Testaverde, Now Finding His Receivers, Beats Lions

From Associated Press

Vinny Testaverde put up some big numbers again, but this time most of them were on the plus side.

Testaverde, plagued by interceptions in his first three NFL seasons, threw three touchdowns and had only one of his passes intercepted Sunday to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 38-21 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Testaverde completed 16 of 21 passes for 237 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown to Ron Hall after only 2:15.

"It doesn't matter what the stats are or how many touchdown passes I threw," Testaverde said. "We won, and that's what counts."

Testaverde got plenty of help from Gary Anderson, who didn't play a down for the San Diego Chargers last season because of a contract dispute.

Anderson caught six passes for 79 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown from Testaverde, and rushed 21 times for 74 yards. He was replaced by rookie Reggie Cobb, who scored on a two-yard run.

The Lions fell flat after winning their last five games of 1989 and going 4-0 in the exhibition season.

"I'm angry and the guys know I'm angry," Coach Wayne Fontes said. "We just got pushed around more than we should have."

Quarterback Rodney Peete threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Robert Clark, but was harassed all day by Tampa Bay's defense, which sacked him five times and had another sack against Bob Gagliano. Linebacker Ervin Randle had three of the sacks.

Peete completed 10 of 21 passes for 143 yards. Gagliano was four for 10 for 61 yards.

Peete's touchdown pass to Clark and a one-yard scoring run by Barry Sanders gave the Lions a 14-7 lead, but Testaverde threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Perkins and found Anderson for the 19-yarder to put the Buccaneers ahead for good.

Sanders, the NFC rookie of the year last season with 1,470 rushing yards, carried 14 times for 79 yards.

The Lions closed to 31-21 on a 14-yard scoring pass from Gagliano to Clark with 5:34 left. Gagliano's next pass was picked off by Wayne Haddix and returned 62 yards for Tampa Bay's final touchdown.

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