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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Alstott's top five plays

9

August

Alstottplays5Jan. 15, 2000
The box score read as if it was nothing special:

Alstott 2-yard run.

But anyone who saw it will tell you that not only was it one of the best runs in Bucs history, it might be one of the best runs in NFL history. From north to south, it was 2 yards. But Alstott seemingly ran miles to get into the end zone in this playoff game against the Redskins.

Taking a handoff from Shaun King, the 260-pound fullback rumbled to his right and spun out of tackles by Derek Smith and Marco Coleman. He reversed field and tried the middle, but was met by James Francis. So Alstott bolted left, where Ndukwe Kalu was waiting for him.

Alstott easily shed that tackle and cruised into the end zone to spark the Bucs' come-from-behind 14-13 victory.

Humble as always, Alstott said, "They did a good job stretching the play, forcing it outside, forcing it outside, and there was nothing there. I tried cutting it up so I wouldn't lose any yardage, and they didn't wrap up. I kept on breaking tackles, breaking tackles, and I just looked backside and there it was."

Jan. 26, 2003

Again, it's Alstott's trademark, the phrase that should probably be engraved on his tombstone:
Alstott 2-yard run.

But again, this is not just another 2-yard run. It was a 2-yard run into history. It was the Bucs' first-ever Super Bowl touchdown. How fitting. Probably the best-loved player in franchise history will forever be in the books as scoring the Bucs' first touchdown in a Super Bowl. And how fitting that it was ... a 2-yard run.

Nov. 13, 2005

In the official statistics, Alstott doesn't even get credit for this 2-yard plunge into the end zone. He doesn't get credit for a carry. He doesn't get credit in his final statistics for these two yards. But, naturally, there seems to be nothing ordinary about the A-Train rumbling into the end zone.

With only 58 seconds left and the Bucs having just scored to cut a Washington Redskins lead to 35-34, coach Jon Gruden makes the daring decision to go for two. Everyone in the stadium is expecting the ball to go to Alstott.

And even though "everybody" includes the Washington defense, Alstott cannot be denied. He busts through the wall waiting for him at the line of scrimmage and bowls his way in to give the Bucs a 36-35 victory.

Oct. 13, 2002

The Alstott aficianados will tell you this is the greatest run of Alstott's career. It wasn't a touchdown. It came during a relatively easy 17-3 victory. But it was the epitome of Alstott's bulldog mentality and bulldozer style.

With the Bucs at their own 32, Alstott takes a handoff from Brad Johnson and is nearly tripped up by Cleveland linebacker Earl Holmes. As he keeps moving, Alstott is hit under the left shoulder by Corey Fuller, who slides down Alstott's body, as Times staff writer Rick Stroud described, as if he was "sliding down a firefighter's pole."

Fuller grabs Alstott's ankle, forcing Alstott to hop twice and break free. Next, he is hit by Dwayne Rudd. Holmes rises to his feet, hits Alstott and it looks like the play is over. But Alstott somehow stays inches above the ground by propping himself up with his left arm.

Bang, bang, bang, three more Browns take shots at Alstott. He drags several players and is finally hauled down at the 49. The remarkable run lasts a mere 13 seconds, but gains 19 yards during which Alstott was hit nine times by six defenders.

Nov. 9, 1997

The funny part is we barely remember this play. But you have to include it because this 47-yard run against the Falcons was the longest in Alstott's career. But you know, come to think of it, maybe it shouldn't surprise us that this run is not etched into our memory banks.

For us, Alstott blazing his way down the field untouched is not how we remember the A-Train. Those in Tampa Bay will remember Alstott lumbering through piles, bouncing off tacklers, carrying defenders on his back like they're kids at a picnic and scoring a touchdown. Usually from 2 yards out.

-- Tom Jones, Times staff writer

(Times photo - Bill Serne. Click to enlarge.)

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:47pm]

    

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