Derrick Brooks' top moments
Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer
vs. Raiders, Super Bowl XXXVII, Jan. 26, 2003
Brooks' shining moment sealed the victory. With the Bucs up 34-21 and less than two minutes to go, Raiders QB Rich Gannon was trying to put together a rally. But Brooks, playing a zone, stepped in front of a Gannon pass and scampered 44 yards for an exclamation point touchdown and 41-21 lead with 1:18 left. It was one of five Bucs interceptions in a 48-21 victory in San Diego. "Today, it means we've come full circle," Brooks said then; "from the laughingstock of the league to the world champions."
vs. Falcons, Dec. 5, 2004
Michael Vick was one of the faces of the NFL in the early 2000s, an electrifying quarterback dubbed "Superman." Brooks was Vick's kryptonite, usually getting the better of him. That held especially true in a 27-0 beating of the division-leading Falcons. Vick left the field limping and with a welt on his forehead thanks to Brooks. Brooks, who spied Vick all game, had 11 tackles, two sacks, forced a fumble and tipped a pass that was intercepted in the end zone by safety Dwight Smith. When that drive started, at midfield, Brooks repeated in the huddle, "No points!" "That's a Babe Ruth-type shot there," Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice said then. "He spoke his words, and his physical actions, everything happened as planned. He said, "No points.' He kept saying that all day."
vs. Rams, Sept. 23, 2002
After losing to the Rams and their "Greatest Show on Turf" offense in the 2000 NFC title game, the Bucs beat St. Louis three straight seasons on Monday Night Football. That included 26-14, during which Brooks played a big role. The game was tight, and the Rams were driving when Brooks stepped in front of a Kurt Warner pass over the middle. Brooks, who had come back after injuring his knee, rumbled 39 yards for the touchdown, one of the Bucs' four picks of Warner that helped give coach Jon Gruden his first win at Raymond James Stadium.
vs. 49ers, Jan. 12, 2003
Brooks helped the Bucs stamp their ticket to the 2002 NFC title game with a 31-6 win. Tampa Bay forced a postseason franchise record five turnovers and held the potent San Francisco offense to just 228 yards. Brooks led the way with seven tackles, an interception, fumble recovery and half-sack.
vs. Vikings, Sept. 30, 2001
Brooks was a model of consistency and production, and this might have been his best game as a pro. Brooks tallied 23 tackles (18 solo) against the Vikings, surpassing the franchise record of 22 shared by him and his mentor, linebacker Hardy Nickerson. Brooks also had an interception in the game. Linebackers coach Joe Barry called the effort Herculean. "We went into that game with a lot of stuff on his shoulders as far as getting everybody lined up and getting the calls, the checks," he said. "And he did not have one blown call nor one mistake. "On top of that, he had 23 tackles and an interception. The guy played his butt off. He played an amazing game, just an amazing game."
vs. Vikings, Nov. 16, 2008
Brooks showed flashes of greatness during his final season. With the score tied late, Minnesota faced fourth and 1 near midfield. Brooks saved the day, making up for a coverage error by linebacker Barrett Ruud and breaking up a pass 30 yards downfield intended for Adrian Peterson. The Bucs won 19-13, and Brooks made seven tackles, including wiping out a double-reverse pass by Sidney Rice. But his pass break-up stole the show. "The one thing that never, ever ceases to surprise me is his preparation," then-Lions coach (and ex-Bucs defensive assistant) Rod Marinelli said. "He knew right now who had that coverage, and he turned and went right to that spot. We're sitting here as a defensive staff and went, 'Wow!' We nearly fell off our chairs when we saw it, and that's Derrick. I think the bigger the play, the bigger the time in the game, Derrick shows up."