Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hot Pursuit

One more look at the Bucs who could use the last two games to break single-season team records, and how likely they are to do so

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Warrick Dunn has been a big part of the Bucs' passing game this season and could break the team record for receiving yards by a running back

Since the 2001 season's midway point, we've tracked which Tampa Bay Buccaneer players have a shot at breaking some long-standing team records. If you're keeping up with effort, you might recall that we broke the candidates up into four categories last time we updated the chase.

There were those records that were Already Broken, such as the single-seasons receptions mark that Keyshawn Johnson blew by about six minutes after training camp. There was another group that we considered Almost Certain to Fall, such as the single-season pass completions record, which, as a matter of fact, Brad Johnson snapped with his touchdown pass to Karl Williams on Sunday.

A few marks we considered not quite sure things, but still Good Bets. In that category, for instance, was Mark Carrier's single-season receiving yards mark of 1,422, set in 1989. When we last examined Keyshawn Johnson's numbers, at the season's three-quarter pole, he was on pace to get 1,436 yards. Now, Johnson has 1,237 yards, which would lead to 1,414 by the end of the season. That's still right in the vicinity.

Then we get to the Longer Shots, our polite way of saying we weren't putting any money on these marks being reached. And, it seems, we owe Ronde Barber a bit of an apology.

You see, Barber had six picks at the time, a pace that would have led to eight by the end of the season, a marvelous figure that would have been the second-best total in team history, behind Cedric Brown's nine way back in 1981. Well, Barber hit eight interceptions before halftime last Sunday, then caught Brown in the third quarter with his ninth. Should have known Barber would become the first player in team history to have three interceptions in a single game, right?

Well, the long and the short of it is that we have to move Barber's interception chase up a category to Good Bets. Interceptions are a little too hard to predict to say it's Almost Certain to Fall, but with Barber this season, we certainly wouldn't bet against him becoming the first Buc to hit double digits.

Here is an updated look at the records being pursued by Buc players and, in some cases, the team as a whole.

Already Broken…

CategoryPlayerCurrentProj.Record
ReceptionsK. Johnson102117M. Carrier, 86, 1989
Cons. PATs madeM. Gramatica95--M. Husted, 78, 1993-96
Pass AttemptsB. Johnson526601D. Williams, 521, 1980
CompletionsB. Johnson324370S. DeBerg, 308, 1984
Cons. Games with INTsTeam15--Team, 14 (twice)

Keyshawn Johnson is actually still chasing the league record for receptions in a season, though that pursuit took a hit with his two-catch day Sunday against New Orleans. The Bucs had so many other things working against the Saints that they were able to score 48 points without Johnson's usual eight or nine catches (though he continued to provide stellar run-blocking, of course). Johnson's projection 'fell' to 117 catches, but since we're so close to the finish line, it's just as easy to say that he has to average 11 receptions per game over the final two contests to get to 124 and break Herman Moore's 1994 record of 123.

Almost Certain to Fall…

CategoryPlayerCurrentProj.Record
Completion Pct. B. Johnson61.661.6S. DeBerg, 60.5, 1984
Lowest INT Pct. B. Johnson2.092.09C. Erickson, 2.51, 1994

These two Johnson cannot officially break until the season ends, but it still is likely that he'll maintain those percentages at high or low enough marks to snap the records. For instance, if Johnson gets to his projected total of 601 pass attempts over the next two games, he would have to toss five interceptions over that span to finish worse than Erickson's record of 2.51%.

Good Bets…

CategoryPlayerCurrentProj.Record
Passing YardsB. Johnson32703737D. Williams, 3563, 1981
Passing+Rushing YardsB. Johnson33913875D. Williams, 3772, 1981
Receiving YardsK. Johnson12371414M. Carrier, 1422, 1989
InterceptionsR. Barber910Cedric Brown, 9, 1981

We've already looked at Barber and Keyshawn Johnson in these two categories. Brad Johnson appears well on his way to the other two marks. He needs only 146.5 passing yards per game over the final two weeks, for instance, to break the record in that category.

Longer Shots…

CategoryPlayerCurrentProj.Record
Rec. Yards, RBW. Dunn543621J. Wilder, 685
Passer RatingB. Johnson78.878.8S. DeBerg, 85.3, 1987
Field GoalsM. Gramatica2326M. Gramatica, 28, 2000
Field Goal AttemptsM. Gramatica2933M. Husted, 35, 1994
TouchdownsM. Alstott1011James Wilder, 13, 1984
300-yd. Pass GamesB. Johnson224, (twice)
Punts Inside 20M. Royals2023D. Stryzinski, 24, 1993

The biggest obstacle for Gramatica in the above chases is, of course, his balky right hamstring. Should he be able to play in each of the last two games, there's no reason to believe he can't kick five field goals and catch his own mark from last year. However, another kicker may be handling those duties for at least one of the last two contests.

Overall, nothing has really changed since the last time we took a look at these pursuits. The most important chase remains the Bucs' attempt to lock up a playoff spot, a goal that can almost certainly be achieved with one win in the last two games. If a few more sections are re-written in the team's record book as a result, that will be a nice side benefit.

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