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2018 Bucs’ Opponent in Question: San Francisco 49ers

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How’d they do in 2017?

The 49ers found themselves winless through the first nine weeks of the season. In fact, they went 1-10 through Week 12. During Week 9, San Francisco management got the hint. Former Buccaneer-turned-general-manager John Lynch traded for the Patriots’ longtime backup to Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G wouldn’t start for the 49ers until Week 13 but won the last five games of the season for San Francisco, making him perfect in a Niner uniform.

San Francisco then got to work in the offseason. They made a splash in free agency, signing cornerback Richard Sherman, who had spent his entire seven-year career with the division-rival Seahawks. They also shored up the offensive line in order to protect their new quarterback in signing Weston Richburg from the Giants and added Jerick McKinnon from the Vikings after letting running back Carlos Hyde depart for Cleveland. They continued the offensive line trend into the 2018 draft and selected Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey with their first pick at No. 9 overall. The majority of their draft picks focused on the defensive side of the ball and perhaps creating the Legion of Boom 2.0 around Richard Sherman in San Francisco.

If Jimmy G can continue his momentum into 2018 with Sherman leading the way for a scary secondary, the 49ers should be a formidable opponent come Week 12 when the Bucs play them at Raymond James Stadium.

Anything interesting between the two teams?

The two teams have played a total of 23 times, with the 49ers leading the series 17-6. The Bucs, however, own the lone playoff matchup between the two teams. Tampa Bay had to go through the Niners en route to their Super Bowl XXXVII victory in the divisional round. The Bucs came away with a decisive 31-6 victory before facing the Eagles in the conference championship.

The last time the two teams played in the regular season was 2016 when the Bucs traveled to the other Bay Area during Week 7. Tampa Bay came home with a 34-17 win behind a three-touchdown performance by quarterback Jameis Winston, who had a 117.2 passer rating that game. The Bucs had quickly fallen behind 14-0 in the first quarter but went on to score 27 unanswered after that. One more touchdown later and the deal was sealed.

What about off the field?

As noted above, former Buccaneer great and Ring of Honor member John Lynch is the current general manager of the 49ers. Lynch was introduced following the conclusion of the 2016 season along with Kyle Shanahan as head coach following his offensive coordinator role with the Atlanta Falcons. Each were inked to six year deals. Lynch had retired from football in 2008 and worked as an NFL analyst for FOX prior to migrating into the front office. Lynch spent 11 seasons with the Buccaneers while playing football, including the 2002 season that ended in a Super Bowl championship. During his Bucs career, he started 132 of 164 games, recorded 541 tackles and intercepted the ball 23 times for 200 yards as a safety.

So… what if I want to go?

You won’t have to travel the almost 2,500 miles between Tampa and San Francisco to catch the Bucs’ defense as they take on Jimmy G and the 49er offense. San Francisco and Tampa Bay will face off November 25 at 1 p.m. inside Raymond James Stadium.

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