Bucs' offense flames out in postseason againPosted: Saturday January 12, 2002 7:56 PM
Updated: Saturday January 12, 2002 9:24 PM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Three offensive coordinators. Two quarterbacks. Same result.
For the third consecutive year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season ended because the offense couldn't find the end zone.
They gained only 258 yards -- 101 in the fourth quarter -- and lost 31-9 to the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC wild-card game Saturday.
"A lot of guys on this team have a lot of bark, but no bite," Bucs wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson said. "Guys have to just shut up and play."
The Bucs had just 199 yards in a 21-3 loss to the Eagles in a wild-card game last season. They managed only two field goals in an 11-6 loss to the St. Louis Rams in the 1999 NFC Championship Game.
After each loss, Tampa changed offensive coordinators, going from Mike Shula to Les Steckel to Clyde Christensen. This time, the Bucs might get a new head coach. Speculation that Bill Parcells is headed to Tampa to replace Tony Dungy overshadowed the game.
If Dungy is fired after six seasons, the offense will be most responsible for his departure. The Bucs signed Brad Johnson to a five-year, $28 million contract, hoping he could provide stability the offense lacked with Shaun King at quarterback last year. King took over for Trent Dilfer in 1999.
But Tampa had the league's second-worst ground game, and the passing attack ranked 15th mainly as a result of having to throw so much in an effort to catch up or win games in the fourth quarter.
Johnson threw four interceptions against the Eagles, including one that Damon Moore returned 59 yards for a touchdown.
"Tony told us it was a good year, but we didn't reach our goal," said Johnson, who completed 22 of 36 passes for 202 yards.
The Bucs' inability to move the ball cost them on their first possession. After getting the ball at Philadelphia's 39 on an interception by Dexter Jackson, the offense couldn't get past the 17 and settled for a 36-yard field goal by Martin Gramatica.
"We didn't want them to get in the end zone, didn't want to give them life," Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent said.
Late in the first quarter, the Bucs took over at their own 35. Warrick Dunn carried twice up the middle for 8 yards, setting up a third-and-2. But a wide pitch to Dunn lost 3 yards, forcing a punt.
After the Eagles took a 10-3 lead in the second, the Bucs drove down the field. A 7-yard pass to Mike Alstott and a 15-yard face-mask penalty gave Tampa Bay a first down at the 15. But two runs by Alstott and a screen pass to Dunn failed to produce anything, forcing the Bucs to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Gramatica.
"I expected them to take a shot to Keyshawn," Moore said. "He's a big, physical receiver and he can go get up and get it. I thought they'd go to him, but they didn't. I thank them for it."
The worst blunder came late in the first half. A 46-yard reception by Johnson gave the Bucs a first down at the 12 with 11 seconds left. Instead of taking one or two shots at the end zone with one timeout left, Johnson threw a 3-yard screen pass to Alstott that used up 9 seconds, forcing the Bucs to settle for their third field goal -- a 27-yarder.