Sacks Just Keep Coming
Entering Sunday's game, the Bucs led the league in sacks per pass play. That dominance was evident in their seven-sack performance against New Orleans. Those seven sacks brought the season total to 44, which bettered the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl season total of 43, and equaled the second-best franchise effort in 1997. The 2000 defense holds the franchise record of 55. ``Wow, it was serious for a while,'' Dewayne White said. ``We just kept getting them back-to- back for a while. Everybody did a good job on the pass rush today.''

New Orleans quarterback Aaron Brooks was sacked on three consecutive downs, beginning with defensive end Simeon Rice's play to end the first quarter. Rice and defensive tackle Greg Spires opened the second quarter with a shared sack and then Spires followed with a solo effort. Ronde Barber and Rice recorded back-to- back sacks on New Orleans' second possession of the third quarter. ``We had some good pressure,'' Spires said. ``We put them in third-and-long and got him on the ground a couple of times. I think we did all right on pass rush.''

The Bucs shook things up on the defensive line this week, moving Spires, who had started at left end all season, inside to the under tackle position. White got his first start of the season at defensive end. White, who used to back up Spires, was moved inside earlier this season after various injuries at the tackle position. ``The only thing different was I started the game,'' said White, who is third on the defense with 5.5 sacks this year. ``I got the same amount of snaps. It's about being able to help the team wherever you're at. If I have to play the three- technique [under tackle], it's the three-technique. If it's end, then it's end. You just have to step up and meet the challenge.''

Rice led the Bucs with 3.5 sacks. His first assured him a seventh career double-digit sack season (12.5 this year), and his fourth with the Bucs. Rice, who declined to comment after the game, is four sacks shy of Warren Sapp's franchise record for sacks in a season (16.5 in 2000). Rice's multisack performance was the 30th of his career - the most of any active player in the NFL. ``Today, we were on it,'' nose tackle Chartric Darby said. ``We kept getting to [Brooks]. He just made a big play that hurt us in the end.''

Katherine Smith The Tampa Tribune 20 December 2004