The Bucs already were hurting with starting QB Brad Johnson (fractured rib) and WR Keenan McCardell (fractured shoulder blade) inactive. A few others joined them Sunday. In one of its more physical games of the season, Tampa Bay suffered several injuries. One by one, Bucs players went down. Some returned, others didn't. Starting LG Kerry Jenkins was the first to fall when he was poked in his right eye in the second quarter. The injury prevented him from playing the rest of the game, and Todd Washington replaced him. Starting NT Anthony McFarland was next, fracturing his right forearm in the third quarter when Carolina QB Randy Fasani, scrambling for a first down, jumped for extra yardage and knocked McFarland down. He did not return and likely will miss this week's game against Minnesota. ``I told him to get, get,'' DT Warren Sapp said when McFarland tried to return to the field.
Chartric Darby filled in and made three tackles. Rounding out the injury list were long snapper Ryan Benjamin with a right hamstring strain, which made it difficult to snap late in the game; QB Rob Johnson, starting in place of Brad Johnson, with a strained buttocks muscle; WR Joe Jurevicius, starting in place of McCardell, with a sprained right knee and ankle; and LB Ryan Nece, a standout on special teams, with a sprained left knee. ``It was a costly game,'' Coach Jon Gruden said. Jurevicius, who led the Bucs with five catches for 55 yards, was replaced by Karl Williams after being injured late in the third quarter. The playing status of Jurevicius and Jenkins for Sunday's game is unknown.
KING FOR A PLAY
It was one play, but for third-string QB Shaun King, it might as well have been an entire game. King came off the bench for the Bucs' final offensive play with Johnson limping on the sideline. He picked up 7 critical yards with a pass to Williams, helping set up K Martin Gramatica's game-winning 47- yard field goal. He acknowledged the safe play would have been to hand the ball off, but the call came in to throw the ball. ``I think they trust me,'' King said. ``They feel like when I get my chance that I'm going to take advantage of it. I appreciate that confidence and luckily I was able to come through.''
Despite King's extended time on the bench, Sapp knew he would be ready. ``We've got all the confidence in the world in `Doughboy,' '' Sapp said. ``He's going to do what he needs to do. I remember yelling at him Thursday to come play golf and he was like, ``[No], I've got to go in the playbook. So I'm glad he went in that playbook.''
The extra work King put in last week paid off, even if it was for one play. ``It didn't matter to me. I just wanted to play,'' he said. ``I've been sitting for so long, I don't care how it is, when it is, what situation, I just want to play. That's what I love to do is play football and I haven't been able to. Any chance that I get to go out and play is just wonderful. That's one moment and hopefully many will come and I hope soon.''
MAKING IT PERSONAL
Todd Washington had an important phone call to make after Sunday's game. He wanted to call his brother T.J., a former Carolina offensive lineman, so the two could celebrate. ``I'm going to call my brother and tell him that part one is done and the next time the Panthers come down to Tampa, we've got to take care of business again,'' Washington said. Washington felt his brother was treated unfairly in Carolina. The Panthers signed T.J. as a free agent last year and released him before the start of this season. Washington accused the Panthers of playing favorites. The Panthers angered him more when they contacted his brother and asked him to provide some insider information on the Bucs' offense. Earlier this week, Panthers officials denied any knowledge of contact. T.J. had some advice for his brother. ``He told me to bash their heads in,'' Washington said. ``It was very emotional for me. When the kick went through the uprights and we won, I just broke down because of what my brother has gone through and how it affected my family. There was a lot of built up frustration and anger that I had to control out there. But I unloaded on some people and luckily it went our way.''
For the second time in team history, the Bucs are 6-2. The 1979 team started the season 6-2.
The last time the Bucs won a game without scoring a touchdown was Oct. 24, 1999. Tampa Bay defeated Chicago, 6-3, at Soldier Field.
Sunday's inactives were QB Brad Johnson, FB Darian Barnes, CB Tim Wansley, RB Travis Stephens, OL Tutan Reyes, WR Charles Lee, McCardell and DT Buck Gurley.
Fasani became the 34th different quarterback sacked by Sapp.
Lynch became just the fourth Buc with 20 career interceptions, reaching that total by picking off fellow Stanford alumnus Fasani.
Fasani, with five completions and three interceptions, had a 0.0 quarterback rating for the game.
Martin Gramatica’s 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the 11th of his career from 50 yards or more. He has had 18 career tries in that range.
THEY SAID IT
``This [Bucs] offense just stinks. They're hard to watch.'' - Fox analyst Terry Bradshaw. His colleague, Howie Long, added: ``Totally inept.''