CATCHING ON - SAPP THE TIGHT END
If the Eagles were offended by DT Warren Sapp's comments about their new home, his first career reception certainly didn't do anything to smooth things over. With the Bucs ahead 10-0 early in the fourth quarter, Sapp caught a 14-yard pass from QB Brad Johnson and picked up a first down. ``Brad said, `I'll be looking for you,' '' Sapp said. ``I've always dreamed about it. I've always had the ability, but never had the chance.''
Sapp has been lining up as a tight end in certain situations the past two seasons. But his contribution to the offense mainly consisted of goal-line blocking, until Monday night. The catch punctuated Tampa Bay's dominance against the Eagles and helped spoil Philadelphia's opener in their new stadium. Before the start of the season, Sapp predicted a Monday night victory at the new Lincoln Financial Field, which replaced the team's former home, Veterans Stadium. ``My first victory in the NFL was at [Veterans Stadium],'' Sapp said then. ``I opened the Vet with [a butt-whooping] and I closed it with [a butt-whooping]. And I love it. I'm going to get to open their new house with [a butt-whooping].''
In his first public comments since April, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue denied the Bucs are for sale. Tagliabue attended Monday night's game and addressed the persistent rumor, which heated up when Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer put in his bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. ``Nothing has changed regarding the Glazers and the Dodgers,'' Tagliabue said. ``Once again, I can say, they have no intentions of selling the Buccaneers.''
At issue is Glazer's desire to buy the baseball team. NFL rules prohibit cross-ownership of franchises unless they are in the same market. But in April, Tagliabue said there are exceptions to the rule, which include the ability to own a a second franchise in a region not deemed a potential NFL city. The league desperately wants to put a team back in Los Angeles, but there are no current plans because of stadium issues. Glazer is the front-runner to buy the Dodgers, but negotiations have slowed in recent months.
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
Philadelphia won a challenge and lost yardage on the same play. After QB Donovan McNabb's arm was hit by Simeon Rice, the ball fell into the hands of RT Jon Runyan, an ineligible receiver. The Eagles were penalized for illegal touching, but Philadelphia disagreed with the call and challenged it. After officials sorted it out, they ruled McNabb was sacked by Rice and the pass was ruled a fumble recovered by Runyan. The Eagles won and weren't charged with a timeout, but the ball was moved back 4 yards from the previous spot. Philadelphia ended up punting on the possession.
NOT FOR NOTHING
What looked to be guaranteed points ended in a bust. The Eagles had first-and-goal on their second series of the first quarter and came away with no points. WR James Thrash began the series with a reverse that gained 47 yards. Two plays later, John Lynch was penalized for pass interference, moving the ball to the Bucs' 1-yard line. After two incomplete passes and a stop by the Bucs' defense, Philadelphia lined up for a 19- yard field goal attempt. Holder and backup QB Koy Detmer took the snap and threw to a wide- open TE L.J. Smith, who wasn't able to hold on to the ball.
Philadelphia CB Troy Vincent collected his 40th career interception just before the end of the first half. Vincent picked off Johnson after his pass to Michael Pittman deflected off the running back's hands into the air.
Simeon Rice has now sacked his former high school team-mate Donovan McNabb 12.5 times in his career, the most of any NFL quarterback.
The Eagles opened their stadium and Rocky showed up. Actor Sylvester Stallone, who made the city famous with his ``Rocky'' movies, revved up the crowd when they showed him on the video screen wearing a Duce Staley jersey.
An Eagles highlight video precluded a fireworks display, but images from last season's NFC Championship Game, which Tampa Bay won, 27-10, were absent.
The Eagles are now 10-1 on prime time television under coach Andy Reid.