Vinny Testaverde said he didn’t want to relive a three-year-old nightmare.
Testaverde’s threw to Mark Carrier on a five-yard touchdown pass play with 43 seconds left gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a 14-13 victory over the Phoenix Cardinals Sunday. The win gave the Buccaneers their first two-game winning streak in five years.
Testaverde’s last game here was the 1987 Fiesta Bowl when he played for the University of Miami. He threw five interceptions--including one on a fourth-and-goal play in the final seconds--in a 14-10 loss to Penn State in the 1986 national championship game.
This time, Testaverde shook off an interception by Tim McDonald at the Phoenix 19-yard line with 4:02 left and led Tampa Bay on a 14-play, 82-yard drive in 2:10 that ended with the touchdown pass play to Carrier, who was open in the back of the end zone.
Testaverde said: “I told the guys in the huddle, ‘Hey, I was here three years ago and I lost. Today will be a different outcome.’ After I said that, the guys told me later on they got chills.”
“It showed a lot of character on our part. We were looking for two victories back-to-back, and two games in a row we’ve come from behind. We made plays when we had to make them.”
Tampa Bay (5-7) last won two consecutive games at the end of the 1984 season.
“I told my players we were lucky, but we haven’t had luck in the last two years so maybe it’s our turn,” Buccaneer Coach Ray Perkins said. “I told my players it’s not too difficult to win these close games. We made it more difficult than it really is.”
Al Del Greco, who kicked field goals of 28 and 21 yards, was wide left on a 47-yard attempt with one second remaining as the Cardinals (5-7) lost their second straight game and seventh in the last 10, spoiling the debut of interim head coach Hank Kuhlmann.
Kuhlmann, 52, a fourth-year running back coach, was promoted Monday after Gene Stallings was fired.
“We had distractions all week, but we played hard and we had our chances to win--we just couldn’t do it,” Kuhlmann said.