Order the new book, The United States Football League, 1982–1986.
Tampa Bay 17 at Boston 241983 Week 16 - Sunday, June 19, 1983
BOSTON (AP)-How could the Boston Breakers ever win without quarterback Johnnie Walton, who led them to five come-from-behind victories? Simple. They never fell behind. Walton was sidelined with a strained left knee, so inexperienced Doug Woodward got his first United States Football League start Sunday and directed Boston to a 24-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Bandits.
The Breakers led 7-0 less than two minutes into the game and 14-3 after the first quarter. That took pressure off Woodward, who wouldn't be forced to pass to try for quick scores. "We expected them to run a lot, especially after they got ahead," said Bandits' Coach Steve Spurrier. "Scoring as quickly as we did definitely helped the offense and set the tempo." said the 24-year-old Woodward, who completed 12 of 17 passes for two touchdowns but only 80 yards Both teams are 10-6.
Boston, winner of five of its last six games, improved its chance for the wild-card playoff berth, while Tampa Bay fell one game behind Chicago, the Central Division leader.
The Bandits held a 355-222 advantage in yards and ran 73 plays to Boston's 46. But the Breakers made big plays and few mistakes. Woodward wasn't intercepted or sacked, and Boston lost neither of its two fumbles Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Kelley was sacked four times and threw one interception, and the two fumbles the Bandits lost led to 10 Breakers' points. "We fumbled the ball a couple of times and they started in good field position," said Spurrier "Woodward played well ... Of course, they didn't ask him to do a lot. We'd rush the guy occasionally. He'd shake our guy off and throw a touchdown."
Four plays after Boston's Joe Restic recovered Gary Anderson's fumble on the first play from scrimmage, Woodward hit Dennis Johnson for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Zenoh Andrusyshyn kicked the first of his three field goals, a 35-yarder, but on Boston's next possession Johnson capped a 46-yard drive with a 2-yard dive to make it 14-3 with 3:01 left in the first period.
The Bandits closed to within 17-14 on Andrusyshyn's 51-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half. Sam Platt had scored on a 20-yard run for Tampa Bay, and Tim Mazzetti booted a 22-yard field goal for Boston.
After starting at their own 49 following a fourth-quarter punt, the Breakers need just two plays to score, a 44-yard bomb from Woodward to Beau Coash and a 7 yard touchdown strike to Nolan Franz. Andrusyshyn added a 35-yard field goal midway through the final period, but the Bandits couldn't cross midfield after that.