Sapp's Streak Ends With Foot Injury
Ellis Wyms left the game in the first quarter after suffering a left knee sprain. He did not return. FB Darian Barnes sprained his left shoulder in the first quarter and did not return.
Tampa Bay's defense set a franchise record by holding the Texans to minus-3 passing yards in the first half. The previous first- half low was 5 yards passing by Kansas City on Nov. 14, 1999.
Halftime was extended an extra minute to allow extra TV news time for Hussein updates.
With his third tackle of the game, Ronde Barber became the first Buccaneer cornerback in 25 years to post a 100-tackle season. The only other Buc CB to reach triple digits in that category was Jeris White, who had 103 in 1978.
For 73 consecutive games, All-Pro DT Warren Sapp was in the trenches. But Sunday against the Texans, Sapp was relegated to the sideline with a foot strain. It was the first time since the Oct. 3, 1999 game against Minnesota that Sapp didn't line up with the front four. Anthony McFarland moved from his nose tackle position to take Sapp's under tackle spot and Chartric Darby started in McFarland's place. ``I told [Warren] right before the game, it really is [a great accomplishment],'' S John Lynch said of Sapp's streak, which also included 56 consecutive starts. ``With the double-teams and all those guys that he takes on, it's a pretty phenomenal streak. These guys did great [Sunday], but you miss No. 99 getting the crowd in the game.''
Sapp, who is expected back in the lineup Saturday against Atlanta, spent his time Sunday as an extra coach. He was the first one to greet the defensive players as they came off the field after each series. When DT Cleveland Pinkney, who was signed to the active roster Saturday, got his first sack, Sapp grabbed him in a bear hug and told him ``good hunting.'' ``Sapp's been my man. He's been like my mentor,'' Pinkney said. ``Warren's been the guy who put me under his wing. His nickname is `The Bear,' so they call me `The Little Cub.' ''
Another streak broken
Tampa Bay's takeaway streak was snapped at 54 consecutive games. For the first time since a 28-14 loss to Detroit on Oct. 19, 2000, the Bucs defense failed to collect a turnover.
The Philadelphia Eagles hold the NFL record with a takeaway in 71 consecutive games from 1985-90. ``Those streaks are great but the W's are the most important thing,'' Lynch said.
Lynch and his Saturday night roommate, Brad Johnson, woke up to some unbelievable news that set the tone for the day - Saddam Hussein had been captured. ``It's an awesome deal,'' Lynch said. ``It got everyone's day started right.'' Hussein's capture dominated the Bucs' morning talk with the debate centering about what should happen to the dictator. ``The question now is what do you do with him?'' Cosey Coleman said. ``We want him and they want him over there in Iraq. The United Nations wants him. Whatever it is, I hope that doesn't become an issue to where he ends up escaping. I don't really care who gets him. Somebody get him.'' And Tom Tupa doesn't want to stop with Hussein. ``Now we've got one guy to go,'' Tupa said, referring to Osama bin Laden.
Keenan McCardell's 14-yard reception in the first quarter put him past the 1,000-yard mark for the fifth time in his career. McCardell's five receptions for 59 yards give him 1,049 for the season. He became just the fifth Tampa Bay wide receiver to reach that milestone. ``That's it?'' was McCardell's reaction when he was told how many Bucs receivers had surpassed 1,000 yards.