking."

Randall McDaniel, an offensive guard playing fullback, caught a two-yard pass from King to give the Buccaneers a 21-3 lead with 2:16 left in the first half, the first touchdown of his 13-year career.

"It's been in the books ever since training camp," McDaniel said.

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