The Tampa Bay Buccaneers absorbed their sixth defeat of the 2018 season on Sunday, and did so in very unusual fashion. The Buccaneers rolled up more than 500 yards of net offense for the third time this season – they had hit that mark just seven other times in their first 42 campaigns – but were able to turn all those yards into a mere three points in a 16-3 loss to the Washington Redskins.
No NFL team had ever before topped 500 yards in a game without scoring more than three points, and the obvious culprit for the Buccaneers in doing so was red zone inefficiency. A team is credited with a red zone trip if it makes any offensive snap from the opponents' 19-yard line or closer. Tampa Bay technically had five such drives on Sunday, and another one on which Jacquizz Rodgers got to the Washington 19 on a nine-yard pass before being forced to fumble. The Bucs did not take any of those six drives into the end zone.
What follows here in Data Crunch is not meant to convince you that 500 yards as a team or any particular individual accomplishments is more important than the final outcome on the scoreboard. No one was celebrating these numbers after game. Rather, the overwhelming feeling in the Buccaneers' locker room after the game surely mirrored that of the team's fans: Frustration.
"It's frustration," confirmed wide receiver Adam Humphries, who contributed 53 yards to that total on two catches. "I mean, that's pretty much how we all feel right now. Obviously, just looking up at the stat sheet, we had 500 yards of total offense? To be able to move the ball like that and just not get points is very frustrating. It's hard to tell when you're in the game what's going on, but just to be able to move the ball like that and gain so much confidence going up and down the field and then to turn it over or miss kicks – whatever it is – is just really frustrating."
The Buccaneers are 3-6 and the loss on Sunday to Washington made their remaining path to the playoffs very narrow. Within that loss were some team and individual achievements of note. If you find that interesting, read on.
For instance, Jacquizz Rodgers did something that no Tampa Bay running back had done in 14 years as the Buccaneers continued to explore their deep array of weapons in the passing game.
In Week Eight, wide receiver Mike Evans had 179 yards as the Buccaneers rang up 470 gross passing yards in Cincinnati. In Week Nine, the Carolina Panthers worked hard to take Evans and fellow outside receivers DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin out of the game, and slot receiver Adam Humphries and O.J. Howard caught two touchdown passes each. In Week 10, Evans and Humphries were held to 51 and 53 yards, respectively and Howard had just one catch, but QB Ryan Fitzpatrick took what the Redskins' defense gave him and threw 15 passes, combined to Rodgers and Godwin. All 15 were completed for a total of 205 yards.
Rodgers accounted for 102 of those yards on eight catches, nearly doubling his previous single-game high of 56 receiving yards. In the process, Rodgers became the first Buccaneers running back to post a 100-yard receiving game since Michael Pittman had 134 at Carolina on Nov. 28, 2004. It was just the ninth 100-yard receiving game by a running back in franchise history.
Most Receiving Yards, Running Back, Single Game, Buccaneers History
This is the second time in the 2018 season that two different Buccaneers have topped 100 receiving yards in the same game. In a 48-40 win at New Orleans in Week One, Evans racked up 147 yards and Jackson nearly matched him with 146. That dual achievement has now occurred 12 times in franchise history, with three of those 12 coming in the Bucs' last 10 games, dating back to the 2017 season finale.
Two Players with 100+ Receiving Yards, Same Game, Buccaneers History
As can be seen in the chart above, Godwin and Rodgers are just the second wide receiver-running back pair to record simultaneous 100-yard receiving games in franchise history, and the first to do so in 38 years.
Fitzpatrick threw for 406 yards against Washington, marking his fourth 400-yard game of the season. Prior to 2018, all Buccaneer quarterbacks combined had recorded five 400-yard passing games.
Most Passing Yards, Single Game, Buccaneers History
Fitzpatrick has accumulated those four 400-yard games despite only starting six of the first nine games. Nevertheless, he is the first passer in NFL history to record four 400-yard games through the first nine games of his team's season. The previous record was three, by the Chargers' Philip Rivers in 2013. Fitzpatrick has now tied the NFL's all-time record for 400-yard games in a season, matching one Hall of Famer and one lock for Canton in the process.
Most 400-Yard Passing Games, Single Season, NFL History
The Buccaneers' 501 yards against Washington was their 10th-highest total in a single game, though already their third 500-yard game of this season. Tampa Bay has hit the nine-game mark of this campaign with an NFL-high 4,075 total net yards. That's the fourth-highest total through that many games in league annals.
Most Total Net Yards, Through Nine Games, NFL History
Tampa Bay also leads the NFL with 3,251 net passing yards, or 361.2 per game. The Buccaneers are on pace for 5,780 net passing yards, which would break the record of 5,44 set by Denver in 2013. Only one team has ever hit the nine-game mark with more passing yards than the 2018 Buccaneers.
Most Net Passing Yards, Through Nine Games, NFL History