When that last game was over, the hammers did not look good. Smith dressed slowly, careful to maneuver his short-sleeve dress shirt over a bloody three-inch gash below his right elbow that had yet to be bandaged. Because the Vikings had fallen so far behind so early, Smith was used more as a blocker of blitzers and an underneath receiver (seven catches, 53 yards) than a rusher (12 rushes, 61 yards). "All I know is if you had to play this kind of game 16 weeks, you'd never survive," he said.
Alstott moved slowly around Tampa Bay's locker room. He was walking past Warren Sapp as the defensive tackle said, "The key to this game? The offense eating eight minutes off the clock in the third quarter, then dominating the fourth quarter. That's Bucs football."
"Eight, nine men in the box, everyone knowing you'll run—that's my kind of game," said Alstott, who picked up first downs on half his eight carries in the fourth quarter.
Alstott excused himself for a moment to spit into a cup that was already half full with tobacco juice. He epitomizes the tough, stoic back who wants the game placed squarely on his shoulder pads. "Running the football," Alstott said, "is about who's gonna hit the other guy in the mouth all day and survive. And dominate."
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]