Sometimes, a player rises to a higher level when he plays certain teams. Examples would be Ricky Proehl against the Buccaneers, Michael Vick against the Panthers and, of course, Ronde Barber against the Eagles. Barber can wear the crown of “Eagle Killer” following his two-interception, two-touchdown performance against Philadelphia.
No Buc fan will ever forget the most memorable play in Barber’s storied career, a NFC Championship sealing interception against McNabb in 2002 that sent the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl.
Barber struck again Sunday, forcing three turnovers against the Eagles, intercepting two passes and forcing a fumble. Barber returned both interceptions for touchdowns, providing Tampa Bay with 12 points.
Barber was the first player in NFL history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game of the regular season. But then again, Barber has a knack for making history.
Barber is the only cornerback in the history of the NFL to have 20 sacks and 20 interceptions for his career. He is quickly approaching the team record for interceptions as a Buccaneer with 30 picks under his belt. He is one shy of Donnie Abraham, who had 31 in his Buccaneer career.
Against the Eagles, Barber managed to outscore his offense, bringing back memories of the Buccaneers of old when the team relied on the defense to score points and give the offense good field position.
Up until this game, Barber had been having an up-and-down year. In the first three games of the season, Barber was flagged for questionable pass interference calls that extended scoring drives for the opposition. Barber had expressed frustration in the locker room following the close losses by the Buccaneers, and claimed that the defense would turn things around.
While many pundits have taken shots at the Buccaneers aging defense, they still have Hall of Fame-type playmakers who can change the outcome of a game. Barber is the Pewter Report’s MVP against the Eagles for having a Hall of Fame-type performance.