Wonsley gives Bucs a boost

Nathan Wonsley, the Wonsley nobody wanted, proved the NFL experts wrong Sunday. Wonsley, the youngest of three brothers playing in the league, rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns Sunday as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Detroit Lions 24-20 before a crowd of 38,453, the smallest ever to see an NFL game in the Silverdome. The victory ended a 19-game losing streak on the road for the Bucs (1-2).

Wonsley, a rookie from Mississippi, got his first start because the Bucs' regular running back, James Wilder, had a bruised chest and didn't make the trip. Despite having two brothers in the NFL - George with the Indianapolis Colts and Otis with the Washington Redskins, both running backs - Nathan Wonsley was ignored in this year's NFL draft and signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent. "I was very proud of Nathan's running today,'' coach Leeman Bennett said. "James will still be the starter, but Wonsley will play more and there could be a chance that we would have them in the ball game together."

Wonsley's 22-yard touchdown run 14 seconds into the second quarter gave the Bucs a 7-0 lead, and his 55-yard scoring run at 10:24 of the third quarter put the Bucs up 24-6. Only a pair of short touchdown runs by Detroit's James Jones in the final period made it close. "You just never know when it's going to happen," Bennett said. "We were very pleased the way we were able to rush the football today. We thought we did an exceptionally good job rushing the Detroit quarterback."

The Bucs defense, led by Ivory Sully, recovered three of six Detroit fumbles, intercepted two Eric Hipple passes and registered four quarterback sacks. "Any time you give up things like that to anyone in this league at this level, you're going to pay," Lions coach Darryl Rogers said. "You just can't do that. When you do that, you have a great chance of losing."

Wonsley's 22-yard run 14 seconds into the second quarter gave the Bucs a 7-0 lead and his 55-yard run at 10:24 of the third quarter put the Bucs up 24-6. "They were afraid that I couldn't produce," Wonsley said. "But now they can see that I can play under pressure."

Tampa Bay quarterback Steve Young, getting his first start of the season after Steve DeBerg was benched, scored on a 9-yard run in the second quarter but completed only six of 15 passes for 39 yards. Tampa Bay recovered three of six Detroit fumbles, had four quarterback sacks and intercepted two Eric Hipple passes.