ST. LOUIS, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began what they hope is a climb back into playoff contention by knocking off the St. Louis Rams, the team with the best record in the NFL, 24-17 Monday night.
The key was a fierce defense, led by tackle Warren Sapp, who had two sacks, and safety John Lynch, who seasled the victory with a late interception.
Tampa Bay, getting back to .500 (5-5), had alternated wins and losses over the last six weeks and could ill afford to fall four games behind first-place Chicago in the NFC Central.
Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson directed an efficient attack, completing 21-of-34 passes for 185 yards. Running backs Warrick Dunn (60 yards and a touchdown) and Mike Alstott (34 yards and two scores) contributed to the balanced effort.
But the offense's job was made easier by the fact that the Bucs defense never let St. Louis get on track. St. Louis quarterback Kurt Warner was 19-of-39 for 291 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted twice.