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Bucs in the playoffs through the years

By Bruce Lowitt, Roger Mills, Mike Stephenson
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2003

1979 season

Bucs 24, Eagles 17

What: NFC Divisional Game.
When: Dec. 29, 1979.
Where: Tampa Stadium.
Key moment: After the Eagles cut Tampa Bay's lead to 17-10, quarterback Doug Williams hit tight end Jimmie Giles for a 9-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Recap: The Bucs used an 18-play, 80-yard opening drive that took more than nine minutes to give Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead on a 4-yard run by Ricky Bell, who carried nine times for 37 yards in the march. ... The Bucs held the Eagles to 48 yards rushing. ... On fourth and goal at the Eagles 1-yard line in the second quarter, Bell followed left tackle Darryl Carlton's block to give Tampa Bay a 17-0 lead.
By the numbers
2 - Sacks by Bucs DE Lee Roy Selmon.
38 - Carries by RB Ricky Bell.
142 - Yards gained by Bell.
186 - Rushing yards by Bucs

Rams 9, Bucs 0

What: NFC Championship Game.
When: Jan. 6, 1980.
Where: Tampa Stadium.
Key moment: Tight end Jimmie Giles caught what appeared to be a 31-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Mike Rae in the fourth quarter that would have narrowed the Rams' lead to 9-6. But a false-start penalty by rookie offensive lineman Greg Roberts negated the play.
Recap: It was the first NFC Championship Game in which neither team scored a touchdown. The Bucs were held to 177 yards of offense and allowed the Rams to rush for 216 yards on 53 carries. Frank Corral gave the Rams a 3-0 second-quarter lead with the first of his three field goals, a 19-yarder after Bucs defensive end Wally Chambers stopped running back Wendell Tyler on third and goal from the Bucs 1. Rams defensive end Jack Youngblood, the former Florida standout, earned a spot in NFL lore by playing the entire game with a fractured leg.
By the numbers
3 - Field goals by the Rams' Frank Corral.
7 - First downs for Bucs.
8 - Punts by Bucs for an average of 37.1 yards.
85 - Yards passing for Bucs.

1981 season

Cowboys 38, Bucs 0

What: NFC Divisional Game.
When: Jan. 2, 1982.
Where: Texas Stadium, Irving.
Key moment: RB Tony Dorsett had runs of 25 and 26 yards as part of an 80-yard drive to open the third quarter. Dallas scored on 5-yard run by Ron Springs to take a 17-0 lead.
Recap: Bucs quarterback Doug Williams was sacked four times, hurried repeatedly and threw four interceptions, two by cornerback Dennis Thurman. Not surprisingly, Tampa Bay could barely get into Dallas territory. After a scoreless first quarter, Cowboys quarterback Danny White engineered a 53-yard touchdown drive capped by a 9-yard pass to wide receiver Tony Hill. A 21-yard field goal by Rafael Septien made it 10-0 at the half, then the Cowboys scored 21 points in the third quarter to put the game away. The closest the Bucs came to a score started with a first and goal at the Dallas 5. Four plays later, on fourth down from the 9, Williams, under pressure, threw incomplete to Giles in the end zone.
By the numbers
4 - Sacks given up by Bucs.
8 - Consecutive playoff quarters the Bucs were held scoreless.
10 - Penalties given up for 105 yards.
212 - Rushing yards by Cowboys.

1982 season

Cowboys 30, Bucs 17

What: NFC first-round game.
When: Jan. 9, 1983.
Where: Texas Stadium, Irving.
Key moment: Leading 17-16 in the fourth quarter, Bucs quarterback Doug Williams' pass to wide receiver Kevin House was picked off by safety Monty Hunter, who returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. The Bucs didn't score after that.
Recap: Thanks to five sacks, three takeaways and two long scoring plays, the Bucs seemed in command until the bottom fell out in the fourth quarter. Trailing 6-0, the Bucs scored 10 unanswered points on a 60-yard fumble return for a touchdown by linebacker Hugh Green and a 32-yard field goal by Bill Capece. But the Cowboys replied with a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Danny White, who passed for 312 yards, threw 6 yards to running back Ron Springs for a touchdown. After Hunter's interception, the Cowboys sealed the victory with an 81-yard drive, White passing 10 yards for a touchdown to running back Timmy Newsome.
By the numbers
5 - Sacks by Bucs.
40 - Minutes the Cowboys had the ball.
92 - Offensive plays run by Cowboys.
179 - Rushing yards by Cowboys.

1997 season

[Times photo: 1997]
The Bucs broke open this wild-card game against the Lions on Mike Alstott’s third-quarter touchdown run.

Bucs 20, Lions 10

What: NFC Wild-Card Game.
When: Dec. 28, 1997.
Where: Houlihan's Stadium, Tampa.
Key moment: Already leading 13-0 in the third quarter, the Bucs put the game away in a fashion befitting their style as running back Mike Alstott bulldozed 31 yards for a touchdown that gave the Bucs a 20-0 cushion.
Recap: The Bucs, hosting their first home playoff game since the '79 season, made it memorable by running out to a big lead and holding off the Lions with a dramatic fourth-quarter play. After Detroit cut the lead to 20-10, the ensuing kickoff left the Bucs at their 5-yard line. Two plays later, on third and 5, quarterback Trent Dilfer and wide receiver Robb Thomas connected on a crossing pattern for 52 yards to end Detroit's comeback hopes.
By the numbers
65 - Yards rushing for the Lions' Barry Sanders.
141 - Rushing yards for Bucs.
175 - Passing yards for Trent Dilfer.
73,361 - Fans in attendance.

Packers 21, Bucs 7

What: NFC Divisional Game
When: Jan. 4, 1998.
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay.
Key moment: With Tampa Bay trailing 13-7, the Packers faced a third and 18. But quarterback Brett Favre passed 22 yards to wide receiver Derrick Mayes, who caught the ball between the thigh and the calf of his leg for the first down. The Packers scored on a 2-yard run by Dorsey Levens.
Recap: After Packers defensive tackle Bob Kuberski blocked Michael Husted's 43-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, Green Bay marched 67 yards in seven plays with Favre passing 3 yards to tight end Mark Chmura for a touchdown. The Bucs also failed to convert on a fake punt as tight end John Davis was stopped for no gain on a shovel pass from holder Steve Walsh, and a bad snap on another field-goal attempt eliminated another Bucs scoring chance. They trailed 13-0 at halftime. Bucs cornerback Donnie Abraham intercepted Favre on the Bucs 4 and Tampa Bay went on its longest drive in its playoff history, 96 yards. Fifty-two came on wide receiver Reidel Anthony's catch and run, and Mike Alstott ran in from the 6 for the Bucs' only score.
By the numbers
2 - Interceptions by Bucs CB Donnie Abraham.
3 - Sacks for Bucs DT Warren Sapp.
171 - Passing yards by Favre.
173 - Passing yards by Trent Dilfer.

1999 season

Bucs 14, Redskins 13

What: NFC Divisional Game.
When: Jan. 15, 2000.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa.
Key moment: With the Bucs trailing 13-0, safety John Lynch intercepted Brad Johnson's pass late in the third quarter and challenged the offense to respond.
Recap: The Bucs rallied from 13 points down and stopped the league's second-ranked offense. Following Lynch's interception, the Bucs reached Washington's 2-yard line and running back Mike Alstott bulled in for a touchdown. Two series later, Bucs defensive tackle Steve White forced a Johnson fumble at the 32. The Bucs moved to the 1 and Shaun King flipped a scoring pass under heavy pressure to tight end John Davis. With the Bucs leading and 1:17 remaining, center Dan Turk's bad snap on a 52-yard field goal attempt killed the Redskins' comeback.
By the numbers
0 - Offensive touchdowns by Washington.
2 - Rank of Redskins offense entering the game.
23 - Seasons since a rookie quarterback had won a playoff game before the Bucs' Shaun King.
100 - Record-setting return yardage by the Redskins' Brian Mitchell with the opening kickoff of the second half.
157 - Total yards of offense by the Redskins.

Rams 11, Bucs 6

What: NFC Championship Game.
When: Jan. 23, 2000.
Where: Trans World Dome, St. Louis.
Key moment: Trailing 6-5, Rams quarterback Kurt Warner hit wide receiver Ricky Proehl with a 30-yard pass to put St. Louis ahead with 4:44 remaining.
Recap: Bucs defensive end Steve White intercepted Warner on the game's first play to set up a 25-yard field goal by Martin Gramatica. The Rams tied it with a field goal and took a 5-3 lead when Shaun King knocked the ball out of the end zone for a safety following a bad snap from center Tony Mayberry. Gramatica's 23-yard field goal in the third quarter gave the Bucs a 1-point lead. But with about eight minutes remaining, Rams cornerback Dre Bly intercepted King to set up the winning drive. The Bucs tried to answer, but Bert Emanuel's apparent 13-yard reception to the Rams 22 with 47 seconds left was reversed by replay officials, stalling the drive.
By the numbers
3 - Interceptions thrown by Warner.
5 - Times Bucs QB Shaun King was sacked by the Rams.
141/2 - Points by which the Rams were favored.
309 - Total yards offense by Rams
400.8 - Yards of average total offense per game by Rams.

2000 season

Eagles 21, Bucs 3

What: NFC Wild-Card Game.
When: Dec. 31, 2000.
Where: Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia.
Key moment: Actually, it occurred a week earlier at Lambeau Field in Green Bay when Martin Gramatica was narrowly wide right on a 40-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that would have beaten the Packers. Instead, the Bucs loss in overtime (yes, it was below 40 degrees) cost them the NFC Central championship, a bye week, homefield advantage in a divisional playoff, and momentum.
Recap: Quarterback Donovan McNabb threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score while Tampa Bay's ground game vanished as the Eagles handed the Bucs their biggest margin of defeat all season. Philadelphia scored its first two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half. Shaun King, sacked by defensive end Hugh Douglas, fumbled. Mike Mamula recovered at the Tampa Bay 15 and McNabb scored on a 5-yard draw play. On their next possession, the Eagles marched 69 yards on eight plays, McNabb throwing a 5-yard pass to Na Brown 17 seconds before halftime. The Bucs' best scoring chance came in the second quarter when they faced third and 7 at the Philadelphia 14. King had completed four passes on the drive, but offensive coordinator Les Steckel called a Warrick Dunn draw play. He got 3 yards and the Bucs settled for Gramatica's 29-yard field goal.
By the numbers
1 - Yard rushing by Dunn on 8 carries.
3 - Conversions by the Bucs on 13 third downs.
4 - Sacks of King.
34 - Degrees (a wind chill of 11) at kickoff. The Bucs' below-40 record dropped to 0-20.
50 - Yards rushing by the Bucs, 76 fewer than the Eagles.

2001 season

Eagles 31, Bucs 9

What: NFC Wild-Card Game.
When: Dec. Jan. 12, 2002.
Where: Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia.
Key moment: After Keyshawn Johnson made a leaping catch and ran for a 46-yard gain to the Eagles 12 with 11 seconds remaining in the first half, coach Tony Dungy took him out. On the next play, with a chance to get within 17-13 with a touchdown, Brad Johnson dumped the ball to Mike Alstott for 3 yards, leading to the third - and last - Martin Gramatica field goal.
Recap: One week after the Bucs ended a 9-7 season by giving up two late touchdowns in a 17-13 loss to the Eagles in Tampa, they met again, and again Tampa Bay failed to score a touchdown. In three trips inside the Philadelphia 20-yard line, quarterback Brad Johnson never threw a pass into the end zone. In five chances, the Bucs ended up with three field goals and two interceptions. Tampa Bay could not contain Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who passed for 194 yards and two touchdowns and ran four times for 57 yards. The Bucs yielded 148 yards on the ground, including a 25-yard touchdown that put the game away in the fourth quarter. Brad Johnson was intercepted four times, twice by safety Damon Moore, who returned the second one 59 yards for a touchdown. It was Dungy's final game as Bucs coach. Two days later, he was fired. He was hired by the Colts while the Bucs began their incredible coach hunt that began (even before Dungy's dismissal) with Bill Parcells and ended with Jon Gruden.
By the numbers
0 - Bucs wins in 6 road playoff games.
42 - Points scored (vs. 152 allowed) in those six games.
59 - Yards returned on safety Damon Moore's interception for the game's final touchdown.
63 - Rushing yards vs. the Eagles.
148 - Rushing yards by the Eagles.

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