At times during his first two seasons in the NFL, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting has had a dual assignment in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense, starting on the outside in the base scheme and moving inside to the slot in the nickel package. That was a role first perfected in Tampa and popularized around the NFL by Ronde Barber, who is currently a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2021.
It's fitting, then, that just two games into his postseason career, Murphy-Bunting has duplicated a feat that only Barber had accomplished in Buccaneers history. With his interception off Drew Brees in Sunday's Divisional Playoff game in New Orleans, following his pick in Washington in the Wild Card round, Murphy-Bunting has joined Barber as the only players in franchise annals to have interceptions in consecutive playoff games. Barber did it against San Francisco on January 12 and in Philadelphia on January 19, 2003 during Tampa Bay's run to Super Bowl XXXVII.
With inside linebacker Devin White and safety Mike Edwards each adding their first career postseason interceptions, the Buccaneers finished with three interceptions on the evening. They had four total takeaways, as White also recovered a fumble by Saints tight end Jared Cook that was caused by safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. That is tied for the second-most interceptions and is the third-most takeaways the Buccaneers have ever recorded in a single postseason game.
Most Interceptions, Single Game, Buccaneers Postseason History
|at New Orleans||1/17/21||Divisional||3|
|at St. Louis||1/23/00||NFCC||3|
|at Green Bay||1/4/98||Divisional||2|
|at Dallas||1/9/83||Round One*||2|
(* Following a 1982 season shortened to nine games by a players' strike, the NFL held a "Super Bowl Tournament" with eight teams in each conference in the field.)
Most Takeaways, Single Game, Buccaneers Postseason History
|at New Orleans||1/17/21||Divisional||4|
|at St. Louis||1/23/00||NFCC||3|
|at Green Bay||1/4/98||Divisional||3|
|at Dallas||1/9/83||Round One*||3|
White is the first player since the Chargers' Adrian Phillips on January 16, 2019 to record an interception and a fumble recovery in the same game. Making his playoff debut after missing the Wild Card game while on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the second-year linebacker also led all players with 11 tackles, which tied a single-game playoff record for the Buccaneers.
Most Tackles, Single Game, Buccaneers Postseason History
|Devin White||at New Orleans||1/17/21||11|
|Derrick Brooks||N.Y. Giants||1/6/08||11|
|Jermaine Phillips||N.Y. Giants||1/6/08||11|
|Jamie Duncan||at Philadelphia||12/31/00||11|
In addition to picking Drew Brees off three times, the Buccaneers' defense held the future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer to 134 passing yards. Those figures mark the most interceptions and the fewest yards Brees has ever recorded in a single postseason game. It was also the first time that Brees had been picked off three times in a game, regular or postseason, in more than four years. The last team to do it to him was the Buccaneers, on December 11, 2016. As a team, the Saints hadn't turned the ball over four times in one game since November 13, 2016 against Denver.
On offense, the Buccaneers were lead by ageless quarterback Tom Brady, who threw touchdown passes to Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette and also ran in another one for a score of his own. Though he's known for his passing, Brady is actually closing in on the all-time postseason record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
Most Rushing Touchdowns by a Quarterback, NFL Postseason History
Brady was not intercepted while tossing 18 completions in 33 attempts for 199 yards and those two touchdowns. He has now thrown multiple touchdown passes in nine straight games, including the regular season, the longest streak in franchise history. Brady also now owns 13 career playoff games with multiple touchdown passes and no interceptions, easily the most in NFL history. The next quarterback on the list is the next one Brady will face in the playoffs.
Most Postseason Games with Multiple TD Passes and No Interceptions, NFL History
Obviously, Brady already owns a slew of postseason records which he only padded in Sunday's game. Among those playoff records are:
|Most games played: 43|
|Most games started: 43|
|Most wins as a starting QB: 32|
|Most passing yards: 11,968|
|Most passing touchdowns: 77|
|Most pass attempts: 1,699|
|Most completions: 1,065|
The top five of the postseason touchdown pass list is worth showing because it highlights the upcoming quarterback matchup in the NFC Championship Game.
Most Postseason Touchdown Passes, NFL History
Fournette's six-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter gave him six scores in just five career postseason games. He also ran 17 times for 63 yards and caught a team-high five passes for 44 yards for a total of 107 yards from scrimmage. In just two games with the Buccaneers, Fournette already has two of the top four postseason outings in terms of yards from scrimmage in franchise history.
Most Yards from Scrimmage, Single Postseason Game, Buccaneers History
|Leonard Fournette||at Washington||1/9/21||132|
|Leonard Fournette||at New Orleans||1/17/21||107|
|Keyshawn Johnson||at Philadelphia||12/31/00||106|
Not to be outdone, Cameron Brate now has two postseason games played and two of the highest single-game receiving yardage totals by a tight end in franchise playoffs history.
Most Receiving Yards by a Tight End, Single Postseason Game, Buccaneers History
|Jimmie Giles||at Dallas||1/2/82||98|
|Cameron Brate||at Washington||1/9/21||80|
|Dave Moore||at Green Bay||1/4/98||54|
|Cameron Brate||at New Orleans||1/17/21||50|
Meanwhile, kicker Ryan Succop drilled field goals of 26, 37 and 36 and scored a total of 12 points in the Bucs' win over the Saints. Succop has made all seven of his attempts in the 2020 postseason so far and already has the team record for most attempts and field goals made in a single playoff run.
Most Field Goals Made, Single Postseason, Buccaneers History
Finally, as a team, the Buccaneers improved to 8-2 on the road during the 2020 season, including the postseason. That's the most road victories the Bucs have ever recorded in a single season, including the playoffs. The 2002 Super Bowl-winning team went 6-2 in the regular season and won a seventh road game at Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game. The Super Bowl was a neutral-site game. The Bucs have won seven straight games away from home, the longest streak in franchise history.
Most Consecutive Road Victories, Postseason Included, Buccaneers History
|1. 7…Oct. 25, 2020 – Jan. 17, 2021|
|2. 6…Dec. 15, 2002 – Oct. 12, 2003|
|3. 5…Dec. 20, 2009 – Oct. 31, 2010|
|4. 4…Oct. 10, 2016 – Dec. 4, 2016|
The Buccaneers will get a chance to make it eight in a row next Sunday at Lambeau Field. A berth in Super Bowl LV will be on the line.