Bucs hand Pack first loss

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- When it was over, an exhausted Warren Sapp
sat on the ground and soaked up the atmosphere.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Green Bay Packers 14-10 and
ended the NFL's longest winning streak at seven games Sunday. They
also answered their doubters and regained some of the swagger the
team lost after blowing a fourth-quarter lead the week before.

"I think there was a different feeling the whole ballgame,"
said Sapp, Tampa Bay's All-Pro defensive tackle.

"We were mixing and matching, playing our defense. Bucs ball.
There was never a sense that we were giving them anything. They
were going to have to earn it. When you've got to earn it, it's
pretty tough."

The Bucs (2-1) intercepted three of Brett Favre's passes, and
Shelton Quarles returned one of them 98 yards for a touchdown.

Can Tampa Bay be considered a Super Bowl contender unless their offense improves?
With only one sack against Green Bay, the Bucs' defense is playing OK but they'll need to pick it up, especially on the road. Warren Sapp has been held sackless this season. Offensively, the Bucs need to get the ball down the field a little more. They're playing so conservatively that it takes 8-12 plays to move the ball. Because they don't have a big strike offense, if the Bucs get behind by more than a touchdown, it'll be tough for them to come back. They need to open it up more and get Warrick Dunn back there -- he's their home run threat. The Tampa Bay offense is a little too conservative right now, especially against a team like the St. Louis Rams.

ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.


A struggling offense did its part, too, putting together the
longest scoring drive in team history -- 95 yards -- to produce the
winning TD with 6:45 to go.

Mike Alstott, filling in for injured running back Warrick Dunn,
found an opening in the left side of Green Bay's top-ranked defense
and lumbered 39 yards for the TD with help from two blocks by Bucs
receiver Keyshawn Johnson.

The Packers (3-1) led 10-7 after Favre threw a 67-yard,
second-quarter touchdown pass to Bill Schroeder, and Tampa Bay's
only turnover set up Ryan Longwell's 35-yard field goal in the
third quarter.

Favre has led 20 game-winning comebacks from fourth-quarter ties
or deficit during his career, including four against Tampa Bay. He
had two chances to extend the seven-game winning streak dating back
to last season.

"You just keep telling yourself to slam the door this week,"
Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks said. "We didn't play a perfect
game, but it was good enough to win."

Favre, who watched helplessly as Quarles returned a
second-quarter interception nearly the length of the field for a
7-0 Tampa Bay lead, was picked off again on the next play after
Alstott's touchdown.

The Packers got the ball back one more time and marched from
their own 16 to a first down at the Bucs 13 in the waning seconds.
But the drive stalled when Tampa Bay's talented front four, which
pressured the Green Bay quarterback all day, finally got Favre on
the ground for a 5-yard sack on second down.

Favre, who completed 20 of 35 passes for 258 yards, threw two
straight incompletions in the end zone as time expired.

"The game was a battle like we all thought it would be. If you
watched from the outside, it was all that you wished it would be,"
Favre said.

"I feel like if we were in that situation 10 times, we would
score 10 times," the three-time league MVP said of the last drive.
"You just have to tip your hat to Tampa. They are a good team. We
got in the red zone twice with no points."

Tampa Bay's defense was eager to redeem itself after allowing
402 yards in a 20-16 loss to Minnesota. The Vikings drove 96 yards
in the closing minutes to win the game, raising questions about
whether the collapse was an aberration or a sign of slippage.

Donnie Abraham intercepted Favre's first pass of the game, then
Quarles cut in front of tight end Bubba Franks to make his
interception on Green Bay's next possession.

But Favre didn't flinch. Pressured by Sapp and Simeon Rice,
Favre lofted a perfect pass to Schroeder, who sped past safety Eric
Vance to finish the Packers' longest pass play of the season.

Longwell snapped the 7-7 tie with his field goal, four plays
after Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila sacked Brad Johnson for the third time,
forcing a fumble that John Thierry recovered at the Bucs 22.

The Packers, who have outscored opponents 59-7 in the second
half, nearly made the three-point lead stand with help from a
passive Tampa Bay offense that rarely tested Green Bay with deep
passes and had difficulty running the ball until Alstott broke his
TD run.

Keyshawn Johnson had nine receptions for 82 yards for Tampa Bay.
Brad Johnson was 23-for-29 for 184 yards, but most of his
completions came on short and intermediate routes that drew boos
from the crowd of 65,510.

Meanwhile, the Bucs contained the Packers' Ahman Green, who was
limited to 59 yards rushing on 15 carries. Alstott finished with 77
yards on 15 attempts for Tampa Bay.

Game notes
Quarles' interception return was the longest scoring play in
Bucs history, surpassing Jacquez Green's 95-yard punt return
against the Packers in 1998 ... Five of the past six meetings
between the Bucs and Packers have been decided by seven points or
less ... Tampa Bay has at least one sack in 31 consecutive games,
the longest active streak in the NFL.


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