Brad's Rib Injury Clears Way For Other Johnson
The Tampa Tribune, published 21 October 2002

It was bound to happen sooner or later. You just can't take the kind of beating Brad Johnson has been taking this season and stay healthy. It came as no great surprise then when Johnson had to leave Sunday's game with a bruised left rib. What was somewhat surprising was how backup Rob Johnson played in his place. Despite not having thrown a pass all season, Rob Johnson put the Bucs in position to score during his first series of the game and completed four of seven passes for 31 yards while running for 10 yards. ``It was tough facing a defense like that without a lot of practice,'' Rob Johnson said. ``I was pleased with how we moved the ball. I just wish we could have punched it in.''

Rob may get his chance to punch the offense into the end zone next week when the Bucs face the Carolina Panthers. Brad Johnson said he will likely not know until Wednesday or Thursday if he can return. ``It's pretty sore,'' Brad said of the bruised left rib that forced him out of the game. ``The only thing that's going to make it better is rest.''

Brad was hurt on the first series of the game but he didn't leave until much later, after it became apparent to him that he couldn't perform as necessary. ``We had Keyshawn wide open down the field and when I threw the ball I just didn't have any zip on it,'' Brad said. ``That was it right there. After that, [Coach Jon Gruden] and I kind of talked about it and we decided not to go anymore.''

Trailing 20-10, Rob Johnson took over midway through the fourth quarter and immediately gained 5 yards on a pair of bootlegs. He then completed three consecutive passes, the last of which was a 14-yard toss to Joe Jurevicius that moved the Bucs to the Eagles 36. Three plays later, he came up short while running for a first down but earned the Bucs an extra 15 yards when he took an elbow to the head from linebacker Carlos Emmons while running out of bounds. ``I kind of drew the penalty there,'' Rob said jokingly.

The Bucs never got any closer to the end zone. They were penalized for a false start on the next play and pressure from the Eagles' front seven forced Rob to throw the ball away on three attempts into the end zone. The Bucs settled for a field goal try but failed to get the points when Martin Gramatica's kick sailed wide left. ``It's tough to mount a comeback when there's only eight minutes to go, but we did some good things,'' Rob Johnson said. ``It was good to get in there, and I'm fired up about the chance to play if they need me next week.''