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Buccaneers End Losing Streak at 6 : NFC: Testaverde hooks up with Carrier on a 35-yard pass play with 39 seconds left in 23-17 victory over Falcons.

From Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended a six-game losing streak with a 23-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. That’s all that mattered to Ray Perkins.

“It was kind of ugly, but I really don’t care,” the Buccaneer coach said Sunday after Vinny Testaverde teamed up with Mark Carrier on a 35-yard touchdown pass play with 39 seconds left to hand the Falcons their 17th consecutive loss on the road.

“We made lots of mistakes, but it was awfully beautiful at the end,” Perkins said. “We played with more intensity and more belief that we could win than in the last six weeks.”

Testaverde completed 17 of 33 passes for a season-high 351 yards against the NFL’s worst pass defense. Tampa Bay’s offense had its most productive day in eight weeks with Willie Drewrey scoring on an 89-yard reception and Steve Christie kicking field goals of 39, 44 and 21 yards.

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“We should have scored a lot more points,” said Perkins, whose team had scored only 53 during the six-game slide that prompted fans to call for the coach’s dismissal.

“I don’t really know whether this takes the pressure off anything, and I don’t care,” Perkins said.

The defeat was the fifth in a row for Atlanta (3-9), which hasn’t won on the road since Nov. 20, 1988. Adding to the Falcons’ frustration was the loss of quarterback Chris Miller, who suffered a broken collarbone in the third quarter and is out for the season.

The Buccaneers (5-8) intercepted three of Miller’s passes before he was injured after scrambling out of the end zone to the Atlanta 11, where Keith McCants made a diving tackle.

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Scott Campbell replaced Miller and the Atlanta offense responded positively. Campbell completed his first five passes for 51 yards to sustain the drive, and the Falcons went ahead, 14-13, on Mike Rozier’s nine-yard run. The drive took nearly nine minutes.

Christie’s third field goal gave Tampa Bay a 16-14 lead with 10:03 to go, but Campbell held his composure, Rozier continued to run effectively, and the Falcons came back to regain a one-point lead on a 46-yard field goal by Greg Davis.

“Scott Campbell did a good job moving the ball,” Falcon Coach Jerry Glanville said. “He gave us a chance to win.”


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