It's Friday! (I think.) To celebrate the end of the work week, I'm handing out some Tampa Bay Buccaneers trivia. Yeah, kinda like I did on Monday through Thursday, but whatever.
Each workday in April I'm posting a Bucs-related trivia question at 10:00 a.m. ET for your enjoyment, or perhaps frustration. The one yesterday was really hard. At 4:00 p.m. ET, I return to add the answer, and share it on Twitter. Today's question regards interceptions, and players who have managed to get them in consecutive games.
Last season, both Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean turned in excellent rookie seasons in the Buccaneers' secondary. Murphy-Bunting led the team with three interceptions and Dean added two picks of his own despite only really playing defense in the second half of the season.
What neither of those two has done yet is pick off a pass in consecutive games. Maybe next year! Actually, no Buccaneer has done that in a little while, longer than you might expect. The last Tampa Bay defender to do so was safety Keith Tandy, who helped the Bucs clinch wins over San Diego and New Orleans on December 4 and 11 of the 2016 season.
The last Buccaneer to intercept a pass in three straight games wasn't even a defensive back and he's still on the roster. Those clues should point you immediately to Lavonte David, who pulled off the feat back in 2013, his second NFL season. Those came in games Detroit, Carolina and Buffalo between November 24 and December 8 of that season, and they helped him finish with the incredible combination of five interceptions and seven sacks, which in turn brought in first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors.
Last streak of two games with a pick? Last streak of three games with a pick? Hmmm, where might we be headed with this question?
Bucs Daily Trivia Question, April 17:
Who is the only player in Buccaneers franchise history to record an interception in four consecutive games (regular-season only)?
In yesterday's question, I told you right off the bat that the answer wasn't Warrick Dunn, simply because I knew Dunn would seem like the clear and obvious answer. This time I'm going to do something similar: The answer is not franchise leader Ronde Barber, who had 47 career picks over incredible seasons. Barber picked off passes in consecutive games on six different occasions, but never in three straight.
So who went on the most extended run of interception games in team history? If you don't feel like waiting for the answer, you could do what I've been doing for a good number of these questions and utilize the tools in the play index on the absolutely indispensable Pro Football Reference website, in this case I specifically used the Streak Finder.
Otherwise, come back at 4:00 p.m. ET for the answer!
Answer: Harry Hamilton.
Hamilton didn't have a really long run with the Bucs, playing three-and-a-half seasons before an elbow injury ended his 1991 season and, as it would turn out, his career. He was pretty productive in that time, though, with 17 interceptions in 52 games and 50 starts. In fact, he and Donnie Abraham are the only two players in team history to record three straight seasons with five or more picks.
The first of those for Hamilton was 1988, his first season in Tampa after four years with the Jets. On November 6 of that season, Hamilton intercepted a pass in Chicago, and the following week he snared one against Detroit. The Bucs and Bears had a rematch in Tampa on November 20 and Hamilton got a pick in that one, too. And on November 27, Hamilton secured an interception against Atlanta to become the first – and so far, only – Buccaneer to pick off at least one pass in four straight games.
Hamilton is also one of only three Buccaneers to have two different streaks of at least three games with an interception, along with Mark Cotney and Mike Washington, two stalwarts of the franchise's first great defense. After his four-game streak in 1988, Hamilton had one game without a pick and then finished the season with two straight games in which he did intercept a pass. He then started the 1989 season with an interception in the opener, giving him his second streak of three or more games. He was on quite a tear – over a 14-game stretch spanning the second half of 1988 and the first half of 1989, Hamilton racked up 11 interceptions.
In addition to Hamilton, Cotney, Washington and David, other Bucs who have had three-game interception streaks include all-time greats Derrick Brooks and John Lynch, the former during the 2002 Super Bowl season. Abraham is on that list, too, unsurprisingly, as are Leonard Johnson, Aqib Talib, Joe King, Jeremiah Castille, Cedric Brown and Cecil Johnson.