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Best and worst: Game 3


© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000

BEST -- TAMPA BAY 16, MINNESOTA 10, SEPT. 17, 1978: Entering the contest, the Bucs were three games removed from the first win in franchise history. The Vikings were two games removed from the NFC championship. But the Bucs had Lee Roy Selmon and the Vikings did not. Selmon chased Fran Tarkenton and Tommy Kramer all game, finishing with three sacks, 13 hurries and nine tackles. Tackle Steve Riley, assigned to block the future Hall of Famer, cried. Rookie quarterback Doug Williams threw for a touchdown in his first win as a starter. But the first NFC Central win in franchise history was not without a Bucs blooper. Tampa Bay led 16-7 with about 5 minutes left and lined up for a game-clinching field goal, but Charlie Hannah snapped the ball 10 feet over holder Dave Green's head. The ball was bouncing around near midfield when kicker Neil O'Donoghue tried to boot it out of bounds, prompting coach John McKay to call him "the Irish wonder." He whiffed and Fred McNeill picked up the ball and headed for a Vikings touchdown. He was tackled at the 10 by O'Donoghue. Tampa Bay lost 80 yards on the play, but the defense held Minnesota to a field goal.

WORST -- TAMPA BAY 21, DETROIT 17, SEPT. 16, 1984: Steve DeBerg rallied the Bucs from a 14-0 deficit to their first win of the season. He even threw a fourth-quarter touchdown to tight end Jimmie Giles. But it wasn't the outcome that makes this the worst Game 3 in club history. DeBerg got the job done when it became clear Jack Thompson could not, thus ending the Bucs career of the Throwin' Samoan and another chapter in Tampa Bay's book of terrible trades of first-round picks. In 1983, the Bucs traded their 1984 No. 1 pick to the Bengals for a quarterback with 14 career TDs and 19 interceptions. With Tampa Bay, Thompson threw 20 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. That pick, traded to New England, became Irving Fryar, who has 814 receptions and counting. Linebackers Carl Banks and Wilber Marshall and quarterback Boomer Esiason were among the players available besides Fryar. Thompson, who never threw another pass in an NFL game, joins Wally Chambers, Booker Reese and Chris Chandler as players who gave the Bucs little after being acquired for a No. 1 pick.

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