When Shaquil Barrett set a new single-season sack record for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 29, 2019, everyone knew it. Barrett's hunt of Warren Sapp's 19-year-old standard had been relentless all season, and his emergence as one of the NFL's top edge rushers had been one of Tampa Bay's top storylines in 2019. Barrett finally broke the record with a second-quarter takedown of Atlanta's Matt Ryan in the season finale, and the first person to shake his hand as he came off the field: Warren Sapp. Barrett's record-breaking sack was an event.
Likewise, Jameis Winston's passing numbers in 2019 were so outsized, in so many ways, that his capture of several Buccaneer records couldn't be missed. Winston didn't just set a new team single-season standard with his 5,109 passing yards, he led the entire league in that category. And his 33 touchdown passes were second in the NFL and five more than his own previous team record of 28 set three years earlier. Winston set the yardage record in Week 14 and the touchdown record the following weekend during a pair of consecutive 450-yard, four-TD outings; everything after that was padding.
Like Winston, Barrett led the league in his premier category, as he collected two more sacks after breaking the Bucs record and finished with 19.5. Those two records take on a little extra weight as they mark the first time a Tampa Bay player has ever led the NFL in passing yards or quarterback sacks.
That said, while those were the two most prominent franchise records broken in 2019, they weren't the only ones to go down. Below are some additional new team records from this past season, followed by a handful of numbers that came very close to setting a new standard.
Buccaneers Records Set in 2019
- Jameis Winston: 5,109 passing yards and 33 touchdown passes (single season)
As noted above. The previous records also belonged to Winston, who threw for 4,090 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2016. Remarkably, Winston destroyed the old yardage record by more than 1,000 yards, adding nearly 25% to the previous mark. In contrast, when Winston first set the record three years early, his final total was only 35 yards more than the previous record of 4,065, set by Josh Freeman in 2012. And when Freeman broke the record it was only 254 more yards than the standing record of 3,811, posted by Brad Johnson in 2003.
By the way, Winston also set single-season Buc records for pass attempts (626), completions (389) and 300-yard passing games (11). That last record nearly doubled his own mark of six from the 2017 campaign. Winston also led the NFL with 30 interceptions but that did not set a new (unwanted) Buccaneers record, as Vinny Testaverde was picked off 35 times in 1988.
- Shaq Barrett: 19.5 sacks (single season)
Barrett came into the final weekend already tied with Sapp's 2000 mark of 16.5 sacks, so he was going to have a share of the top spot either way. But his final total of 19.5 tied for the 13th-most by any NFL player since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. The leap from 16.5 to 19.5 was actually similar to what Sapp did in his record-breaking year, as his 16.5 sacks topped the mark of 13.0 by Lee Roy Selmon that had stood since 1977.
Barrett's four-sack game against the New York Giants in Week Three tied a single-game record for the Buccaneers, first set by Marcus Jones in 2000 and later matched by Simeon Rice in 2003.
- Matt Gay: 43 extra points and 48 extra points attempted
Gay, a fifth-round draft pick in 2019, missed a potential game-winner against the Giants in Week Three, subsequently went on a 17-for-18 tear and then slumped a bit to end the season, missing five of his last eight field goal tries. Gay is likely the team's long-term answer at what has been a troublesome position, but his late downturn keeps the Bucs from feeling completely comfortable that their kicker curse is over.
What stayed true for Gay all season, though, was that he was busy. The way to set franchise records for PATs made and attempted is to be the kicker for the most prolific scoring team in that franchise's history. The Bucs' 54 touchdowns were the most they had ever produced in a single season, and despite a handful of two-point attempts Gay still got to try 48 extra points, easily topping the previous record of 42 set by Martin Gramatica in 2000. Gramatica made all 42 of those attempts – that was before the NFL moved the extra point line of scrimmage from the two back to the 15-yard line – but Gay's 43 successful extra points set a new record, too.
- Bradley Pinion: 88 kickoff touchbacks
Unlike Barrett's chase of Sapp or Winston's prolific right arm, Pinion's climb to the top of this particular chart went mostly unnoticed in 219. Also unlike Barrett and Winston, Pinion not only set a new Buccaneer standard in his stat category but also set a new single-season NFL record.
Like Gay, Pinion was helped along to his spot in the record books by an offense that scored in bunches, thereby requiring a whole lot of kickoffs. Pinion did the rest, so reliably kicking the ball deep that only three of his 97 kickoffs failed to reach the end zone and only nine of them were returned. That left 88 kickoff touchbacks, the most any player has ever booted in one season. The previous record was 81 by Denver's Matt Prater in 2013. Prater played alongside an even more explosive offense and kicked off a whopping 114 times that season.
One caveat: Full-season data on this category is only available back through 1991. In that span, the previous high for a Buccaneer kicker in kickoff touchbacks was 58 by Michael Koenen in 2012. Like Pinion, Koenen was also the Buccaneers' punter.
- Devin White: 91-yard fumble return
Not a single-season record or even a single-game record, just one play that was longer than any other of its kind in team history. The previous record had stood nearly four decades, since Cedric Brown returned a fumble 80 yards for a touchdown at Houston on Oct. 19, 1980. White broke the record with his 91-yard sprint in the Bucs' season finale against Atlanta on Dec. 29.
White's touchdown was also the sixth-longest of any variety in franchise history. Here are the Bucs' 10 longest touchdowns of all time:
1. Shelton Quarles' 98-yard interception return vs. Green Bay, Oct. 7, 20001
2t. Derrick Brooks' 97-yard interception return at Baltimore, Sept. 15, 2002
2t. Clifton Smith's 97-yard kickoff return at Kansas City, Nov. 2, 2008
2t. Sammie Stroughter's 97-yard kickoff return vs. Carolina, Oct. 18, 2009
5. Jacquez Green's 95-yard punt return at Green Bay, Sept. 13, 1998
6. Devin White's 91-yard fumble return vs. Atlanta, Dec. 29, 2019
7. Micheal Spurlock's 90-yard kickoff return vs. Atlanta, Dec. 16, 2007
8t Willie Drewrey's 89-yard reception vs. Atlanta, Dec. 2, 1990
8t. Micheal Spurlock's 89-yard kickoff return at Atlanta, Nov. 7, 2010
10. Karl Williams' 88-yard punt return vs. Chicago, Dec. 22, 1996
- Tampa Bay's defense: 1,181 rushing yards allowed
Now we transition from individual to team single-season records, and while the offense has more new number-ones to brag about than the defense, this particular record is impressive. Prior to the 2019 season, and excluding the nine-game 1982 campaign that was interrupted by a players' strike, the Buccaneers had never allowed fewer than 1,300 rushing yards in a season, let alone 1,200. The team's previous record was 1,320 rushing yards allowed, set in 2012.
The Buccaneers led the NFL in this category and were extremely consistent in their run defense from week to week. Only one opposing running back (Seattle's Chris Carson) managed a 100-yard game against Tampa Bay in 2019 and only three of the Bucs' 16 foes cracked triple digits as a team. In 11 of its 16 games, Tampa Bay's defense limited the opposing team to fewer than 3.5 yards per carry.
The Buccaneers just missed a couple of other team records in terms of rush defense. Opponents ran the ball only 362 times against Tampa Bay in 2019; that was just one over the 361 runs against the Buccaneers in 1991. The Bucs' defense also led the NFL in yards allowed per carry, but their 3.26 mark was just a bit higher than the 3.24 it allowed in 1988. The Bucs did set a new team single-season record by only allowing 70 rushing first downs; the previous record was 75, set in 1998 and matched in 1989, 2005 and 2012.
- Team: 458 points scored on the season, 55 in Week Four at the Los Angeles Rams
In the end, it all comes down to points scored, and so we'll highlight that record for (mostly) the offense. A team-record six defensive touchdowns also helped the Buccaneers crack 400 points in a season for the first time in team history. The Bucs had just set their new scoring record at 396 points last year; now they've topped that with another 16% jump to 458. Tampa Bay tied New Orleans for the third most point scored in 2019. Understandably, the Bucs' 54 touchdowns were also a new single-season record for the franchise.
The biggest single-game chunk of that scoring came in Week Four in Los Angeles. Ndamukong Suh's 37-yard fumble return for a touchdown iced the game late in the fourth quarter and also pushed the Bucs over 50 for the first time in a single game in franchise history, as the visitors left with a 55-40 victory. Had Suh not scored, the Bucs very well might have tied their long-standing single-game scoring record of 48, which was first set in Atlanta on the opening weekend of the 1987 season and then later matched twice against the Saints. The Bucs also scored that point total in their 48-21 win over Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Tampa Bay's 630 pass attempts (all but four of them belonging to Winston), were five more than it had in 2018 in setting a team record. The Bucs also produced their longest single drive ever, a 99-yard touchdown march in Detroit in Week 15 that ended in Scotty Miller's 33-yard touchdown catch. And the team's 24 passing first downs in a win over Indianapolis in Week 14 were the most it had ever produced in a single game.
View some of the top game pictures from the Buccaneers' 2019 NFL season.
Close But Not Quite
Here are some individual and team performances that threatened all-time Buccaneer franchise records but fell just a bit short.
· Matt Gay scored 124 points, which was a new record for Buccaneer rookies, but he came up short of the team's single-season scoring record after an 0-3 field goal outing in the season finale. Matt Bryant set the bar at 131 points in 2008 and Gay seemed to have a shot at as the 2019 season was winding down but finished with just two points in Week 17. His final total ranks fourth in team history.
· Both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans might have threatened Evans' 2018 record of 1,524 receiving yards if their seasons hadn't ended early due to twin hamstring pulls. Godwin, in fact, was almost exactly on pace for that mark with 1,333 yards through 14 games. He finished with an average of 95.2 receiving yards per game, which just missed Evans' record of 95.3 set last year. Godwin's 12 catches against the Rams in Week Four were also just one off the Bucs' single-game record and they tied for the most by a Tampa Bay receiver. Running backs James Wilder and Earnest Graham each logged 13-catch games but the only other Bucs receiver with a 12-reception outing was Keyshawn Johnson against Chicago on Nov. 18, 2001.
· In addition to leading the league in sacks and tying for the league lead in quarterback hits (37), Shaq Barrett also forced six fumbles, which very nearly tied the Bucs' single-season record. That mark is seven, first set by Wally Chambers in 1979 and later matched by Broderick Thomas in 1991 and Stylez G. White in 2007. Meanwhile, both Devin White and Ndamukong Suh recovered four opponent fumbles, which was also one shy of the team's single-season record. The record-holder is their teammate, Lavonte David, who had five fumble recoveries in 2017.
· The Bucs' offense (with some help from the defense) set a new single-season franchise standard for points scored but didn't quite get the yardage record. The 2019 Buccaneers produced 6,366 net yards of offense, not enough to top the 6,648 put up by last year's teams. The '19 Bucs also ran 1,086 plays, five fewer than the team record of 1,091 from last year. Finally, Tampa Bay's 7.55 yards per pass play achieved this past season was second in team annals only to the 7.70 it put up last year.
· The Bucs' defense chased an important team record, too, with Barrett leading the way. In addition to his 19.5 sacks, the Bucs got 8.5 from Jason Pierre-Paul and 6.0 from Carl Nassib and ended up with 47 as a team. While that didn't really come particularly close to the team record of 55, set in 2000, it is the second-highest single-season total in franchise history. That's true also of the 325 yards lost by Bucs opponents on sacks in 2019, which nearly matched the 332 from 2000.