Tampa Bay Buccaneers

43rd Season First Game Played September 12, 1976
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1976: Coached by legendary USC coach John McKay the Buccaneers played their first season in the AFC West with understanding that the following year they would move permanently to the NFC Central. The Bucs would select Defensive End Lee Roy Selmon with their first draft pick and traded for Steve Spurrier to give themselves a veteran Quarterback. On September 12th the Buccaneers played their first regular season game in Houston against the Oilers, and were shut out 20-0. Fans watching the game using dualpromo.codes were able to follow the game like never before. A week later they played their first game at Tampa Stadium against the San Diego Chargers, once again they were shutout, losing 23-0. A week later the Bucs finally got on the board with three Dave Green Field Goals. However, they still lost at home to the Buffalo Bills 14-9. The Bucs lost their next two games as well before facing their expansion brothers at Tampa Stadium. With both teams fighting for their first ever win the Seattle Seahawks stunned the Bucs with a last minute Field Goal 13-10. A week later it was heartbreak again as they played it close all game with Miami Dolphins before losing 23-20. It would be the last close game the Bucs would play all season. Already 0-7 the Bucs would continue to lose, being shutout a total of four times on the way to an embarrassing 0-14 season, in which they were outscored a total of 412-125. The Buccaneers had ended their first season, and were still waiting for their first win. The team will forever be remembered as the worst in the history of the NFL as Coach John McKay once replied “He was all for it,” when asked about his team’s execution.

1977: Now playing in the NFC Central the Buccaneers did not fair any better being shutout six times on the way to losing their first 12 games. Overall it gave the Buccaneers an embarrassing 26 game losing streak. In those 26 games the Bucs lost by less then a Touchdown three times. However, on December 11th the Bucs futility would finally come to an end in New Orleans, as the Bucs beat the Saints 33-14 behind three interceptions returned for Touchdowns. When the team got home to Tampa, over 8,000 fans had gathered to greet them. A week later the Bucs won their first home game beating the St. Louis Cardinals 17-7, to close their second season with a 2-12 record.

1978: After losing their first two games the Bucs won their next two games to sit at .500 for the first time ever. The Bucs would alternate wins and loses over the four weeks, and were actually playing solid football at 4-4. However, injuries would cripple the Bucs as they lost seven of their last eight games to finish with a 5-11 record.

1979: The Bucs started off their fourth season on the right note by beating the Detroit Lions 31-16 at Tampa Stadium to start the season with a win. The Bucs would go on to win their first five games, becoming the story of the season. However, the team would start to struggle and their playoff hopes sat in jeopardy entering the final week of the season with an 8-7 record. Playing in a torrential downpour in Tampa the Bucs beat the Kansas City Chiefs 3-0 to win the NFC Central with a 9-7 record. Among the stars of the surprise season was Running Back Ricky Bell who rushed for 1,263 yards, and Defensive End Lee Roy Selmon who Defensive Player of the Year. In their first playoff game in Bell was the star again scoring two Touchdowns and rushing for 142 yards as the Bucs beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-17 at Tampa Stadium. Just two years after ending their 26-game losing streak the Bucs were facing the Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Stadium for a trip to the Super Bowl. However, the Bucs were washed away losing the NFC Championship Game 9-0 in the rain.

1980: The Bucs got off on the right foot again winning their first two games. However, the magic would not return as the Bucs struggled with injuries on the way to a disappointing 5-10-1 season. However, Quarterback Doug Williams provided a bright spot passing for 3,396 yards.

1981: The Buccaneers play mediocre football all season, but find themselves in the thick for the race for first place in a weak NFC Central. A late season three game winning streak highlighted by 336 passing game form Doug Williams would put the Bucs in the driver’s seat. However, after a heartbreaking 1-point loss at home to the San Diego Chargers, the Bucs need a win over the Lions in Detroit to win the division. The game was close through out as Dog Williams hit Wide Receiver Kevin House on an 84-yard Touchdown strike to lift the Bucs to a 20-17 win. However, the Bucs season would end quickly with a 38-0 shellacking in Dallas form the Cowboys.

1982: The Bucs lose their first two games before a two month player strike interrupts the season. When the players returned the Bucs still struggled losing to the Cowboys 14-9 in Dallas. Facing a 0-4 start the Bucs would get their first win a week later with a 23-17 Monday Night win over the Miami Dolphins at Tampa. The win would be the spark the Bucs needed as they won five of their last six games, including their final three games to qualify for the playoffs with a 5-4 record. However, once again their season would end in Dallas with a 30-17 loss to the Cowboys. Following the season the Bucs would lose Quarterback Doug Williams to the USFL.

1983: Without Doug Williams the Bucs would from the start losing their first nine games, giving fans flashbacks of 1976. The Bucs would finally get their first win in Minnesota as Running Back James Wilder rushed for a team record 219 yards in a 17-12 win over the Vikings. The Bucs would win only one more game the rest of the season, finishing with a dreadful 2-14 record.

1984: The Buccaneers struggle early again losing seven of their first ten games, as Coach John McKay announces he would retire following the season. The Bucs would end the season on a strong note winning their final two games to finish with a 6-10 record, as Running Back James Wilder ended the season with 2,229 All-Purpose Yards. Following season the Bucs would sign Quarterback Steve Young away from the USFL.

1985: Under new Coach Leeman Bennett the Buccaneers would struggle out of the gate losing their first nine games, before shutting out St. Louis Cardinals 16-0 at Tampa Stadium. The Bucs would go on to win just once more, finishing with a 2-14 record for the second time in three seasons. Meanwhile, Quarterback Steve Young would have a rough debut being sacked 21 times in limited action.

1986: Prior to the season the Bucs were embarrassed in the NFL daft when, top draft pick Bo Jackson, who won the Heisman Trophy refuses to sign and chooses to play baseball with the Kansas City Royals. On the field the Bucs were in an even greater embarrassment finishing with a 2-14 record, as Steve Young has a horrid season being sacked 47 times while throwing just eight Touchdown passes. Following the season Coach Leeman Bennett would be fired and replaced by Ray Perkins.

1987: The Bucs use the top pick for another Heisman Trophy winner, this time they are able to come to terms with Quarterback Vinny Testaverde, which led to trading of Quarterback Steve Young to the San Francisco 49ers. However, Testaverde would have to wait for the starting job, as Steve DeBerg got the season started on the right note throwing five Touchdown passes in a season opening win over the Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Stadium. The Buccaneers would get off to a solid start winning four of their first seven games. However, the Bucs would lose their last eight games to finish with a dreadful 4-11 record, their fifth straight season with ten or more losses. Testaverde would eventually see some action passing for 1,081 yards in limited action.

1988: Vinny Testaverde is given the starting job at Quarterback, and struggles right away; throwing 35 interceptions to just 13 Touchdown passes, as the Bucs finished with a terrible 5-11 record. However, the Bucs were bad all over even losing a game against the Colts in Indianapolis when Vinny passed for a team record 469 yards.

1989: Despite an improved season from Quarterback Vinny Testaverde the Buccaneers still struggle to a 5-11 record, for their seventh consecutive season with ten or more losses. Highlighting the lost season was an impressive season in which Wide Receiver Mark Carrier set a franchise record with 1,422 yards.

1990: The Buccaneers get off to a solid start winning four of their first six games. However, the Bucs ship would sink again during a six game losing streak. The Bucs would snap the losing streak with a 23-17 win over the Falcons in Atlanta. However, it was not enough to save Coach Ray Perkins job, as he was fired and replaced by Richard Williamson. Under Williamson the Bucs would lose two of three games to finish with a 6-10 record.

1991: In Richard Williamson’s first full season as Coach the Buccaneers would get off to a miserable start losing their first five games, on the way to another last place 3-13 season. Among the major disappointments was Quarterback Vinny Testaverde who passes for 1,994 yards and throws just eight Touchdown passes to 15 interceptions. Following the season Coach Williamson would be fired and replaced by Sam Wyche.

1992: Under Sam Wyche the Bucs get off to a solid start winning three of their first four games. However, the Bucs would fall again losing five straight games, and 10 of 11 on the way to a 5-11 season, which was their tenth straight with ten or more losses. Following the season Quarterback Vinny Testaverde was released after six mainly disappointing season. Making matters worse former Quarterback Steve Young, won the NFL’s MVP award with San Francisco 49ers.

1993: Despite a solid 3,054 passing season from Quarterback Craig Erickson the Buccaneer woes continue losing five of their first six games on the way to another wretched 5-11 season.

1994: The Buccaneers lose their patriarch when Hugh Culverhouse who was owned the team since it founding dies at the age of 75. Trying to tart from step one again the Bucs draft Quarterback Trent Dilfer with their first round pick. Dilfer would struggle in limited time a he threw just one Touchdown pass to six interceptions, as the Bucs lost 9 of their first 11 games. The Buccaneers would finish the season on a strong note winning 4 straight, highlighted by a 192-yard game for Running Back Eric Rhett. However, with a chance to end 12 years of frustration, the Bucs dropped their season finale at Tampa Stadium to the Green Bay Packers 34-19, the loss would drop the Bucs to 6-10 on the season.

1995: Prior to the season the Buccaneers are sold to restaurateur Malcolm Glazer. The Bucs would get off to a solid start winning five of their first seven games, to find themselves in first place on October 15th. However, the Bucs would lose seven of their last nine games, ending 12 straight seasons with 10 or more losses. Following the 7-9 season Coach Sam Wyche is fired and replaced by Tony Dungy. Among the disappointments was Quarterback Trent Dilfer who threw just four Touchdown passes to 18 interceptions.

1996: In Tony Dungy’s first season at the helm the Buccaneers hit rough waters early losing their first five games and eight of nine overall. However, the team would finish the season on a strong note winning five of their last seven games. The Bucs at 6-10 would suffer their 14th straight losing season, but with a score of young talented players hope was beginning to return to Tampa.

1997: Prior to the final season at Tampa Stadium, which had recently been named Houlihan’s Stadium a year earlier the Buccaneers got a new look, discarding the old effeminate red and orange pirate, for a meaner sleeker look feature a red pirate flag on a pewter helmet. The Bucs would use the new Pewter Power to have them flying out of the gate winning their first five games. However, the ship would hit rough seas as they lost three games in a row. Instead of sinking the Bucs righted the ship and would go on to earn a Wild Card spot with a 10-6 record. Highlighting the Bucs successful season was Trent Dilfer who had a solid season passing for 21 Touchdowns, Mike Alstott the powering fullback who bulldozed his way for seven Touchdowns and countless first downs, and Warrick Dunn who captured the Offensive Rookie of the Year. In the Bucs first playoff game in 15 years the Bucs slaughtered the Detroit Lions 20-10 behind the powerful running of Alstott in the final game at Houlihan’s Stadium. However, their season would come to an end a week later with a 27-7 loss in Green Bay to the Packers.

1998: To assure their new stadium is ready the Buccaneers start the season by playing their first two games on the road. Unfortunately both games were against playoff teams, and the Bucs lost both. The Bucs would finally open Raymond James Stadium on September 20th, as the Bucs rallied from an early deficit to beat the Chicago Bears 27-15. However, an early tough schedule and offensive struggles would cause the Bucs to get off to a rough start. The Bucs would finally reach the .500 mark by handing the Minnesota Vikings their only loss on the season 27-24 at the Pirate Ship. However the Bucs were not able to capitalize on the momentum as they lost their next three games. With their playoff hopes all but gone the Bucs would win three games in a row to keep hope alive, but a 20-16 loss to the Redskins in Washington sealed their fate, as the Bucs needed to win their last game to finish with a disappointing 8-8 record. Following the season the Bucs would use a second Round draft pick to select Kicker Martin Gramatica, a move that came after Michael Husted missed seven key Field Goals.

1999: The Bucs take on rough waters early as they drop their season opener 17-13 to the New York Giants in Tampa. A week later the Bucs would recover as their defense smothered the Eagles to the tune of nine sacks in a 19-5 win in Philadelphia. The defense would carry the weight most of the season, as the Bucs offense seemed in neutral at times as the Bucs got off to a disappointing 3-4 start, in which the defense only allows 20 points twice. However, the offense only managed 20 once, leading to Shaun King being inserted at Quarterback. King’s play was not spectacular but it seemed to give the team some spark, as they embarked on a six game winning streak to catapult themselves into first place. After a aberrational 45-0 loss to the Raiders in Oakland the Bucs won their last two games to claim the NFC central with a franchise best 11-5 record, earning them a first round bye, as Warren Sapp won Defensive Player of the Year honors. In the Divisional Playoffs the Bucs would overcome a 13-0 deficit in the 3rd Quarter to beat the Washington Redskins 14-13 before a record crowd of 65,835 at Raymond James Stadium. In the NFC Championship Game in St. Louis the Bucs held a precarious 6-5 lead late in the 4th Quarter over the Rams. However, the Rams would take an 11-5 lead with a little over two minutes left. The Bucs would drive right down the field and appeared to be on the move when Shaun King hit Bert Emmanuel on a key pass, that would have kept a game winning drive alive. However, instant replay would overturn the call and the Bucs ship was sunk, even though most angles showed Emanuel made the catch.

2000: To give the offense an added dimension the Buccaneers acquire Wide Receiver Keyshawn Johnson from the New York Jets. The trade paid immediate dividends as the Bucs won their first three games in impressive fashion. However, the Bucs would blow a 17-3 lead in the 4th Quarter to the Jets, which seems to send the Bucs into a tailspin as they lost four straight games. The Bucs would right the stern with a 41-13 rout of the previously Minnesota Vikings at the Pirate Ship, as the Bucs seven of their next eight games. Sitting at 10-5 the Bucs needed a win in their final game to win the NFC Central. However, the game was in Green Bay and the temperature was below 40 conditions in which the Bucs had never won before. The Bucs appeared to have the game won as Martin Gramatica set up for a 35-yard Field Goal with time winding down in regulation. However, the usually reliable Gramatica’s kick was offline, and the Packers would win the game in Overtime 17-14. The Bucs would have to settle for a wild card spot with a 10-6 record. In the Wild Card Game in Philadelphia the mercury dipped below 40 again as the Bucs were frost bit with a 21-3 loss to the Eagles.

2001: The Bucs in hopes to revitalize the offense sign Free Agent Quarterback Brad Johnson. However, the offense remained stagnate, as the Bucs played mediocre football and sat 4-5 through their first nine games. With playoff hopes fading the Bucs would stun the Rams 27-24 in a Monday Night thriller in St. Louis. The win was the spark the Bucs needed as they won three straight games and five out of six to qualify for the playoffs as the sixth seed with a 9-7 record. However, the season was still considered a major disappointment as the offense struggled all season, which led to rumors that Bill Parcels was in line to become the next coach, as it was understood the Bucs needed to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia to save Ton Dungy’s job. The game was over before it began as the Bucs were rocked in Philadelphia 31-9. Within a few days it would become official as Dungy was forced to walk the plank. However, Parcels had a last minute change of heart and the Bucs were forced to scramble. Over the next few weeks the Bucs ship looked in complete disarray, as they could not come up with a replacement. Dungy himself would even land work before the Bucs made a deal with Oakland Raiders that allowed them to sign Coach Jon Gruden to take over the Bucs stern.

2002: With Jon Gruden taking over as head coach the Buccaneers began the season with renewed hope playing in the newly formed NFC South Division. However, the Bucs old struggles creped up in the season’s first game as they lost to the New Orleans Saints at home 26-20 in overtime after rallying from a 17-point deficit. The Buccaneers would quickly rebound behind their dominant defense as they won five straight games allowing only one Touchdown while Linebacker Derrick Brooks scored three times. The Buccaneers would enter a key match up with the Philadelphia Eagles with a record of 5-1. Their they would get off to a strong start as Brooks set a NFL record for Linebackers with his 4th TD return. However, the Bucs old struggles in Philadelphia would rise again as they lost 20-10. The Bucs loss to the Eagles would be a bump in the road as their top rated defense helped the Bucs to improve to 8-2 heading into a key match up with the Green Bay Packers at home. Against the Packers the Bucs defense was at its best sacking Brett Favre three times and picking off four passes in a 21-7 win. The game was not without its controversy as Warren Sapp and Packers Coach Mike Sherman got into a heated war of words after the game after Sapp injured tackle Chad Clifton during a interception return with a vicious but clean hit. After a disappointing loss in New Orleans the Buccaneers defense again frustrated one of the top Quarterbacks in the NFL as Atlanta Flacons dynamo Michael Vick was frustrated and limited to nine yard rushing and 125 yards passing in a dominant 34-10 Buccaneers win. After narrowly beating the Detroit Lions the Buccaneers road to the Super Bowl seemed in peril as they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-7 on Monday Night with Quarterback Brad Johnson on the sideline. With a record of 11-4 the Bucs entered the final game of the season needing a win for a first round bye in the playoff. However, to do so they would have to end 0-39 losing streak in sub 40-degree weather. Playing with Rob Johnson in at Quarterback the Bucs defense did it all completely shutting down the Chicago Bears as Martin Gramattica hit five field goals in a 15-0 win. The win completed the Buccaneers season at 12-4 a franchise best, as Derrick Brooks was named Defensive Player of the year, in a season of several defensive MVPs including NFC sack leader Simeon Rice. After the Buccaneers offense struggled in the final two games it was clear they needed the bye week for Quarterback Brad Johnson to fully heal. When they played their first game in the Divisional Round against the San Francisco 49ers Johnson would get off to a shaky start as he threw an interception on the Bucs first possession. However the Bucs top rated defense buckled down and kept the 49ers off the scoreboard. Brad Johnson would not make another mistake as the Bucs jumped out to a 28-6 halftime lead on the way to an overwhelming 31-6 victory that catapulted them into the NFC Championship Game. Heading into the NFC Championship it seemed as if everything was against the Bucs as they headed to Philadelphia, where their previous 2 seasons ended in disaster for the final game ever at Veterans Stadium. Things got bleaker as the Eagles had a 7-0 lead less then a minute into the game after a long kickoff return by Brian Mitchell. The Buccaneers would catch their breath as a steady drive on their first possession led to a Martin Gramattica Field Goal. After stopping the Eagles on their next possession the Buccaneers offense made a big game changing play as Joe Jerevicius, who was playing with a heavy heart after his son was born severely premature, turned a third down reception into a 74-yard game deep into Eagles territory. The heroic catch and run set up a Mike Alstott Touchdown that gave the Bucs a 10-7 lead. After another long Brian Mitchell kick return led to a tying field goal, Keyshawn Johnson showed his playing making abilities catching 32 passes including one for a Touchdown to give Tampa a 17-10 halftime lead. In the second half the Bucs defense took over as the Buccaneers added a field goal to take a 20-10 lead. As time was Rhonde Barber put the dagger in the Eagles by returning a Donovan McNabb interception 94 yard for a Touchdown he could have run all the way to San Diego as the Bucs beat the Eagles and the ghosts of the Vet 27-10 to go to their first Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XXXVII: For Jon Gruden Super Bowl Week was a circus as he faced the team he had coached a year previously the Oakland Raiders. Gruden knew the Raiders offense so well, that he at times portrayed Raiders Quarterback Rich Gannon in practice, using the same single calls. However, the Buccaneers defense had its back against the wall early as Brad Johnson threw an interception on the Bucs first possession. However, the defense rose to the occasional and held the number one offense in the NFL to a Field Goal. The Bucs would quickly tie the game on their next possession. Knowing the Raiders offense would begin to pay off as two Dexter Jackson interceptions to give the Bucs a 6-3 lead. While the Bucs defense was shutting down the Raiders offense the Bucs offense was starting to break down the Raiders defense as a long drive led to a Mike Alstott Touchdown. The Buccaneers would pad their lead to 20-3 as Keenan McCardell caught a Touchdown pass in the final minute of the first half. The Bucs defense had completely taken the Raiders out of the game by allowing just three first downs 62 yards total offense. The Bucs would get off to a strong start in the second half as they expended their lead to 27-3 on a 14-play 89-yard time consuming Touchdown drive. With the Raiders in panic mode the Bucs scoring defense would put down the clamps as Dwight Smith picked off Rich Gannon for a 44-yard interception return to give the Bucs a 34-3 lead. However, the Raiders would not give up as they scored three touchdowns to take get back with in two touchdowns at 34-21. With time winding down the Bucs defense would again rise to the occasion as Derrick Brooks return an interception 44 yards for a Touchdown to give the Bucs a 41-21 lead with 1:18 left. The return by Brooks sent the Buccaneers into celebration mode as Dexter Jackson was voted MVP for his two early interceptions that set the trend for the game. However, their defense was not done scoring as Dwight Smith returned his second interception 50 yards for a Touchdown that put an exclamation point on the Buccaneers 48-21 Super Bowl Victory.

2003: Coming off their Super Bowl Championship great things were expected again for the Buccaneers, as they got off to a great start spoiling the grand opening of the Philadelphia Eagles new stadium on Monday Night Football 17-0 as Joe Jerevicius made a spectacular highlight reel catch. However in Week 2 the Bucs began to hit rough waters as Jerevicius was essentially lost for the season with a knee injury in their home opener the following week against the Carolina Panthers. The game would provide further frustration as the Bucs appeared to have the game won with a Touchdown on the games final play. However Martin Gramatica’s PAT was blocked and the game went to overtime tied 9-9, where the Panthers eventually won the game with a Field Goal. The Bucs recovered with a win over the Atlanta Falcons the following week and appeared to be in great shape leading the Indianapolis 35-7 with a little over five minutes left in the game. However the Colts would make a stunning comeback with 28 points to send the game to overtime where the Colts would win 38-35. Making matters worse both Mike Alstott and Brian Kelly were lost to season ending injuries. The Bucs would stay afloat as they won 35-13 the following on the road against the Washington Redskins, but every win was followed by a loss as the Bucs continued to play .500 ball. Eventually the absence of their power running game would catch up to the Bucs as they fell below .500 in a 27-24 loss to the Panthers that ended their hopes of winning the NFC South in Week 10. Devastated the Bucs continued to struggle playing sluggish football in a 20-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers the following week at home. A few days later the Bucs frustrations boiled over as Keyshawn Johnson who sulked all season over his usage in the offense was benched for the remainder of the season. Without Keyshawn the Bucs beat the New York Giants on Monday Night Football 19-13 to keep their fading hopes alive. However a week later the Bucs offense was stuck in neutral as they were beaten by the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10. The Bucs would end up splitting their final four games to finish the season in third place with a disappointing 7-9 record.

2004: Changes began to roll through Tampa as Warren Sapp and John Lynch were both allowed to walk away from the team, while Keenan McCardell was trying to force his way off the team by holding out. When the season started the Bucs struggled right away losing their first 4 games as newly acquired Wide Receiver Joey Galloway was lost for eight weeks after an injury in Week 1 while QB Brad Johnson struggled, leading to his benching. In Week 5 the Bucs would turn to 2nd year QB Chris Simms, who would be injured in his first game leading to Brian Griese who would take over and lead the team the rest of the way as they won their first game against the New Orleans Saints 20-17. Over the next eight games the Bucs played better climbing to 5-7 as Griese showed promise leading the offense while rookie Wide Receiver Michael Clayton was having a solid year with 1,193 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. However, with a chance to climb back in the playoff race the Bucs suffered back to back heartbreaking losses that would knock the wind out of their sales as they went on to lose their final four games on the way to sinking to last place with a disappointing 5-11 record.

2005: The Buccaneers got off to a fast start thanks to their top draft pick RB Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, who had a historic first three games as he rushed for 434 yards on 88 carries as the Bucs got off to a 3-0 start. However, in Week 4 Cadillac showed some early wear and tear as he rushed for just 13 yards on 11 carries and left with an injury as the Bucs beat the Detroit Lions 17-13 to improve to 4-0. However, with Cadillac in the shop the following week the Bucs were stunned by the New York Jets 14-12. Williams would be out again the following week as the Buccaneers beat the Miami Dolphins in a Sunshine State Showdown 27-13. However, in the game the Buccaneers would lose Quarterback Brian Griese for the rest of the year to a knee injury. After the bye week with Chris Simms starting the Bucs offense looked lost as they were beaten by the San Francisco 49ers 15-10 despite not allowing a Touchdown. Following a 34-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers dropped them to 5-3 the Buccaneers season appeared to be slipping away as they trailed the Washington Redskins 35-28 late in the 4th Quarter. The game would end up being a coming out party for Chris Simms as he passed for three Touchdowns including a 30 yarder Edell Sheppard with 58 seconds remaining; from there Coach Jon Gruden gambled and had Mike Alstott run in for a two point conversion that gave the Buccaneers a dramatic 36-35 win. Reenergized the Bucs won again the following week against the Atlanta Falcons as Cadillac Williams ran for 116 yards. After splitting their next two games the Buccaneers stunned the Carolina Panthers on the road 20-10 to pull into a first place tie in the NFC South. However, a December trip to face the New England Patriots exposed many holes in the Bucs as they lost 28-0. However the would recover to win their next two games and would capture the Division Title with a record of 11-5 as Cadillac Williams who rushed for 1178 yards and scored six Touchdowns was named Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, in the playoffs the Buccaneers young offense would struggle as Cadillac was limited to 49 yards and Chris Simms committed three turnovers including a interception that set up the Redskins first Touchdown, and a fumble that was returned for the second, as the Buccaneers lost the game to the 17-10, despite limiting the Redskins to just 120 yards total offense.

2006: From the start of the season, injuries played a factor for the Buccaneers, as Rookie of the Year Cadillac Williams played all year with nagging injuries, and failed to reach 1,000 yards rushing. Things were even worse for Quarterback Chris Simms who suffered a ruptured spleen in a heartbreaking 26-24 loss in Week 3 to the Carolina Panthers as time expired to drop the Bucs to 0-3. Simms, who needed emergency surgery, would be lost for the remainder of the season as Bruce Gradkowski took over. Gradkowski played well in his first start, but the Bucs lost another heartbreaker falling to 0-4 with a 24-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Trailing the Cincinnati Bengals 13-7 in the final minute of Week 5, the Buccaneers finally got their first win as Gradkowski found Michael Clayton in the endzone for a thrilling 14-13 win. There were even more thrills the following week as the Buccaneers stunned the Philadelphia Eagles 23-21, as Matt Bryant nailed a 62-yard field goal as time expired. The kick was just one yard short of the NFL record, was shown all over the highlight shows, and gave Buccaneers fans something to cheer about in an otherwise dreadful season. Following those two thrilling wins the injuries continued to mount, as the Buccaneers finished in last place with a dreadful 4-12 record. Following the season there would be changes throughout the roster as Shelton Quarles retired, while Simeon Rice was released. Although Chris Simms was expected to return the Buccaneers made a deal to get Quarterback Jeff Garcia from the Philadelphia Eagles.

2007: With new Quarterback Jeff Garcia the Buccaneers stumbled in their first game, losing on the road to the Seattle Seahawks 20-6. In their home opener Garcia found a grove with Wide Receiver Joey Galloway as they hooked up on two touchdown passes, including one that went for 69 yards as the Bucs beat the New Orleans Saints 31-14. A week later it was the defense that made the difference as the Buccaneers shut down the St. Louis Rams in a 24-3. The defense again excelled a week later as the Buccaneers won on the road for the first time; beating the Carolina Panthers 20-7, despite losing Cadillac Williams for the season with a severe knee injury. Without Cadillac the Buccaneers seemed to be spinning their wheels, as they dropped three of their next four games and found themselves sitting at 4-4. Needing a win the Buccaneers looked to their defense again as they halted their skid by beating the Arizona Cardinals 17-10. The Buccaneers would regain the lead in the NFC South a week later as they beat up the struggling Atlanta Falcons 31-7, as Ernest Graham started to fill the hole left behind when Cadillac Williams was injured. The Bucs win streak would hit three, despite losing QB Jeff Garcia, as the defense led by Ronde Barber continued its strong play creating six turnovers as the Bucs beat the Washington Redskins 19-13. Playing without Garcia, the Buccaneers would win their fourth in a row beating the Saints on the road 27-23, as backup Quarterback led a last minute scoring driver connecting with TE Jerramy Stevens on a four yard Touchdown pass with 14 seconds left. The win had the Buccaneers sitting at 8-4, with the division all but locked up. McNown would be unable to deliver the magic two weeks in a row as the Buccaneers win streak ended with a 28-14 loss on the road to the Houston Texans. A week later the Buccaneers would see the end of a much longer streak, as Michael Spurlock returned a first quarter kickoff 90 yards to give the Bucs a 14-3 lead over the Falcons. It was the first time ever, in the 32-year history of the Buccaneers that they had a kickoff returned for a Touchdown. The kick return and an earlier interception return from Ronde Barber enabled the Buccaneers to keep the pressure of Jeff Garcia’s back, as they won the game easily 37-3 to clinch the division championship. With the NFC South in their pocket, and no chance to earn a bye week the Buccaneers rested many of their top players in the final two weeks of the season as they dropped both to post a season record of 9-7. Against the New York Giants in the Wild Card round the Buccaneers looked solid in the first quarter, grabbing a 7-0 lead on a Touchdwon by Earnest Graham. However, it would be short lived as the Giants dominated the rest of the game scoring the game’s next 24 points, before the Buccaneers scored a late cosmetic touchdown as the Giants began an improbable march to the Super Bowl with a 24-14 win.

2008: Coming off their disappointing playoff exit, the Buccaneers had a full blown Quarterback controversy as Brian Griese was signed to battle Jeff Garcia for the starting job. After Jeff Garcia started and lost the season opener on the road to the New Orleans Saints 24-10, Griese took over and helped led them to a 24-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the home opener. Griese was starting again a week later as the Bucs rallied to beat the Chicago Bears in overtime 27-24. The Bucs would win a third straight game as their defense picked off Aaron Rodgers three times in a 30-21 win over the Green Bay Packers. A week later the Bucs would lose Brian Griese to an elbow injury as the Denver Broncos defnse sank the Bucs offense in a 16-13 win. However, the Buccaneers quickly recovered with Jeff Garcia under center winning three of their next four games before the bye week. After the bye the Buccaneers continued to play strong football, winning three games in a row, as they sat at 9-3 attop the NFC South and appeared to be sailing towards the playoffs. With a chance to lock up the division title the Buccaneers defense all of a sudden was exposed allowing 21 points in the fourth quarter as they slipped out for first place after a 38-24 loss on the road to the Carolina Panthers. The loss would put a hole in the Bucs ship as they followed it up with a 13-10 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Returning home for the final two games things would not get any better as they allowed 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, as they lost their third straight game to the San Diego Chargers 41-24. Despite losing three in a row the Bucs still had a shot at the playoffs heading into the final week of the season against the lowly Oakland Raiders at home. However, the Buccaneers saw a ten point lead evaporate in the final ten minutes, as the Buccaneers lost their fourth straight game 31-24 with the Raiders closing the game with 17 unanswered points. The loss ended the Buccaneers season at 9-7 without the playoffs, and led to wholesale changes as the organization decided to rebuild. The troubles started when Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin announced he would leave the season at the end of the year to join his son’s coaching staff with the University of Tennessee. The Bucs defense which had been one of the top rated units in the NFL played awful football in their season ending four game losing streaks. The losing streak would bring an end to the Jon Gruden era, as the Bucs decided to five the coach that won a Lombardi Trophy after seven seasons. The Bucs also decided to part ways with Derrick Brooks, Jeff Garcia, Ike Hilliard, Joey Galloway, Warrick Dunn, and Brian Griese as they began to rebuild from scratch with new Coach Raheem Morris.

2009: When the season began under Coach Raheem Morris it was clear the Buccaneers were in a rebuild mode, as their roster resembled an expansion team. In the season opener the Bucs played well for most of the game, but lost to the Dallas Cowboys 34-21 at home. The next two weeks the Buccaneers would continue to suffer growing pains losing to the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants. After three weeks the Bucs decided to bench Quarterback Byron Leftwhich in favor of Josh Johnson. The move seemed to spark something in the Buccaneers as they jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead against the Washington Redskins. However, the Redskins would score 16 unanswered points in the 3rd Quarter and would go on to drop Tampa to 0-4 with a 16-13 win. The Bucs struggled would continue as they also lost their next two games, to enter their midseason trip to London with a 0-6 record. In London the Buccaneers would continue to scuffle as they were thumped by the New England Patriots 35-7. At 0-7 the Buccaneers looked to the past and future as they looked for their first win against the Green Bay Packers following a bye week. The future was Quarterback Josh Freeman, who was drafted in the first round with the 17th overall pick. Seen as a raw but talented rookie Freeman was given his first start as the Buccaneers wore their old creamsicle orange throwbacks for the first time to celebrate the 1979 team. Freeman would have a tremendous debut, completing 14 of 31 passes for 205 yards passing and three touchdowns, while throwing just one interception, as the Bucs stunned the Packers 38-28, with Tanard Jackson sealing the win with a 35 yard interception return. A week later against the Miami Dolphins the Bucs nearly pulled off a 4th Quarter comeback as they scored two touchdowns to take a 23-22 lead late in the 4th Quarter. However, the Dolphins would respond and win the game on a 25 yard field goal by Dan Carpenter. Following a 38-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Buccaneers were bitten by more 4th Quarter magic as the Atlanta Falcons dropped them to 1-10 with a 20-17 win thanks to a five yard pass from back up QB Chris Redman to Roddy White in the game’s final seconds. The Bucs would continue to struggle with losses to the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets falling to 1-12. After struggling of the road all season the Buccaneers looking to finish the season strong, played their best game of the season in Week 15 as they beat the Seattle Seahawks on the road 24-7. It was an overall good effort from the entire team, as the Bucs intercepted Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck four times. A week later the Bucs would win on the road again as they beat the eventual Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints 20-17, rallying to tie the game with 14 points in the 4th Quarter highlighted by a 77 yard punt return by Michael Spurlock, as Connor Barth nailed a 47 yard field goal for the win in overtime. The Bucs season would end with a 20-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, as they posted a record of 3-13.

2010: After playing better at the end of 2009, the Buccaneers looked to take a step forward, as they took the field with the youngest roster in the NFL. In Week 1, the Bucs would get off to a strong start as they edged the Cleveland Browns 17-14, as they overcame an early 14-3 deficit. A week later they would get another strong defensive performance as they beat the Carolina Panthers on the road 20-7. Following a 38-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and a bye week, the Buccaneers equaled their 2009 win total, by improving to 3-1 with a 24-21 win. After a back and forth game the Buccaneers battled back to tie the game 21-21 on a Josh Freeman pass to Mike Williams with 1:26 left after a big interception by Aqib Talib gave the Bucs the ball back. The Buccaneers would get another big pick by Sabby Piscitelli who helped set Connor Barth up for a game winning 31 yard Field Goal. After a 31-6 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Bucs again got some 4th Quarter magic from QB Josh Freeman as led a late scoring drive that was finished off by Cadillac Williams one yard touchdown run with ten seconds left, as the Buccaneers overcame a 17-3 deficit to stun the St. Louis Rams 18-17. A week later it was the Buccaneers secondary that saved the day during a 38-35 win over the Arizona Cardinals, as Aqib Talib and Geno Hayes both returned interceptions for touchdowns, while rookie Running Back LeGarrette Blount rushed for 120 yards, while scoring two touchdowns, including the game winner. After a hard fought 27-21 road loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Buccaneers quickly got back on track winning two straight again as they hit Thanksgiving with a solid 7-5 record, coming off a 21-0 win over the San Francisco 49ers, which was their first win in Candlestick Park since 1980. After Thanksgiving, things began to get tough for the Buccaneers, as they lost two straight, including a costly 28-24 loss to the Falcons at home, in which they let a ten point 4th Quarter lead slip away. On a cold rainy day in Washington, the Buccaneers struggles continued as they almost saw another late lead slip away. However, they would hold on for a 17-16 win, as the Redskins botched a game tying PAT with nine seconds left. A week later they would not be as fortunate as the Detroit Lions rallied to win their first road game in three years, 23-20 in overtime, as Dave Rayner hit both the game winning and game tying field goals. At 8-6 the Buccaneers needed to win their final two games and get some extra help to reach the playoffs. The Buccaneers would do their part, beating the Seattle Seahawks 38-15, as Josh Freeman had a five touchdown game, with LeGarrette Blount for 164 yards. They would also beat the Saints a week later 23-13 to finish the season with a record of 10-6. However, they would miss out on the playoffs by tie breaker, as the Green Bay Packers earned the sixth spot due to a better conference record. The Packers would go on to win the Super Bowl. Also adding to the Bucs frustration was the Seahawks winning the NFC West with a record of 7-9. However, there was still plenty to be proud of as Josh Freeman emerged as one of the best young arms in the NFL, by passing for 3,451 yards with 25 Touchdowns against just six interceptions, while undrafted rookie RB LeGarrette Blount, who the Bucs grabbed from the Titans practice squad rushed for 1007 yards in just seven starts.

2011: After posting a 10-6 record and just missing the playoffs, the Buccaneers began the season with high expectations. One loss that haunted them in December was to the Detroit Lions, as the Bucs lost a game in overtime, to a team that coming in had the longest road losing streak in NFL history. This time the Buccaneers fell behind early and they struggled all game to get even. Down 27-20, the Bucs simply ran out of time, as they had gotten the ball past midfield when time expired. A week later in Minnesota, the Bucs fell behind again, trailing the Vikings 17-0 at halftime. The Buccaneers would turn things around after the half, as LeGarrette Blount scored two touchdowns, including a four yard scamper with 35 seconds left that gave Tampa a dramatic 24-20 win. Against the Atlanta Falcons at home, the Buccaneers grabbed the lead from the start, and needed a held on to win the game 16-13 to end a five game losing streak against their NFC South rivals from Atlanta. After leading 16-3, the Buccaneers sealed the win late in the fourth quarter, when QB Josh Freeman got the Falcons to jump on 4th and 1 as they ran out the clock. Falling behind early against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football, the Buccaneers won a back and forth game at home 24-17, thanks to a powerful 35 yard Touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount . At 3-1 the Buccaneers appeared to be in good shape, but their ship would begin to take on water, during an ugly 48-3 road loss to the San Francisco 49ers. They appeared to get things back on track the following week as they beat the New Orleans Saints 26-20, intercepting Drew Brees three times, including a key pickoff by Quincy Black that sealed the win late in the fourth quarter. A week later the Buccaneers would set sail for London to take on the Chicago Bears. At 4-2 they seemed right on track to make the playoffs. In London things would begin to unravel as Josh Freeman had a terrible game, with four interceptions including one late in the game as they attempted to make a comeback in the fourth quarter, losing 24-18. Following the bye week, the Buccaneers returned to the states and watched their season unravel. They would play well in their first game after the break, losing to the Saints 27-16, but from there it would get worse, as Quarterback Josh Freeman became interception prone. The losses would mount as the Buccaneers seemed to quit on their season before November was over. Not only did they lose their final ten games to finish with a 4-12 record, but they lacked effort. LeGarrette Blount, who began the season strong failed to reach 1,000 yards, while Freeman had 22 interceptions. Due to their poor play, the Buccaneers had no choice, but to dismiss Coach Raheem Morris at the end of the season, replacing him with Greg Schiano.

2012: New Coach Greg Schiano, after turning around the Rutgers football program hoped he could find similar success in the NFL. Before coaching his first game, Schiano carried over a feel good story from Rutgers when he signed Eric LeGrand and invited him to camp. LeGrand was paralyzed two years earlier while playing for the Scarlet Knights and for his spirit had become an inspirational figure in college football. The Schiano era would also have a successful start when the season began as the Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers 16-10, with the Bucs defense limiting the Panthers to 10 rushing yards. Among the Buccaneers defensive stars was Ronde Barber who started his 200th consecutive game and had a sack and an interception. The Buccaneers would face the New York Giants in Week 2. The Bucs defense did a good job limit the Giants to 96 rushing yards, butt Eli Manning passed for 510 yards and led the Giants to a 41-34 win. As the game came to a close, Schiano returning to New Jersey did not make any new friends as the Bucs defense continued to hit the Giants when they kneeled on the ball in victory formation in the game’s final seconds. A week later the Buccaneers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on the road against the Dallas Cowboys as Aquib Talib picked off Tony Romo on the fourth play of the game and returned the ball to the one yard line. However, the Bucs offense sputtered, managing just 96 yards as the Cowboys won the game 16-10. The Buccaneers would suffer a third straight loss in the NFC East, when the Washington Redskins got a late Field Goal from Billy Cundiff to win the game 22-21. The Bucs would get a bye and came out strong the following week, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 38-10. The Bucs were led a strong defensive effort as Ronde Barber scored on a 78 yard interception return. The news was not all good as Aquib Talib was suspended four games for testing positive for using Adderall. Before he was set to return, the Buccaneers would deal Talib to the New England Patriots. The Bucs could have used Talib against the New Orleans Saints whom, they faced in a Week 7 showdown. Josh Freeman had a career high 420 yards, but it was not enough as the New Orleans Saints won the game 35-28. The Bucs had appeared to tie the game on the final play of regulation, but Mike Williams who caught the ball in the back of the endzone had stepped out of bounds before catching the ball. The Buccaneers would get another strong game from Freedman the following week as he passed for 262 yards with three touchdowns as the Bucs stunned the Minnesota Vikings 36-17, ending a nine game road losing streak. A week later the Bucs would win a second straight away from Tampa Bay as they beat the Oakland Raiders 42-32. Leading the way was Rookie Running Back Doug Martin who had a breakout game with 251 yards and four touchdowns. Martin’s day was highlighted by three long TD runs of over 45 yards. The Buccaneers would get their most dramatic win of the season a week later as they rallied from down 21-10 in the final minutes to beat the Panthers in overtime 27-21. The Bucs had tied the game with 12 seconds left on a 24 yard TD pass from Josh Freeman to Vincent Jackson, with the two also connecting on the successful two point attempt. In overtime the Bucs got the kickoff and drove the length of the field with Freeman hitting Tight End Dallas Clark on a 15 yard pass to win the game. Returning home at 6-4, the Buccaneers gave the Atlanta Falcons all they could handle but came up short as the Falcons got a late score from Michael Turner to secure a 28-27 win. It would be the first of five straight losses for Tampa. The most frustrating loss would come against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14 as the Eagles scored twice in the final four minutes including on the game’s last play to win the game 23-21 to spoil a tenth anniversary reunion of the 2002 Super Bowl Champions. The Buccaneers would win the final game of the season against the Falcons 22-17 to finish the season with a mark of 7-9. Doug Martin would be the biggest bright spot of the season, as he finished the season with 1,454 yards and 11 Touchdowns. The season would also mark the end of Ronde Barber’s career as the final member of the championship team sailed in the sunset following the season. Barber’s 16 year career in Tampa was certainly Hall of Fame worthy as he set a record with 215 consecutive starts and had 28 career sacks the most ever by a corner. He also had 47 interceptions, 13 forced fumbles and 12 touchdowns as he made the Pro Bowl five times.

2013: As the season began there were rough waters for Greg Schiano’s second season in Tampa, as players began feuding with the coach. The Buccaneers attempted to make improvements by acquiring All-Pro Cornerback Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets in exchange for a first round draft pick in 2013 and a fourth round pick in 2014. One player who Schiano was having a feud with was QB Josh Freeman, who despite his physical abilities was getting the reputation of someone who did not study or practice hard. Players were also concerned about an outbreak of MRSA at the team’s training facility after three players came down with a Staph infection. The Buccaneers would begin the season in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets; a win was within reach as they led 17-15 in the final seconds. However, Lavonte David who earlier in the game had a key interception hit Quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds allowing the Jets to set up for the winning Field Goal 18-17. A week later in the Buccaneers home opener, they would suffer more late game heartbreak after Mason Foster returned a interception 85 yards to give them a 14-13 lead. The Bucs had a shot to extend the lead, but Rian Lindell missed a 29 yard Field Goal with 1:10 left, but the Saints would win the game 16-13 as Garrett Hartley won the game with a 27 yard Field Goal as time expired. Following a 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxboro, the Buccaneers would bench Josh Freeman, who shortly thereafter was released. Rookie Mike Glennon would get the start in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals and started well connecting with Mike Williams on an eight yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to build a 10-0 lead. However, the Cardinals would score 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win the game 13-10 and drop the Buccaneers to 0-4. Frustrated fans began calling for Greg Schiano to be fired as they continued to struggle after the bye week losing three straight games before making a trip to Seattle. Listed as a two touchdown underdog, the Buccaneers got off to a great start, taking a 21-0 lead in the second quarter as Mike Glennon has two touchdown passes, with Mike James adding another on a halfback toss to Tom Crabtree. However, the Buccaneers would suffer another second half collapse as the Seahawks rallied to win the game in overtime 27-24 to drop to 0-8. The Buccaneers would finally get their first win on Monday Night Football against the Miami Dolphins, 22-19 with Bobby Rainey scoring the game winner on a one yard run. However, it was the Bucs defense that had the big game, holding the Dolphins to two yards total rushing, while Darrelle Revis sealed the win with an interception. The following week Rainey would rush 163 yards with two scores, while Vincent Jackson caught 10 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown to lead Tampa Bay to a 41-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Buccaneers defense would get them a third straight win in Detroit as they intercepted Matt Stafford four times in a 24-21 win over the Lions. Following a 27-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Buccaneers continued a late season surge by beating the Buffalo Bills 27-6. It would be the final win of the season for the Buccaneers, who dropped their final three games to finish with a record of 4-12. Following the season Coach Greg Schiano and General Manager Mark Dominik were fired. The Buccaneers would also release Revis despite making the Pro-Bowl as new Bucs management planed to move in a different direction and did not want to be burdened by a big contract for a cornerback. In the end there were no bright spots for the Buccaneers as players who they had hoped to build around like RB Doug Martin all had poor seasons.

2014: Following a dreadful 4-12 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began all over again with Lovie Smith taking over the coaching reigns. Smith had some success with the Chicago Bears, leading them to Super Bowl XLI. The Buccaneerswith Josh McCown under center and struggled in the season opener, trailing the Carolina Panthers 17-0 in the fourth quarter. The Bucs would rally and get within a Field Goal, as McCown shook off early struggles and had two touchdown passes. The Buccaneers had a chance to tie or win the game, with the ball with under two minutes left, but a fumble by Bobby Rainey ended any hope of a comeback as the Panthers won in Tampa 20-14. A week later there would be more frustration at home as the Buccaneers lost to the St. Louis Rams 19-17. The Rams had taken the lead on a 38 yard Field Goal by Greg Zuerlein with 42 seconds left. Josh McCown was able to get the Bucs down the field and to the Rams 32 yard line, but they never had a chance to kick the Field Goal as Mike Evans was injured and due to Tampa having no timeouts the game ended with a ten second run off. The game would not be as close when the Buccaneers ventured on the road for the first time as they were humiliated on Thursday Night Football, losing to the Atlanta Falcons 56-14, trailing at one point 56-0. In the first half the Buccaneers had three turnovers and made just two first downs. With Josh McCown down, Mike Glennon started at quarterback as the Buccaneers went into Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Glennon had perhaps the finest game of his career completing 21 of 42 passes for 302 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception, leading the Bucs to a 27-24 victory over the Steelers, their first win of the season. The winning score saw Tampa drive down the field with no timeouts helped out by a 41 yard pass play to Louis Murphy setting up Glennon at the five where he found Vincent Jackson in the corner of the end zone with seven seconds left. The Buccaneers carried the momentum into New Orleans, jumping out 24-13 lead over the Saints in the Superdome on a 33 yard pick six by Danny Lansanah. However, the Saints would rally and win the game in overtime 37-31 taking the opening possession and scoring on 18 yard run by Khiry Robinson. Returning home the Buccaneers would come out flat, as the Baltimore Ravens scored four times in the first quarter on the way to an easy 48-17 victory. Trailing the Minnesota Vikings 10-0 at the start of the fourth quarter in Week 8, the Buccaneers rallied to take the lead on a catch by Austin Seferian-Jenkins with 2:02 left in regulation. However, the Vikings would tie the game on a Blair Walsh Field Goal as time expired. In overtime it would be Seferian-Jackson going from hero to goat as his fumble on the first snap of overtime led to a scoop and score by Anthony Barr that gave Minnesota a 19-13 win. With Mike Evans collection two touchdown receptions the Buccaneers earned their second win of the season against the Cleveland Browns. Evans was one of the only bright sports in an otherwise bleak season, finishing his rookie season with 68 receptions for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 22-19 win in Week 9 would be the final victory of the season as Tampa again was one the way to one of the worst records in the NFL. Often Tampa was their own worst enemy, such as a 14-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, where a 12 men on the field penalty took them out of Field Goal range with a chance to win the game. The Bucs would end up earning the first overall pick in the draft with a record of 2-14, going winless at home for the first time since their first season in 1976.

2015: After a disastrous 2-14 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted a local legend Jameis Winston, who won the Hesiman Trophy as Redshirt Freshman, while leading Florida State to a National Championship in 2013. His sophomore season was nearly as good as the Seminoles went 13-0 before losing in the National Semifinal to Oregon. Winston would get a shot at redemption right away as the Buccaneers hosted the Tennessee Titans, who with the number two pick, selected Marcus Mariota the 2014 Heisman winner who led Oregon in that win over Florida State. With two highly touted rookies meeting in Week 1 it was Mariota who looked to be more prepared to be a NFL star as the Titans crushed the Bucs 42-14, as Jameis Winston’s first NFL pass resulted in a pick six by Kendall Wright. Winston was much better in his second start as he had a touchdown run and a touchdown pass to lead Tampa to a 26-19 win at the Superdome. Jameis Winston had another solid performance in Week 3, passing for 261 yards with a touchdown, but the Buccaneers came up short losing 19-9 to the Houston Texans. The loss could be mostly blamed on kicker Kyle Brindza who was able to hit a 58-yard Field Goal in the second quarter, but missed three other Field Goal attempts and extra point. Returning home the Jameis Winston continued to have some growing pains as he was picked off four times in a 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Also struggling was Kyle Brindza who missed two more Field Goals and another PAT, leading to his release the following day. A week later the Buccaneers would end an 11-game losing streak at Raymond James Stadium by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-31 as Doug Martin led the way with 135 All-Purpose Yards with two touchdowns. Connor Barth who had a four year stint in Tampa returned and was perfect, hitting all three Field Goal and PAT attempts. A week later Mike Evans had a big game, with 164 yards on eight catches, highlighted by a 40-yard score in the first quarter as the Buccaneers built a 24-0 lead. However, Kirk Cousins had three second half touchdowns as the Washington Redskins rallied to win the game 31-30. A week later, the Buccaneers nearly blew a 20-3 lead as the Atlanta Falcons scored ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Tampa won the overtime coin toss, and scored and got a 31-yard Connor Barth Field Goal, as their defense stopped the Falcons on downs to win the game 23-20. Following a 32-18 loss to the New York Giants, Jameis Winston showed some fourth quarter magic for the first time as he scored, the game’s lone touchdown on a bootleg to lead Tampa to a 10-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys at the Pirate Ship. A week later Winston would have his best game of the season, passing for 245 yards with five touchdowns as Doug Martin ran for 235 yards in a 45-17 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles which brought Tampa back to the surface at 5-5. Following a 25-12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Jameis Winston again showed some late magic, hooking up with Mike Evans on a six yard score with 1:39 left to beat the Falcons 23-19 as Lavonte David secured the win with an interception. It marked the first time in eight years that the Buccaneers swept Atlanta. Unfortunately that would be the Buccaneers final win of the season, as they dropped their final four games and finished with a record of 6-10. Despite making strides Coach Lovie Smith would be fired at the end of the season. Jameis Winston would finish his rookie season with 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns showing Tampa fans a promising future.

2016: Under new Coach Dirk Koetter the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began the season on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. With Jameis Winston passing for 281 yards with four touchdowns the Bucs stunned the Falcons 31-24. However, Tampa stumbled in their next three games, suffering an ugly 40-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, before losing a shootout to the Los Angeles Rams in the home opener 37-23, spoiling a 405-yard game from Winston. The third loss would also come at home as they were beaten by the Denver Broncos 27-7, in a game interrupted by a 90-minute lightning delay. The Buccaneers would end their losing streak in a Monday Night game to close out Week 5, as they beat the Carolina Panthers who were playing without Cam Newton 17-14 on a 38-yard field goal by Roberto Aguayo in the final seconds. After the bye week the Buccaneers came out flat, and trailed the San Francisco 49ers 14-0 after the first quarter. Tampa would turn things around in the second quarter, scoring 17-unasnwered points to take the lead at halftime. The Buccaneers would go on to win the game 34-17 to get back to .500. The Buccaneers returned home but continued to struggle at Raymond James Stadium, suffering an overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders 30-24. Four days later they lost another game at the Pirate Ship as Jameis Winston’s 261-yard, three touchdown performance was not enough to beat the Falcons, who won a high scoring affair 43-28. The Buccaneers final won a home game in Week 10, as they beat the Chicago Bears 36-10 as Chris Conte set the tone early returning an interception 20 yards early in the first quarter. A week later, the Buccaneers earned a second straight win, stunning the Kansas City Chiefs 19-17 at Arrowhead Stadium, as Winston was sharp on the road passing for 331 yards with a touchdown. Returning home, the Buccaneers delivered their best defensive performance of the season, as they stunned the Seattle Seahawks 14-5 as Russell Wilson was limited to 151 yards and picked off twice. With the win the Buccaneers climbed over .500 at 6-5. The Buccaneers would continue their pursuit of the playoffs with a 28-21 road win over the San Diego Chargers, as Lavonte David’s pick six in the third quarter provided the boost as the Buccaneers outscored the Chargers 21-7 in the second half. Defense would help Tampa get a fifth straight win, as they picked off Drew Brees three times in a 16-11 win that improved their record to 8-5. The Buccaneers five-game winning streak caught notice of television executives, as they Week 15 game against the Dallas Cowboys was flexed into primetime. After struggling in the first half, Tampa got a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter from Jameis Winston to take a 20-17 lead. However, the Cowboys with three field goals from Dan Bailey in the fourth quarter won the game 26-20 to end the Buccaneers streak. A week later the Buccaneers suffered a second straight loss, falling to the Saints in the Superdome 31-24. The loss all but ended Tampa’s playoff hopes as they went into the final week needing a win and a lot of help to get in. The Buccaneers would do their part, holding off the Panthers 17-16 at home, as they decided to go for two and failed after scoring a potential game tying touchdown with 17 seconds left. The Buccaneers did not get the needed help and fell just short of the postseason with a record of 9-7 for their first winning season since 2010.

2017: Coming off a 9-7 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had high hopes as they added a star receiver in DeSean Jackson. After staring on HBO’s Hard Knocks, the Buccaneers season had a false start, as their road game against the Miami Dolphins was postponed due to Hurricane Irma. This would mean Tampa, would play their 16-game season without a break beginning with a matchup against the Chicago Bears in Week 2. The Bears had a familiar face at quarterback with Mike Glennon getting the start and producing familiar results with two interceptions and fumble, including a pick-six by Robert McClain. Jameis Winston meanwhile was workmanlike, passing for 204 yards with one touchdown as Tampa beat the Bears 29-7. The Bucs first road game would not go as well, as Winston was picked off three times in a 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Jameis Winston was much better in Week 4, passing for 332 yards with three touchdowns, against the New York Giants. The game would come down to the right foot of Nick Folk, who early missed two field goals and an extra point. This time he would come through, hitting a 34-yard field goal as time expired to win the game 25-23. Four days later Folk continued to struggle missing three more field goal attempts, which would be the difference as the Buccaneers lost a heartbreaker against the New England Patriots 19-14 at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers did get a boost from the return of Doug Martin, who had 74 yards on 13 carries, with a touchdown. Following the game, Tampa placed Nick Folk on injured reserve. In Week 6 in the desert, the Buccaneers got off to a poor start as the Arizona Cardinals led 24-0 at the half as Jameis Winston was knocked from the game with a shoulder injury. Still down 31-6 as the fourth quarter began, the Buccaneers staged a furious comeback led by Ryan Fitzpatrick that fell just short as they lost 38-33 after not being able to recover an on-side kick late in the game. Jameis Winston returned in Week 7, as the Buccaneers faced the Buffalo Bills on the road in a back and forth battle. Winston was solid again passing for 384 yards with three touchdowns. However, as the Bills tied the game late, the Buccaneers got a costly turnover from Adam Humphries who fumbled on the Tampa 32, setting up Buffalo to record a 30-27 victory. The Buccaneers continued to sink in Week 8, as they suffered a 17-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers at home, as Winston was picked off twice in a lackluster effort. James Winston tried to fire up the Buccaneers at the Superdome, by telling his teammates to eat a win; they were just as confused as everyone else as the Buccaneers struggles continued in a 30-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Despite his injury, Winston came back on the field and got involved in an altercation with Marshon Lattimore but was not ejected. Ryan Fitzpatrick got the start in Week 10, helping the Buccaneers beat his former teammates on the New York Jets 15-10 to end Tampa’s five-game losing streak. Fitzpatrick remained the starter, passing for 270 yards with two touchdowns in Week 11, as the Buccaneers beat the Dolphins 30-20 in the game that had been moved from the opening weekend. With two straight wins, the Buccaneers looked to continue their winning ways with Ryan Fitzpatrick on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. However, the Buccaneers found themselves in a big hole early and could not climb out and dropped to 4-7 with a 34-20 loss. Coming home for Week 13, the Buccaneers got Jameis Winston back in the lineup. Winston played well passing for 270 yards with two touchdowns. It was not enough as Tampa’s playoff hopes died in a 26-20 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers, as they never got a chance to get the ball with Aaron Jones ending the game with a 20-yard touchdown run. After struggling all day in Week 14, Tampa got two touchdowns in the fourth quarter from Jameis Winston to rally against the Detroit Lions and even the score 17-17, but the Lions answered and won 20-17 on a Matt Prater 46-yard field goal with 20 seconds left. Hosting the Falcons on Monday Night Football, the Buccaneers honored Jon Gruden at halftime. Once again, they played from behind and had a comeback fall short as Winston finished with 299 yards and threw three touchdown passes, but it was not enough as Atlanta won 27-24. A week later, the Buccaneers would suffer their second five-game losing streak of the season as Cam Newton scored with 35 seconds left to lift the Panthers to a 22-19 win in Charlotte. The Buccaneers would close the season with a 31-24 win over the Saints at home, with New Orleans resting most of their starters for the postseason. At 5-11, the season was a major disappointment for Tampa, as seven losses came by a touchdown or less, while they won just one game on the road. Doug Martin continued to struggle with his personal life and was released after finishing the season with 406 yards on 138 carries. While, Jameis Winston battling injuries regressed in his third season, passing for 3,504 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Winston too had his troubles off the field and was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season after disturbing allegations involving a female Uber driver came to light.

©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the National Football League. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on August 3, 2002. Last updated on September 26, 2018 at 11:25 pm ET.