Final

Lions 12

(0-12, 0-7 away)

Buccaneers 15

(7-5, 3-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 9, 2001

 

1 2 3 4 T
DET 0 3 6 312
TB 0 7 0 815

Johnson's last-minute grab gives Bucs win

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- With the game -- and maybe Tampa Bay's season -- on the line, Keyshawn Johnson demanded the Buccaneers put matters into his hands.

Keyshawn Johnson

Keyshawn Johnson's leaping catch over Detroit's Jimmy Wyrick was his first of the season for Tampa Bay.

The NFL's receptions leader approached coach Tony Dungy, then spoke with offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen before Tampa Bay got the ball for the last time against winless Detroit on Sunday.

"I said: `It's about time you get me the football. ... Lose with me or win with me," Johnson said after he leaped above cornerback Jimmy Wyrick to catch a 13-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds remaining as the Bucs rallied for a 15-12 victory and the left winless Lions with another heartbreaking loss as they try to avoid becoming the first NFL team ever to go 0-16.

Johnson had 10 receptions for 101 yards. He had four for 59 yards on the game-winning drive, including a 15-yarder on fourth-and-8 to keep the march alive at the Detroit 13.

The two-time Pro Bowl receiver spent the first four seasons of his career with the New York Jets, who routinely threw to him in the end zone and when games were on the line.

His final catch Sunday gave him 93 this year, a career high, but was his first touchdown.

If the Bucs get better play from their offense, can they be considered a playoff threat?
I don't think the Bucs are a playoff threat. They seem to struggle with everybody, and their offense has been sputtering all season.

The Bucs' offense has struggled. The big problem has been the offensive line, which is having a hard time protecting the quarterback and establishing the run.

So the Bucs aren't doing what they normally do well -- run the football and stop the run. In their recent history, the Bucs have attempted to control the clock with the run. But they've become a short passing team, making dink-and-dunk throws.

ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.

Johnson said never had a problem with asking for the ball when he was in high school, college or with the Jets. But he had been reluctant to do it with Dungy.

"I think a lot of it had to do with his demeanor as a head coach and the respect that I have for him," Johnson said. "Although I do respect the other guys, it's just a different approach."

It was the third straight win for Tampa Bay heading into a tough stretch in which the Bucs (7-5) will face Chicago, New Orleans, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Detroit (0-12) took a 12-7 lead on Jason Hanson's fourth field goal with 11:43 remaining, but couldn't hold on, taking a sack late in the game that put them out of field goal range.

The Lions have lost their last nine games by an average of less than five points, and none of those losses were by more than eight points.

"Many of these games have come down to one or two plays or inches," Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg said.

"We're in the position now where it's like a heavyweight championship fight. You must not rely on the officials or rely on the opponent to do something. You've got to knock your opponent out. We've had some opportunities to do that and haven't gotten it done."

Brad Johnson completed 31 of 54 passes for 305 yards and two interceptions for Tampa Bay. He kept the game-winning drive alive with two fourth-down throws, and also had a 14-yard completion to Keyshawn on third-and-20.

Wyrick had single coverage on the game-winner and went up for the ball in front of Keyshawn. But Johnson clutched the ball and snatched it away from the defender as they fell to the ground, putting Tampa Bay ahead 13-12.

"It was one-on-one," Wyrick said. "I didn't make the play and he did."

Brad Johnson's 2-point conversion pass to Mike Alstott gave the Bucs a three-point lead. Detroit's Desmond Howard fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber recovered to end any chance of a Lions comeback.

The Bucs scored on Alstott's 24-yard run midway through the second quarter. Tampa Bay's career TDs rushing list with 38. But another promising march failed to produce points when Dungy elected to run a play from the Detroit 3 instead of kicking a field goal with 5 seconds remaining before halftime.

Brad Johnson was nearly sacked before getting off an underhanded throw that fell incomplete as time expired.

The gaffe looked especially costly after Kurt Schulz's interception's set up Hanson's 30-yard field goal. A 50-yarder put the Lions ahead 9-7, and Hanson's 42-yarder made it 12-7.

Johnson went over 1,000 yards receiving for the third time in his career. His third reception gave him 86, one more than James Wilder caught in 1984, when he set the NFL mark for most catches in a season without scoring.

Rookie Mike McMahon completed 11 of 25 passes for 165 yards and no interceptions in his first start at quarterback for the Lions. The last of Tampa Bay's three sacks knocked Detroit out of range to attempt a field goal that would put the Lions up by eight points with five minutes left.

"We called a play that we feel we just don't take a sack on," Mornhinweg said. "And, we took a sack."

Game notes
Keyshawn Johnson had his third 100-yard game, boosting his total for the year to 1,077 ... The Bucs are 6-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Dungy ... Lions cornerback Terry Fair left with a foot sprain in the second quarter and did not return.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERDETTB
detFG11:49Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 34 yds, 0:58
127
THIRD QUARTERDETTB
detFG7:09Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 18 yds, 2:31
67
SECOND QUARTERDETTB
detFG3:30Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 42 yds, 3:23
37
THIRD QUARTERDETTB
detFG0:19Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 56 yds, 4:15
97
SECOND QUARTERDETTB
tbTD7:13Mike Alstott, 24 yd run
Drive info: 11 plays, 91 yds, 6:41
06
tb7:05
Drive info: 11 plays, 91 yds, 6:41
07
FOURTH QUARTERDETTB
tbTD0:53Touchdown(Brad Johnson pass to Mike Alstott for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 15 plays, 80 yds, 4:11
1215