Buccaneers, Colts tied at 35 at end of regulation
TAMPA, Fla. -- Indianapolis' Ricky Williams ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a game-tying 4-yard plunge with 35 seconds left, as the Colts rallied from a 21-point deficit in the final five minutes to tie the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 35 through regulation on Monday night.
Tampa appeared to have the game in hand with a 35-14 lead following Ronde Barber's 27-yard interception return with 5:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But James Mungro's 3-yard TD with 3:37 remaining brought the Colts within 14.
Mungro and Williams were playing in place of Edgerrin James, who missed his second straight game with a bad back.
Indianapolis successfully converted the onside kick, and Peyton Manning hit Marvin Harrison for a 28-yard TD with 2:29 to go. That scoring connection was their 64th, breaking the Colts record previously held by Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry.
Although Indianapolis came up empty on a second onside kick, its defense forced Tampa to punt with 1:48 to go and the Colts took over on their 15.
After an incompletion, a pass and roughing-the-passer penalty brought Indianapolis to its 41. Manning followed by hitting Harrison in stride for a 53-yard gain down to the Tampa 6, and Williams scored two plays later.
Manning was 29-of-38 for 338 yards one week after throwing for six touchdowns at New Orleans. Harrison, who caught three of those touchdowns against the Saints, had 10 catches for 168 yards.
For Tampa, Keenan McCardell caught two touchdown passes and returned a fumble 57 yards for third score.
McCardell's last touchdown was his prettiest, a toe-dragging grab of 15 yards along the end zone's right sideline for a 28-7 lead with 1:14 left in the third quarter. He started the game's scoring with a 74-yard TD early in the first quarter. The touchdowns were his only catches of the game.
On the Buccaneers' first play of their second possession, McCardell ran a post pattern into the coverage of linebacker Rob Morris. Indianapolis' pass rush forced Brad Johnson to step up in the pocket, prompting both men to slow down and the two Colts safeties to move upfield. Johnson recovered and his bomb was caught by McCardell in stride after Morris slipped.
After the Colts punted on the ensuing possession, Johnson's deep pass for Joe Jurevicius was intercepted by strong safety Mike Doss. As Doss passed midfield, Tampa center John Wade punched the ball away and it bounced directly to McCardell.
Tampa went up 21-0 on Brad Johnson's 3-yard scoring pass to Reggie Barlow early in the second quarter. Johnson was 22-of-33 for 298 yards.
This has been one of the most highly awaited games of 2003 ever since the NFL released its schedule in the offseason, and the teams' combined 6-1 start has only fueled the anticipation.
Dominating the hype -- despite both teams' best efforts to play down the storyline -- has been Colts coach Tony Dungy's return to Florida, two seasons after the Buccaneers fired the winningest coach in their history and won the Super Bowl the following year.
Dungy, 54-42 with four playoff appearances in six seasons leading Tampa Bay, brought in most of the players and coaches who won the Buccaneers' first-ever championship, and 23 of his players remain on the roster. But he never tasted the fruits of his labor; on the receiving end of the jubilant water cooler soaking in January was Jon Gruden, whom the Buccaneers paid dearly for in order to hire him away from Oakland as Dungy's replacement.
Still, Dungy is remembered fondly in Tampa. When his name was announced in pregame introductions, the sellout crowd at Raymond James Stadium responded with a warm ovation.
In Indianapolis, Dungy is working another successful reclamation project. He is 14-6 in a season-plus, and the Colts were off the their first 4-0 start since 1996.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Harbaugh, 49ers mutually agree to part ways
- Jets to fire Idzik, Ryan on Monday, sources say
- Rodgers returns, leads Packers to North title
- Bengals WR Green diagnosed with concussion