Penalty On Sapp, Harrison's TD Spark Colts
Reflecting on the Colts' astonishing game-tying drive in the waning moments of regulation Monday night, the Bucs were left to wonder which was more egregious: a roughing the passer penalty on Warren Sapp or Tim Wansley getting burned for another big play by Marvin Harrison. Both were huge plays in a drive that made the Tampa Bay defense look like, well, the Tampa Bay defense of another era.
Not long after, the Bucs were 38-35 overtime losers in possibly the biggest collapse in Raymond James Stadium history. Peyton Manning, contained for nearly three quarters, drove Tony Dungy's Colts 85 yards on five plays, getting a 1-yard touchdown run from Ricky Williams with 35 seconds left in regulation. The penalty against Sapp came on a 12-yard completion from Manning to Troy Walters, the combined gain taking Indianapolis from its 15 to its 42. On the next play, Manning hit Harrison for 52 yards to the Bucs' 6.
Wansley, in fairness, was placed in a difficult position. When starting left cornerback Brian Kelly left with a strained pectoral muscle in the first quarter, Wansley, normally the nickel back, drew cornerback duty against the pass-catching machine, Harrison. Harrison set the NFL single-season record with 143 receptions last year and gives even the best cornerbacks in the league fits. Wansley, at 5-8, gives up about four inches to Harrison. In overtime, the Bucs coaches replaced Wansley with Corey Ivy, also 5-8. Manning completed 34 of 47 for 386 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Harrison caught 11 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns.
For more than three quarters, the Bucs' secondary played respectably against Manning, Harrison and Co. The only major slip was Manning's 37-yard TD pass to Harrison early in the third quarter - in which Harrison blew by Wansley as though he were a mile marker on the interstate. That play didn't seem very significant about five minutes into the final quarter, when Rhonde Barber picked off Manning and raced 29 yards for a touchdown. That put the Bucs up 35-14, seemingly putting the game on ice.
But Colts came roaring back. First came Brad Pyatt's 90-yard kick return, which set up a 3-yard TD run by James Mungro. Tampa Bay led 35-21. Then, Indianapolis converted an onside kick, and Manning connected with Harrison for a 28-yard touchdown. Suddenly, the lead was a mere touchdown. The Colts began their game-tying drive at their 15 with 1:41 left.