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Bucs' Brown hits milestone in front of friendly fans

While it might seem out of character, the Raider Nation applauded an opponent's touchdown Sunday night. Then again, Tim Brown always will be one of theirs.

Brown, who played 16 seasons in Oakland before joining the Bucs in August, caught his 100th touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The first 99 came with the Raiders.

Brad Johnson found Brown in the end zone for a 16-yard score with 10:45 left, pulling the Bucs to within 30-12. Brown received congratulations from Bucs teammates then threw the ball to the sideline for safekeeping.

Brown, 38, joins former teammate Jerry Rice and the retired Cris Carter and Steve Largent as the only players with 100. Even before the milestone was flashed on the scoreboard at Network Associates Coliseum, Raiders fans were on their feet.

LONG PASS: Johnson's 54-yard pass to Bill Schroeder in the second quarter was the Bucs' longest play of the season, topping Chris Simms' 35-yard completion to Charles Lee against the Seahawks last week.

It was the first reception of 50 or more yards since Keenan McCardell's 76-yarder on Dec. 12 against the Falcons.

BLACK HOLE HOMECOMING: Several former members of the Raiders organization returned to the Black Hole as Bucs. Only two provoked responses from the rough-and-tumble Raider Nation.

Brown's was warm.

Jon Gruden, who coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, was not spared. He jogged out of the tunnel looking Raider-like in all black, sans visor, and was greeted by a loud chorus of boos.

SAPP HAPPY: On the fourth play from scrimmage, the Bucs lined up with an empty backfield in an attempt to make the Raiders' oversized linebackers cover downfield. Johnson hit running back Charlie Garner, split wide to the left, with a quick pass, and he was off to the races down the sideline.

Then came Sapp.

Former Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp, all 300 pounds of him, chased Garner down from behind and dived, clipping the back of Garner's foot with his hand to make the tackle after a 31-yard gain to the Raiders 23.

As he did last season with the Bucs, Sapp lined up at tight end on several plays, including three in the red zone late in the third quarter. Coach Norv Turner did not call Sapp's number, though.

Twice, he blocked end Simeon Rice on pass plays, and he blocked on Tyrone Wheatley's 2-yard touchdown run.

With the Bucs, Sapp made a habit of intimidating opponents by skipping through their pregame warmups.

But he left his former teammates alone.

Sapp skipped onto the field but went directly from the midfield tunnel to the Raiders' half of the field.

LOWERING THE BOOM: Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon left the game after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker Derrick Brooks.

Scrambling on third and 9 from the Tampa Bay 7, Gannon lowered his head rather than slide.

After the hit, Gannon lay on the turf holding the snaps on his chin strap.

He was quickly helped up and walked off the field under his own power but was replaced by Kerry Collins for the next series. Gannon did not return.

ROUGH START: On the Raiders' first play from scrimmage, running back Tyrone Wheatley slipped through the arms of safety Jermaine Phillips and burst through the middle of the Bucs defense for a 60-yard run. The Bucs gave up a 64-yard run to the Redskins' Clinton Portis on their first series of the season opener.

Corner Ronde Barber tackled Wheatley at the Bucs 21.

SMOOTH RECOVERY: Two plays after Wheatley's run, corner Brian Kelly got about three fingers on a pass from Gannon to Jerry Porter, altering the flight of the ball just enough to keep Porter from making the catch in the end zone. Oakland settled for a 23-yard field goal.

FOR OPENERS: Bucs reserve corner Torrie Cox made his NFL debut, returning the opening kickoff 27 yards to the Bucs 24. Cox replaced receiver/kickoff returner Frank Murphy, who was inactive with a hamstring strain.

STARTING OVER: Rice, whose NFL-record streak of consecutive games with a reception ended last weekend at 274, caught a 10-yard pass on the Raiders' first possession. That left Brown with the longest active streak, which he extended to 175 with a catch early in the fourth quarter.

TRADING PLACES: Other former Raiders on the Bucs roster included: tight end Rickey Dudley (1996-00), Garner (2001-03) and guard Matt Stinchcomb (1999-03). General manager Bruce Allen spent nine seasons with the Raiders before reuniting with Gruden in January. In addition to Sapp, former Bucs guard Frank Middleton (1997-2000) starts for the Raiders.

INJURY REPORT: Dudley broke his right thumb during the first half and did not return.

_ JOANNE KORTH, Times staff writer


Aside from winning Super Bowl XXXVII there, the Bucs have found their trips to California unproductive. Tampa Bay is 3-20 in the Golden State:

Date Opp. Result

Sunday Raiders L, 30-20

10/19/03 49ers L, 24-7

1/26/03 Raiders W, 48-21

12/19/99 Raiders L, 45-0

11/17/96 Chargers W, 25-17

10/23/94 49ers L, 41-16

12/19/93 Raiders L, 27-20

12/19/92 49ers L, 21-14

11/22/92 Chargers L, 29-14

11/18/90 49ers L, 31-7

10/28/90 Chargers L, 41-10

11/29/87 Rams L, 35-3

10/5/86 Rams L, 26-20 +

11/18/84 49ers L, 24-17

12/4/83 49ers L, 35-21

10/18/81 Raiders L, 18-16

10/26/80 49ers W, 24-23

12/9/79 49ers L, 23-7

12/10/78 49ers L, 6-3

11/5/78 Rams L, 26-23

11/6/77 Rams L, 31-0

10/30/77 49ers L, 20-10

11/28/76 Raiders L, 49-16

+ Overtime

Super Bowl in San Diego

NOTE: Raiders played in L.A. from 1982-94