The Kansas City Chiefs came into Raymond James Stadium on Sunday with a league-worst negative-15 turnover ratio, on a record pace for giveaways. On the other sideline was cornerback
Barber’s 77-yard return of a deflected-ball interception in the third quarter propelled the Buccaneers to a 38-10 victory over the Chiefs that snapped a three-game losing streak. Coming out of their bye week with their most dominating performance in years, the Buccaneers improved to 2-3 while Kansas City fell to 1-5.
Barber’s score was the 14th of his remarkable career in regular season play (he has a 15th in postseason play). Amazingly, even if one includes kick returners, that is the fourth-highest total of return touchdowns in league history. The only three players higher on the list are Deion Sanders (19), Devin Hester (18) and Rod Woodson (17).
Barber’s big play came just minutes after the Buccaneers opened the second half with perhaps their most impressive drive of the year, an 80-yard march that ended in
All the big plays led to one of the most impressive offensive outputs in franchise history. The Bucs total of 463 yards was the ninth best in the team’s 37 seasons, and it included both 145 yards on the ground (6.1 per carry) and 318 through the air. Freeman completed 15 of 25 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Williams once and Jackson twice. Williams needed only four catches to rack up 113 yards while Jackson got 66 yards on four grabs. Meanwhile, the Bucs’ rushing tandem of Martin and
The turnover battle actually ended up as a wash, thanks to a bizarre play that led to Kansas City’s only touchdown. A fourth-quarter punt attempt by
The Bucs’ defense was strong, allowing just three points and 260 yards. The NFL’s second-ranked rushing attack, led by league leading rusher Jamaal Charles, got just 80 yards and 2.7 per carry, with Charles limited to 40 yards on 12 totes. Brady Quinn, starting his first game since 2009 in place of Matt Cassel, completed 22 of 38 passes for just 180 yards and was picked off twice, both on deflected balls. Rookie S
The game started well for the Buccaneers, who kicked off to open it and then completely shut down the Chiefs’ first drive. DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim immediately foiled two screen passes and CB
Unfortunately, the Bucs couldn’t take advantage of that field position despite some good early signs. A six-yard through underneath to WR Tiquan Underwood converted a third-and-three, but two plays later Houston cut in front of TE
The turnover allowed Kansas City to strike first. A sharp pass over the middle to WR Dexter McCluster by Quinn converted a third-and-eight and put the ball across midfield and a 10-yard catch by WR Jon Baldwin took it to the Bucs’ 17. Two plays later, however, LB
That ended Kansas City’s scoring threat but didn’t set up any points for the Buccaneers. Both teams punted on their next possessions, but a great stop on return man Javier Arenas by WR
Quinn and the Chiefs answered with an impressive drive that resulted in three points. It wasn’t Charles but rookie RB Nate Eachus out of Colgate who did most of the damage, with a 19-yard catch and four carries for 14 yards. However, DT
On the next drive, Freeman and Williams hooked up again on a deep ball down the sideline, this time for 36 yards to get the offense out of a hole near its own goal line. Another shot at a similar play drew a defensive holding penalty and made it first down at the Bucs’ 46. A sneaky draw play to RB
That in turn led to outstanding field position for Kansas City, but the Bucs’ defense held again and the first half ended without any more points.
The second half, however, opened with some immediate fireworks by the Buccaneers’ offense. Freeman took just four plays to drive the Bucs 80 yards, beginning with a sharp 15-yarder over the middle to Jackson, his first catch of the game. Martin then turned a short out into a 42-yard gain by faking out Houston, and on the next play Freeman and Jackson hooked up again for the 19-yard score.
The Bucs took a 14-3 lead on Jackson’s second touchdown in as many games, then pulled away even farther a few minutes later thanks to a stunning play on defense. On third-and-five from the Bucs’ 28, Quinn tried to zip a quick slant into McCluster’s hands.
Gibson made an impressive solo stop of Draughn on third-and-two at midfield on the ensuing drive, forcing a punt that was downed at the Bucs’ two. A 16-yard catch by
Kansas City did notch the next score, but not on offense. Koenen’s attempt to punt from the Bucs’ 15-yard line was blocked by Draughn, sending the ball back into the end zone. Koenen managed to get to it first, scooping it up and running out of the end zone. Unfortunately, his ill-advised attempt to throw a pass (illegal under the circumstances anyway) sent the ball right into the hands of Jones, who returned what was officially a fumble 11 yards for the score.
The Bucs pushed their lead back to two touchdowns on the next drive, most of it coming on another big-gainer. This time, Underwood leaped to tip a pass that was nearly intercepted, then caught the deflection as the defender fell down, kept his balance and ran all the way to the Chiefs’ 17. The Bucs got no further but still capitalized on Barth’s 27-yard field goal to make it 24-10 early in the fourth quarter.
The Bucs pulled away midway through the fourth quarter with a five-play, 85-yard touchdown drive powered by runs of 23 and 13 by Martin. Jackson capped it with a 15-yard TD catch, hauling in the pass at the five and weaving between three defenders to walk into the end zone.
Though another score wasn’t strictly necessary, the Bucs brought in the hammer to close it out and another touchdown was the result. Blount ran for 53 yards on the clinching drive, finishing with a nifty, change-of-direction 12-yard touchdown run.
- Kansas City’s seven inactive players were QB Matt Cassel, WR Devon Wylie, DB Tysyn Hartman, RB Peyton Hillis, LB Bryan Kehl, C Bryan Mattison and DE Glenn Dorsey. Cassel, Wylie, Hillis and Dorsey were out due to injury.
- CB Ronde Barber, who finished with seven tackles, two passes defensed, an interception and a 77-yard touchdown return, made his 221st career start on Sunday. That moved him into a tie for first place in team history with LB Derrick Brooks.
- K Connor Barth saw his team-record and NFL-long streak of 25 consecutive field goals end in the second quarter on a 55-yard attempt. He had the distance but the ball bounced straight back off the left upright. Coincidentally, his last miss, 364 days ago against New Orleans, hit the upright.
- RB Doug Martin's 42-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter was the longest reception by a Bucs RB since Sept. 26, 2010, when Earnest Graham hit Pittsburgh with a 46-yarder.
- QB Josh Freeman broke the 300-yard barrier for the fourth time in his career, in the process averaging 12.62 yards per attempt. That stands as the third-highest yards-per-attempt figure in a single game in franchise history. Vinny Testaverde set the record at 14.52 on Sept. 13, 1992 against Green Bay, and Craig Erickson is second on the list with a mark of 13.04 against Indianapolis on Sept. 11, 1994.
- WR Vincent Jackson scored on touchdown catches of 19 and 17 yards in Sunday’s game. That marked the seventh time in his career and his first as a Buccaneer that he has scored two or more times in a single game.