LOSS - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 06 St. Louis Rams 11
POST-SEASON: NFC Championship Game
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are once again one-game away from the Super Bowl
The Rams and Buccaneers would slug it out for most of the game, with the Buccaneers defense holding the Rams highly-potent offense in check. Buccaneers, weak on offense, would only muster two field goals, and gave up a costly safety in the second quarter when a bad snap from center went over the head of rookie quarterback Shaun King and out of the endzone. Despite this, the Buccaneers nursed an unusual 6–5 lead into the 4th Quarter.
The Rams broke open a defense dominated game when Kurt Warner threw a touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl with 4:44 left in the game. The Buccaneers would mount a drive on their final possession, however a replay overturned what appeared to be a reception by Buccaneers wide receiver Bert Emanuel, and the Buccaneers never recovered.
On the first play of the game, Buccaneers defensive end Steve White intercepted a screen pass from Warner on the Rams 20-yard line, setting up a 25-yard field goal from Martin Gramatica. But that was all they could manage in the first quarter. On one possession, they moved the ball to the St. Louis 23-yard line, but then King was sacked and fumbled. Tampa Bay recovered the ball, but lost 12 yards and were pushed out of field goal range. Then with 11 seconds left in the period, King threw a pass from the St. Louis 41-yard line that went right into the surprised arms of defensive back Todd Lyght. The Rams didn't do much better. After Gramatica's field goal, they drove 74 yards in 16 plays before a fumbled handoff from Warner to Marshall Faulk on third down forced them to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins. Then on their next drive, Wilkins missed a field goal attempt from 44 yards.
In the second quarter, a high snap from Bucs center Tony Mayberry went over King's head and into the end zone. King managed to knock the ball out of the end zone to prevent a touchdown, but it gave the Rams a safety and a 5–3 lead. This would be the score by halftime, despite the Rams 159–75 advantage over the Buccaneers in total yards.
Just as in the first half, Buccaneers scored a field goal on their opening drive on the third quarter, set up by a 32-yard reception by Jacquez Green and a 15-yard facemask penalty on Taje Allen. Meanwhile, Warner was intercepted three times by the Buccaneers defense, including a costly interception to Hardy Nickerson on the Tampa Bay 3-yard line. But late in the fourth quarter, Rams defensive back Dre' Bly intercepted a pass from King at the Buccaneers 49-yard line. A few plays later, Warner threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Proehl with 4:44 left, taking an 11–6 lead after the two-point conversion failed.
Despite being sacked twice, King responded by leading the Bucs to the St. Louis 22-yard line. With 47 seconds remaining, King completed an apparent 13-yard reception to Bert Emanuel at the Rams' 22-yard line, setting up a 3rd & 10. The ruling on the field was a complete pass. The team called a quick timeout and huddled. Booth replay official Jerry Markbreit ordered a review of the call during the timeout. Referee Bill Carollo determined that the nose of the ball had touched the ground as he brought it into his body. The catch was overturned, ruled incomplete, and Tampa Bay was moved back to a 3rd & 23 at the 35. King threw two incompletions, and the Bucs turned it over on downs. The Rams held on to win 11–6.
Proehl was the sole offensive star of the game, finishing with 6 catches for 100 yards and one touchdown.
The enusing controversy prompted the NFL to clarify the rule regarding what constitutes a valid pass reception. This would come to be known as "The Bert Emanuel Rule."
- REFEREE: Bill Carollo
- UMPIRE: Ed Coukart
- HEAD LINESMAN: Mark Baltz
- LINE JUDGE: Walt Anderson
- BACK JUDGE: Ron Spitler
- FIELD JUDGE: Tim Millis
- SIDE JUDGE: Neely Dunn
- REPLAY OFFICIAL: Jerry Seeman
- BUCCANEERS: 5:37-1Q Gramatica FG25
- RAMS: 14:41-3Q Wilkins FG24
- RAMS: 8:10-3Q Safety - snap went through the endzone
- BUCCANEERS: 0:03-4Q Gramatica FG23
- RAMS: 7:29-4Q Proehl 30 pass from Warner (2pt conversion failed)
- WR: #86 K. Williams
- LT: #69 P. Pierson
- LG: #64 J. Diaz
- C: #61 T. Mayberry
- RG: #73 F. Middleton
- RT: #71 J. Wunsch
- TE: #83 D. Moore
- WR: #82 P. Hape
- QB: #10 S. King
- FB: #40 M. Alstott
- RB: #28 W. Dunn
- LE: #72 C. Ahanotu
- LT: #77 B. Culpepper
- RT: #99 W. Sapp
- RE: #94 S. White
- SLB: #53 S. Quarles
- MLB: #56 H. Nickerson
- WLB: #55 D. Brooks
- LC: #21 D. Abraham
- RC: #20 R. Barber
- SS: #47 J. Lynch
- FS: #24 D. Robinson
- 3 Royals, 7 Gramatica, 25 Kelly, 27 Abdullah, 30 Smith, 31 Young, 34 Jackson, 35 McAfee, 43 McLeod, 50 Gooch, 58 Davis, 59 Duncan, 65 Dogins, 68 Unutoa, 75 Washington, 78 Jones, 79 Hegamin, 80 Davis, 81 Green, 84 McDonald, 87 Emanuel, 92 McFarland, 95 McLaughlin
DID NOT PLAY
- 15 Zeier
- 12 Dilfer, 13 Milanovich, 49 Jordan, 51 Singleton, 76 Curry, 85 Anthony, 97 Jackson, 98 Cannida
- BUCCANEERS: Alstott 12-39, Dunn 9-35, King 2-3.
- RAMS: Faulk 17-44, Hakim 1-6, Holcombe 1-2, Warner 3-(-1).
- BUCCANEERS: King 29-13-163-2-0.
- RAMS: Warner 43-26-258-3-1
- BUCCANEERS: Green 4-59, Dunn 4-37, Williams 2-28, Emanuel 1-22, Alstott 1-9, Moore 1-8.
- RAMS: Holt 7-68, Proehl 6-100, Bruce 3-22, Faulk 3-5, Hakim 2-27, Holcombe 2-5, Williams 1-22, Robinson 1-11, Conwell 1-(-2)
- BUCCANEERS: Kelly 1-15, Nickerson 1-6, White 1-0.
- RAMS: Lyght 1-19, Bly 1-9.
- BUCCANEERS: Dunn 3-60.
- RAMS: Horne 2-38.
- BUCCANEERS: Williams 4-45.
- RAMS: Hakim 3-25.
- BUCCANEERS: none
- RAMS: Wistrom 1-13, Clemons 1-8, Carter 1-6, Farr 1-5, Zgonina 1-5.