2001 Steelers 17 at Buccaneers 10
October 21, 2001
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2001 Steelers 17 at Buccaneers 10

The famous "paper champions" game (to quote Lee Flowers). Contrary to Warren Sapp's pregame disrespect of the Steelers' running game, this is a veritable Jerome Bettis highlight reel.

Bettis opens the scoring for Pittsburgh early in the 2nd quarter on a HB option, rolling right and lofting a beautiful touch pass to wide open rookie TE Jerame Tuman for a 32-yd TD. Bettis also rumbles for 143 yds on 17 carries (8.4 avg, 118 yds of it in the second half) including a scintillating 46-yd TD burst early in the 3rd in which the 260-pound back flat outruns the entire Tampa defense.

Meanwhile, the Steelers' #1-ranked defense limits Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott to just 46 yds and crucifies Brad Johnson with a record-tying 10 sacks (4 by Joey Porter, 3 by Kimo von Oelhoffen), 5 batted passes and a back-breaking INT in the end zone. After all his pregame chatter, Warren Sapp delivers a total nothing burger, finishing the game with 3 meaningless tackles, all in the 4th quarter as the Steelers muscle down the clock.

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