Bucs loss triggers Parcells-watch
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles are headed for Chicago and the second round of the playoffs, and Bill Parcells might be headed for Tampa Bay to replace Tony Dungy as the Buccaneers” coach.
Donovan McNabb threw for two touchdowns and 194 yards Saturday and ran for 57 more as the Eagles beat Tampa Bay 31-9 Saturday, the second straight season they”ve beaten the Bucs in the first round of the playoffs.
The Eagles” win was overshadowed by speculation that this would be Dungy”s last game after six seasons as the only winning coach in Bucs” history. He could be replaced by Parcells, who led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories, took New England to the Super Bowl and the New York Jets to the AFC title game.
The loss was typical of Tampa Bay”s offensive failures the Bucs have had three starting quarterbacks and three offensive coordinators in the last three seasons and just don”t score touchdowns. This was the third straight playoff game they didn”t score a touchdown, and Brad Johnson compounded the problems by throwing four interceptions.
In the first half, the Bucs matched Philadelphia drive for drive, but went to the lockerroom trailing 17-9 because they managed just three field goals while the Eagles scored two touchdowns to go with David Akers” field goal.
The Bucs” cold-weather jinx wasn”t a factor the team entered the game 0-20 in games begun in temperatures under 40 degrees. It was a balmy 46 as the late-afternoon game began Saturday, but it made no difference.
The Eagles (12-5) will face the Bears (13-3) in Chicago next Saturday.
Rice back to old tricks in Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) No matter his age or the color of his uniform, Jerry Rice is just amazing in the playoffs.
Rice caught nine passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, and Charlie Garner rushed 80 yards for a score with 1:27 left as the Oakland Raiders pulled out of their late-season nosedive with a 38-24 victory over the New York Jets on Saturday night.
Six days after the Jets beat Oakland 24-22 in the teams” regular-season finale, the Raiders emphatically turned the tables with their best performance in two months. A roster of veterans assembled specifically for the postseason got it together just in time and Rice led the way.
It was Rice”s 24th career postseason game, but his first with the Raiders after 16 record-setting seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. At 39, the NFL”s most prolific receiver wrote a remarkable new chapter in his matchless career with several clutch receptions in the second half.
Rice caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Rich Gannon with 5:53 left, giving the Raiders a 31-17 lead. It was his 20th playoff touchdown, moving him one behind Thurman Thomas and Emmitt Smith for the NFL record.
The Jets pulled within seven points on Vinny Testaverde”s second touchdown pass to Wayne Chrebet, with 1:52 left. After the Raiders forced New York to use its final two timeouts, Garner sprinted down Oakland”s sideline on third-and-10 for the clinching score.
The Raiders (11-6) advanced to face New England (11-5) next Saturday in Foxboro. By closing the season with three straight losses, Oakland handed a bye and home-field advantage to the Patriots.
Cold, home-field give Pack a win
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Lambeau mystique lives on.
Brett Favre threw two touchdown passes as the Green Bay Packers stayed perfect at home in the playoffs with a 25-15 victory over San Francisco yesterday.
The Packers (13-5), who advanced to face the St. Louis Rams next week, improved to 13-0 at home in playoff games. Favre improved to 31-0 in starts at Lambeau Field with the temperature 34 degrees or colder.
It was 28 degrees at kickoff Sunday, and Favre was 22-of-29 for 269 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Favre guided Green Bay on a 93-yard touchdown drive after Tyrone Williams” interception of a deflection by Mike McKenzie with five minutes left and the Packers clinging to an 18-15 lead.
Ahman Green capped the touchdown drive with a 9-yard run.
Corey Bradford stripped Paul Smith of the ball and recovered on the ensuing kickoff, and the Packers ran out the clock for their first playoff victory since the 1997 NFC championship at San Francisco.
The 49ers, who also returned to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus, finished 12-5.
Champs advance as “Fins fall apart
MIAMI (AP) Bruising defense, a grinding ground game and one pivotal pass put the Baltimore Ravens one victory closer to a possible return to the Super Bowl.
Baltimore scored on touchdown marches of 90 and 99 yards and allowed just 151 yards to beat the Miami Dolphins 20-3 in a wild-card playoff game yesterday.
The Ravens, who needed a win last week over Minnesota to make the playoffs, advanced to a second-round game Sunday at AFC Central champion Pittsburgh. Baltimore won at Pittsburgh 13-10 on Nov. 4, but lost 26-21 at home to the Steelers on Dec. 16.
It was a painfully familiar ending for the Dolphins (11-6). They”re the only team to reach the playoffs each of the past five years, but they”ve made an early exit every time by a combined score of 161-16.
Miami still hasn”t advanced to the AFC championship game since the 1992 season or the Super Bowl since the 1984 season.
The Ravens played the sort of smothering defense that took them to the NFL title last year. Miami”s lone score came after Baltimore fumbled the opening kickoff, and the Dolphins managed just one first down in the opening 23 minutes.
The defending champions also showed surprising punch on offense, rushing for 227 yards and converting 10 of 16 third downs. Terry Allen carried 25 times for 109 yards and a score, and Jason Brookins added 65 yards in 10 attempts.
The Ravens” defense slipped this season from its 2000 level, but was still ranked No. 2 in the NFL, and it was in fine form against Miami. Baltimore stuffed the Dolphins” feeble ground game, blanketed their receivers, harried Jay Fiedler and forced three turnovers.