Games end in funny ways when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins share a football field.
You like ending a high-scoring shootout with a do-or-die two-point try at the end? We've got one of those here at the Buc-Skins Emporium. You like bad snaps on potential game-tying extra points after fourth-down touchdowns at the end of regulation? I think we can dig one of those up, too.
You like a game in which one team's kicker is perfect from 47, 50 and 57 yards and the other team's kicker misses three straight…and then it's that second kicker who wins it with a 41-yarder at the end of regulation? I'm fairly certain we have one of those lying around. How about a game in which one team dominates the other to the tune of a 464-286 yardage edge and 29 first downs to seven…and still needs a quarterback sneak for a TD with 30 seconds left and a clinching interception moments later by a dude named, "Scooter?" What's that? You do like that? I'll try to scare one up for you.
Or maybe you just, like, like that. As in, "Do you like that?! Do you like that?!" Yes, that famous (infamous?) Kirk Cousins in-the-tunnel moment came at the end of a Washington-Tampa Bay game.
The Buccaneers and Redskins are dead even after 20 regular-season and two postseason meetings, which means somebody is going to pull ahead this Sunday when Washington comes to Raymond James Stadium. Yes, I know that's not technically a sure thing, because the possibility of a tie exists. But the way this series has gone, a bizarre twist right at the end is far more likely than a slow fade into no-decision nothingness.
For those who don't recall all the games referenced above, they are, in order: 1. The 2005 game won on Mike Alstott's two-point run at the end, 36-35; 2. The 2010 game in Washington in which Donovan McNabb hit Santana Moss for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal with nine seconds left, only to have long-snapper Nick Sundberg's high snap on the extra point went through holder Hunter Smith's hands; 3. A back-and-forth 24-22 win for Washington in Tampa in 2012, with Connor Barth making all his kicks but Billy Cundiff whiffing repeatedly until the final game-winner; 4. A 1994 game in Tampa mostly dominated by Errict Rhett (192 rushing yards) but kept close by three big plays from Heath Shuler, with the Bucs' Craig Erickson sneaking in the winning points and cornerback Mike "Scooter" McGruder getting the final pick; 5. Though you probably don't want the reminder, this was the game that saw the Buccaneers take a 24-0 lead only to have Cousins go bonkers, throwing for three touchdowns in a wild comeback, including the game-winner to Jordan Reed with 24 seconds left after the Bucs failed to score on three plays from the five the previous drive, settling for a field goal. Cousins then went viral with a moment of overjoyed hubris on his way to the locker room.
So expect just about anything Sunday, especially at game's end. Here's the all-time series scoreboard:
Tampa Bay 10
1. Tampa Bay 36, Washington 35, Nov. 13, 2005
We noted this one above briefly but it deserves a closer look because, even 13 years later, it remains one of the most memorable games in franchise history. This one became a wild shootout when Washington came storming back from a 21-13 halftime deficit to take a 35-28 lead midway through the fourth quarter. There were five touchdowns scored in the second half (which seems commonplace in 2018 Buccaneer games but was rare 13 years ago) and Bucs QB Chris Simms had a hot hand with three touchdown passes and a 119.8 passer rating. Joey Galloway did much of the damage with 131 yards and a score on seven grabs, but it was lesser-known wideout Edell Shepherd who made the play of the game with a minute to spare, diving across the goal line to secure a 30-yard touchdown catch. The Bucs lined up for a PAT to tie the game at 35-all but the Redskins jumped offside and blocked Matt Bryant's kick. When Washington jumped offside again on the second attempt, Head Coach Jon Gruden elected to have the ball moved to the one-yard line and to go for the game-winning two-point conversion. There was no artifice to the play-call, simply a dive over right guard by goal-line specialist Mike Alstott. Alstott barely got the ball to the line for the successful conversion and one of the most remarkable victories in franchise history.
2. Tampa Bay 14, Washington 13, Jan. 15, 2000
The 1999 Buccaneers slumped out of the gate, starting 3-4, then went on a tear, winning eight of their last nine and securing a first-round bye on the final weekend of the regular season. Washington, then quarterbacked by future Buccaneers Super Bowl star Brad Johnson, beat Detroit in the Wild Card round and came to Tampa the next weekend and brought a motivated defense with them. The Buccaneers' had their own stingy 'D' and this one was a 3-0 game, in the visitors' favor, at halftime. It got ominous right after the break when return man Brian Mitchell took the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards for a touchdown. Washington had a 13-0 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter and it looked like the Bucs' magical season was draining away…until clutch takeaway artist John Lynch intercepted a pass right by the sideline at the Bucs' 27. That kick-started the Tampa Bay offense into gear and Alstott scored on a two-yard plunge to complete a 73-yard drive. In the fourth quarter, a fumble recovery by Warren Sapp gave the Bucs a short field. On third-and-goal at the one-yard line, Shaun King faked a handoff and spun to his right, only to find very much not-fooled defensive end N.D. Kalu in his face. King managed to get a leaping throw off and over Kalu's head to wide-open TE John Davis for the winning score.
3. Tampa Bay 27, Washington 7, Nov. 16, 2014
There are some other interesting Buc wins in this series, as noted up top, but this one is notable as a coming-out party for Mike Evans, the then-rookie receiver who has since obliterated the Buccaneers' record books. Evans had put up good but unspectacular numbers through the first six games of the season, then had begun to emerge with back-to-back 100-yard games against Cleveland and Atlanta. Then the Buccaneers went to Washington and Evans ran all over the FedExField, uh, field, getting deep repeatedly and racking up 209 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches. That accounted for the bulk of Josh McCown's 15 completions for 288 yards and two scores and it led the Buccaneers to just their second win in an eventual 2-14 season.
1. Washington 31, Tampa Bay 30, Oct. 25, 2015
Another game noted above that needs a little more attention, this was Kirk Cousins' big day. Going to FedExField for a second straight year, the Bucs looked like they were going to leave with a second straight blowout when they rushed out to a 24-0 lead in the second quarter. Evans scored again on a long pass, this time from rookie QB Jameis Winston, and Howard Jones punctuated the scoring run with a 42-yard return of a Cousins fumble, which was caused by a Jacquies Smith sack. The comeback started innocently enough, with a Cousins eight-yard touchdown run before halftime, but it picked up speed in a hurry after the break as Washington drove for a quick touchdown, successfully pulled off a surprise onside kick, and then drove for another touchdown to make it 24-21. It was 27-24 when the Buccaneers drove down to the Washington four-yard line with four minutes left. Two Doug Martin runs made it third-and-goal at the one and a Charles Sims run on the next play went into the teeth of the Redskins defense and lost two yards. The Bucs had to settle for another field goal and Cousins threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Jordan Reed with 24 seconds left.
2. Washington 17, Tampa Bay 10, Jan. 7, 2006
Since we described the Buccaneers' playoff win against Washington above, it's only fair to include Washington's postseason victory in Tampa six years later. This ranks as one of the more disappointing outings in Buccaneers history as Tampa Bay had won the NFC South with an 11-5 record and sported the league's top-ranked defense but couldn't move on to the second round. That defense did its job, holding Washington just 120 yards the entire day, but unfortunately the Redskins defense made the big plays, including a fumble recovery that set up a one-play, six-yard touchdown drive, and another one that was returned 51 yards for a touchdown by Sean Taylor. That gave Washington a 14-0 lead and the Bucs never recovered, getting just 243 yards of their own.
3. Washington 20, Tampa Bay 17, Oct. 1, 2000
We include this one just so you can marvel at the collection of all-time NFL names that were on this 2000 Washington team at the same time, including Deion Sanders, Darrell Green, Irving Fryar, Bruce Smith, Champ Bailey, Andre Reed, LaVar Arrington, Larry Centers and Stephen Davis. And Jeff George! That Washington team also included such former and future Buccaneer notables as Brad Johnson and the kicking duo of Michael Husted and Tommy Barnhardt. There was a bit of drama to the game, too, as it needed overtime to be settled at FedExField. Down by 10 with two minutes to play, Shaun King dropped back on third-and-10 and Smith got to him and forced a fumble. King managed to get the loose ball back and throw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Reidel Anthony. The Bucs tried an onside kick but failed, putting Washington in position for another field goal with less than a minute left, but Warren Sapp blocked Husted's 35-yard attempt. King used the final 43 seconds to get Martin Gramatica in position for a 42-yarder, which he nailed as time expired. Each team punted once to start overtime but Sanders had just a bit of Prime Time glory left in him and he returned Mark Royals' punt 57 yards to the Bucs' eight to set up Michael Husted's chip-shot winner.
Bucs' Top Performers Against Redskins:
Among players currently on the roster, here are a few Buccaneers who have fared well against Washington:
· WR Mike Evans…2 games, 15 receptions for 373 yards and 3 TDs, 24.9 yards per reception, 186.5 yards per game, 13 first downs
· DE Jason Pierre-Paul…12 games, 65 tackles, 12.5 sacks for 104.5 yards, 16 tackles for loss, 17 QB hits, 4 forced fumbles, 4 fumble passes defensed
· WR DeSean Jackson…11 games, 32 receptions for 572 yards and five touchdowns, 17.9 yards per catch, 24 first downs
Redskins' Top Performers Against Bucs:
· CB Josh Norman…8 games, 18 tackles, 2 interceptions (1 returned for a touchdown) 6 passes defensed
· RB Adrian Peterson…4 games, 85 carries for 462 yards and 5 touchdowns, 5.44 yards per carry, 115.5 yards per game
· QB Alex Smith...2 games, 35 of 50 passing for 431 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception, 114.7 passer rating
Series Notes (regular season):
· Overall Season Series: Bucs lead, 10-10
· Bucs' Home Record: 6-4
· Bucs' Road Record: 4-6
· Current Streak: Lose 1 (2015)
· Buccaneers' Longest Winning Streak: 4 (1994-96)
· Redskins' Longest Winning Streak: 4 (1997-93)
· Regular Season Point Total: Buccaneers 401, Redskins 365
· Most Points in a Game, Buccaneers: Buccaneers 36-35 (2005)
· Most Points in a Game, Redskins: Buccaneers 36-35 (2005)
· Most Points, both teams: 71, Buccaneers 36-35 (2005)
· Fewest Points in a Game, Buccaneers: Redskins 10-0 (1977)
· Fewest Points in a Game, Redskins: Buccaneers 10-6 (1995)
· Fewest Points in a Game, both teams: 10, Redskins 10-0 (1977)