Buccaneers 20

(4-4, 2-3 away)

Lions 17

(0-8, 0-4 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 11, 2001


1 2 3 4 T
TB 0 10 7 320
DET 0 0 7 1017

Gramatica thwarts Lions' chance for first win

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- Warren Sapp had called Sunday's game against the winless Detroit Lions the most important of his seven-year career with Tampa Bay.

While the comment drew some snickering, the Lions certainly kept the game close and the Buccaneers needed Martin Gramatica's 35-yard field goal with four seconds left to secure a 20-17 victory.

What do the Lions need to do to get over the top?
The Lions need a quarterback they feel comfortable with and confident in, they need a healthy running back (James Stewart is out), they need to build a better offensive line. So, offensively, the Lions don't have a lot of the pieces they'd like to have.

The defense has let them down, too. The Lions thought their defensive front seven would be much better, but that group hasn't played up to preseason expectations.'s Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.

"If we lost to an 0-7 team, where is the morale of the team?" Sapp asked. "All the nuts and the bolts could've came out if we fell flat here in Detroit, no doubt about it."

The Buccaneers are 4-4 for the fourth straight year, while the 0-8 Lions remained the NFL's lone winless team and are off to their worst start since going 0-11 in 1942.

"The last five games have been extremely close," said Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg, who has seen the Lions lose those five by an average of 4.6 points. "The good teams win those games. Not all of them, but many of them."

While Sunday's game couldn't compare to Tampa Bay's loss to St. Louis in the 1999 NFC Championship game, Sapp insisted on sticking to his comparison.

"That is an excellent 0-8 team," Sapp said.

Detroit began the fourth quarter with a 17-7 deficit, but tied the game with 1:49 left.

Unlike Tampa Bay's 21-20 loss at Green Bay last week, when it squandered a 10-point second-half lead, the Buccaneers made the plays they needed to.

They drove 63 yards in 1:45 to set up Gramatica's kick. Brad Johnson's 18-yard pass to Keyshawn Johnson on a third-and-3 from Tampa Bay's 27 and a 23-yard toss to Warrick Dunn to the Lions' 26 were the key plays.

"To get a drive like that was important," Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy said. "Hopefully, that'll get us some momentum in the second half of the year."

After starting 3-4 the past two seasons, Tampa Bay advanced to the playoffs by winning seven of the final nine games last season and eight of nine in 1999.

"The past has nothing to do with this year," Tampa Bay's Derrick Brooks said.

After missing chances to score a late go-ahead or tying touchdown the previous four weeks, Detroit tied the game at 17 when Charlie Batch found a wide-open Reuben Droughns for an 8-yard TD.

But the Lions' defense could not prevent Tampa Bay from driving down the field relatively easily.

Detroit's Ron Rice compared Sunday's defeat to last year's season-ending loss to Chicago, which knocked the Lions out of the playoffs and led to the hiring of a rookie coach and president: Mornhinweg and Matt Millen.

"I'd almost rather lose by 50 points than to lose like that," Rice said. "That was like Chicago again. They get the field goal as time runs out and that's it."

Brad Johnson was 20-of-37 for 188 yards and a touchdown. Keyshawn Johnson caught seven passes for 72. Dunn had 51 yards rushing and 60 yards receiving.

Batch was 21-of-39 for 239 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Detroit's leading rusher was Droughns with just 30 yards and its leading receiver was fullback Cory Schlesinger with five catches for 54 yards.

Karl Williams returned a punt 84 yards for a TD as the third quarter ended to give Tampa Bay its 17-7 lead.

Detroit's Jason Hanson kicked a 38-yard field goal with 7:36 to play to make it 17-10.

Detroit had cut its deficit to 10-7 with 2:51 left in the third on Schlesinger's 1-yard plunge.

Ronde Barber intercepted a pass in the second and fourth quarters; one at the Buccaneers' 20 and the other at their 11, on a spectacular dive.

"That was my all-time greatest," Barber said.

Gramatica's 37-yard field goal gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead with 4:53 left in the half.

Mornhinweg replaced Batch with rookie quarterback Mike McMahon. Three plays later, McMahon fumbled and Chartric Darby emerged from a pile of players with the ball at Detroit's 30.

Johnson converted a third down with a 13-yard pass to Dunn. On the next play, he dumped a short pass to Dunn, who slithered through the defense for a 12-yard touchdown to put Tampa Bay ahead 10-0 late in the first half.

Sapp, who entered the game with only one sack, made two in a row on Detroit's last drive of the first half.

Game notes
Sapp bruised his right knee on Detroit's final drive, but said he's OK. ... Schlesinger, a seven-year veteran, scored his first rushing touchdown and Droughns scored his first career touchdown, after missing his rookie year with a shoulder injury. ... Gramatica dedicated his game-winning kick to his father, who's birthday was Sunday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 0 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 4 plays, 30 yds, 1:46
Drive info: 3 plays, 1 yds, 0:53
Drive info: 4 plays, 30 yds, 1:46
detFG7:41Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 37 yds, 2:26
detTD2:53Cory Schlesinger, 1 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 26 yds, 3:43
tbFG0:09Martin Gramatica 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 63 yds, 1:40
Drive info: 7 plays, 26 yds, 3:43
Drive info: 9 plays, 61 yds, 3:48
tbFG4:58Martin Gramatica 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 61 yds, 5:24
Drive info: 9 plays, 61 yds, 3:48