NFL news of October 8, 2002

Photo: Gary W. Green | Orlando Sentinel

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ ravenous defense is assaulting the NFL record book.

Derrick Brooks took a lateral from defensive tackle Warren Sapp and waltzed the final 15 yards into the end zone Sunday in Atlanta, becoming the only linebacker in league history to register three interception returns for touchdowns in one season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Eleven regular-season games remain.

“We’re just having fun, nothing more than that,” Brooks said. “We’re always reminding ourselves to keep our poise, take a minute to figure the other team out. We tried to do too much as a defense last year instead of relying on each other.”

The Bucs, 4-1, are the first team to return an interception for a TD in four straight games since the 1973 Washington Redskins. They also are working on a streak of 49 consecutive games with at least one sack, best since the 1994-98 Denver Broncos.

“We played particularly great defense on the road and I don’t believe there have been many teams that have gone three straight road games without yielding a touchdown,” Coach Jon Gruden said.

— Ira Kaufman, The Tampa Tribune “Brooks’ 3 TD Interceptions Earn Him Spot In NFL Records.”

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