A Rare Combination of Scores

After Sunday’s 34-24 win over the San Diego Chargers, Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano likened the effort to a baseball pitcher battling through a hard-fought victory without the use of his best fastball.  These Bucs may have not had their triple-digit heater going in Week 10 – the offense finished about 200 yards below its average from the last four games – but they most definitely had a diverse repertoire of pitches.

Most notably, Tampa Bay scored on a blocked punt for the first time in three years and also got seven points on the fourth-longest interception return in team history.  Those two touchdowns, combined with scoring catches by Dallas Clark and Tiquan Underwood, completed a rare trifecta: Tampa Bay got TDs from their offense, defense and special teams in the same game.

How rare is that?  Quite, although the incidence of such games is unusually clustered in the last half-dozen years.

Sunday’s win over the Chargers marked just the fourth time in franchise history that Tampa Bay had scored in all three phases of the game in the same day.  The most recent was on October 18, 2009 in what was actually a home loss to the Carolina Panthers.  Here are all four games on the list, in chronological order:

1. Buccaneers 37, Falcons 3, Dec. 16, 2007

- Offense: Earnest Graham 1-yard run and Anthony Becht 1-yard reception

- Defense: Ronde Barber 29-yard interception return

- Special Teams: Micheal Spurlock 90-yard kickoff return

2. Buccaneers 38, Lions 20, Nov. 23, 2008:

- Offense: Warrick Dunn 13-yard run, Ike Hilliard 36-yard reception and Jerramy Stevens 24-yard reception

- Defense: Ronde Barber 65-yard interception return

- Special Teams: Clifton Smith 70-yard punt return

3. Panthers 28, Buccaneers 21, Oct. 18, 2009:

- Offense: Cadillac Williams 20-yard run

- Defense: Tanard Jackson 26-yard interception

- Special Teams: Sammie Stroughter, 97-yard kickoff return

4. Buccaneers 34, Chargers 24, Nov. 11, 2012:

- Offense: Dallas Clark three-yard reception and Tiquan Underwood 15-yard reception

- Defense: Leonard Johnson 83-yard interception return

- Special Teams: Adam Hayward 29-yard return of blocked punt

The fact that all of these games are in the last six years is actually NOT that surprising, given that most of them include a kick return touchdown.  Most of the kickoff and punt return touchdowns in Buccaneer history are clustered in the last decade or so.  It’s also not surprising to see that Ronde Barber had a hand in two of them.

Thus, Sunday’s win over the Chargers marked the first time the Bucs have pulled off this uncommon trifecta by including a return of a blocked kick.  You can call that the screwball in Tampa Bay’s deep repertoire on the mound in Week 10.

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