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    • revfish

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      20) 2010:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals (38-35 TB)  Played on Halloween, this game had just about everything:  defensive touchdowns, bombs, quick scores, and last minute drama.  The treats began after  LB Hayes returned an errant Cardinal QB pass for the score followed soon thereafter by a Freeman to Benn 47 yard TD bomb.  Touchdowns were then traded via a Tampa muffed punt deep in its territory and yet another interception for a score by CB Aquib Talib.  Deep in the third quarter, the game actually looked to be a rout after RB Blount’s 20 yard touchdown run made it 31-14.  That it is, until Blount returned the favor with a fumble that Arizona returned for their own score.  Getting three touchdowns in 5 minutes, the Cardinals swooped back to take  a 35-31 lead with 10 minutes left.  Not deterred, though, another 47 yard bomb from Freeman to Benn and the Bucs had the higher score once again.  QB Derek Anderson would actually lead the Cardinals down inside Tampa’s 10 and looked certain to at least tie the score, until CB Talib once again picked him off at the five.  The game was then sealed after a Blount signature 48 yard run in which he leapfrogged a Cardinal defender.19) 1982:  Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers  (26-23 TB (OT).  With a play-off spot on the line,  Tampa Bay almost didn’t show up for this game until mounting a second half comeback that would be its largest until 2008.  First, Bears DT Steve McMichael takes the ball from Williams and rumbles 70 yards to set up a field goal.  Adding to Tampa’s misery then, LB Otis Taylor picks off the Buc QB for another defensive score.  In the third quarter, the Buccaneers found themselves trailing both 20-3 and 23-6.  A Williams to Giles TD pass helped  the Bucs fight and claw their way back into things.  Unfortunately,  a 38 yard missed field goal attempt kept them behind until a two minute drive  set up K Bill Capece kicking the ball through the uprights with 26 seconds left.  The Bears actually had a chance to end it as time expires but missed the game winning field goal.  They certainly wished they had made it, as RB James Wilder exploded down the right side for 47 yards  on their first offensive play of overtime, and the ensuing kick ensured that Tampa Bay would make the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 years in dramatic fashion.18) 2007:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints  (27-23 TB). In 2007 Tampa had surprised everyone by claiming first place in their division with five games left to play.  Their 3rd NFC South title in 6 years was essentially crowned after a thrilling win against the hard-charging Saints, who’d be only one game back had they beaten the Bucs.  Coming into the game, QB Garcia was hurt and Luke McCown made his first ever start for Tampa.  Performed very well,  McCown completes his first 16 passes and almost setting a new Buccaneers record.  Galloway was huge in the first half, with three long passes, but thanks to two successful bombs (including a rarely seen flea flicker),  the Saints held a 14-13 lead.  The second half was strange, with all of the Saints’ points coming via the defense.  McCown threw an INT for a touchdown thanks to a bad route by #84 Galloway, and then stepped out of the end zone for a safety.  Indeed, it looked like the Saints would win until, with 3 minutes left, coach strangely Sean Peyton called for a reverse which Reggie Bush threw onto the ground and Buccaneers DE Stylze G. White recovered.  Given new life, Gruden then risked the season by going for it on 4th and 1 with two minutes left!  Tampa converted, and set up an outstanding leaping touchdown grab by 6’ 8” TE Jeremy Stevens with 16 seconds left.  Yes, the Bucs would be NFC South Champions with an amazing 27-23 upset!  17) 1999 Divisional Play-off  Game- Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-13 TB).  While no Buc fan can forget the NFC Championship vs. the Rams in 1999, the game before that classic was also  incredible.  Shaun King became the first or second rookie quarterback ever to win a play-off game,  rallying his troops from a 13 point deficit.  Washington came in with future Buc QB Brad Johnson and the league’s 3rd best offense, which held a 10-0 lead after returning the second half kick-off 100 yards for seven points.    The hole grew even deeper for the Buccaneers after King, who took a while to settle down, throws an interception to Darryl Green that set up another field goal later in the quarter.  Enter John Lynch, who in turn picked off Johnson and proceeded to scream at the offense to get it going.  His tactic worked, with Warrick Dunn drawing a long pass interference penalty followed by Alstott’s greatest TD since his backward rumble against Minnesota.  Steve White and Warren Sapp then teamed up to create another turnover, which Warrick Dunn topped by picking up a Shaun King fumble on 3rd down and 10 and going 12 yards.  In a gutsy move, Dungy went for it and succeeded on 4th down on the Redskin 8 yard line, then called upon King to hit TE Johnny Davis even as he was getting pummeling while letting go of the ball.  (I didn’t like the call at the time but couldn’t argue with the results).  Then, with 42 seconds left, the Redskins march down and attempt  a potential 52 yard game winning field goal, but former Buccaneer Dan Turk botched the snap and Tampa Bay was off to face the Rams.  In truth, the defense was the star of this game, giving up only three points on their own and never letting up.16) 1994: Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24-14 TB).  If you were a Buc fan twenty years ago and saw this game, there is a very good chance you remember where you were while watching it.  It began after Detroit’s first possession when KR Vernon Turner took the punt, high stepped to his right, and went down the sideline for the first kick return of any kind for a touchdown in Tampa Bay’s history!  This game doesn’t make it number 16 for just this, however.  Finding themselves down 17-0 after an Erickson to WR Charles Wilson 35 TD pass, the Lions called upon (who else) Barry Sanders, who broke off two long runs of 60+ yards (one of them without a shoe) to bring them back into the game at 17-14.  Special teams to the rescue… again:  Roderick Green blocks a Detroit punt, giving the Buccaneers a first and goal.  Eric Rhett then takes it to the house for his first ever touchdown in the NFL.  The Lions still don’t quit, though.  Three times in the last five minutes, Scott Mitchell would take his team inside the Buccaneer 35, only to have a missed chip shot field, a fumble, and a turnover on downs ruin their chances.  The Bucs won.  Not only that, but had gotten off the kick return snide.

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