Jurevicius Dances All Over Falcons
The Tampa Tribune, published 9 December 2002

Joe Jurevicius promised his nieces the ``chicken dance'' if he got into the end zone Sunday. The Bucs' third receiver delivered the dance and more in Tampa Bay's 34-10 drubbing of Atlanta. Jurevicius made a career- high eight catches for 100 yards and doubled his season touchdown total to four. The two-TD game was his first as a Buc and only the second of his five-year career. ``I was actually yelled at by my nieces [earlier this season] because I promised I would do a chicken dance after I scored a touchdown,'' the normally low-key Jurevicius said. ``It just so happened I got into the end zone and was able to do a chicken dance. So I get them off my back.''

Jurevicius used his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame to catch TD passes of 10 and 13 yards from Brad Johnson in the second quarter. After his second score, he handed the football to the official, then snatched it back. ``I just wanted to do my old Penn State thing of giving the ball to the official,'' Jurevicius said. ``But now we get to keep the football. I got a little excited.''

Jurevicius didn't figure into Tampa Bay's game plan any more than usual Sunday. It only looked as though his name was scribbled all over Coach Jon Gruden's cheat sheet. Four of his catches came on third downs - three on a pair of scoring drives in the third quarter. Those four catches were worth 57 yards. ``We put in a couple of plays for him that were some individual routes that we thought he could win on, but for the most part, he was the third or fourth outlet for us,'' Johnson said.

Signed away from the New York Giants as a free agent to give the receiving corps more versatility, Jurevicius is becoming the player the Bucs envisioned. Against the Falcons, he was a big target for Johnson and made clutch catches while the defense was paying closer attention to Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell. ``It's great to have three receivers,'' said McCardell, who had two TD catches Sunday. ``If they [defenders] start honing in on Keyshawn or myself, who else is there? We've got their third or fourth cornerback on Joe. And Joe can play. So, that's a mismatch - when you can get your third or fourth corner on Joe Jurevicius. He makes them pay.''

On his first touchdown Sunday, Jurevicius snagged the ball off his hip and beat linebacker Keith Brooking, a former first-round pick who was called for pass interference on the play. On the second, Jurevicius outjumped Ray ``Big Play'' Buchanan, the Falcons' best (albeit gimpy this day) cornerback. ``The first [touchdown] was an option route where it just kind gives one of the receivers a chance to work a linebacker,'' Jurevicius said. ``On the other, I was just trying to clear the safety out for another receiver. It just so happened that the coverage dictated the throw to Brad, and he was able to put the ball up and allow me to make a play.''