Two-touchdown comebacks, 32 fourth-quarter points, last-minute replay reversals, TD catches off helmets…it was not your normal game Sunday in the Meadowlands. And in one way, it was particularly unusual for the modern Buccaneers. By scoring 34 points but falling short of victory, the Bucs experienced something they hadn’t in almost a decade.
Tampa Bay’s thrilling but ultimately unsatisfying 41-34 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday marked the first time since October 6, 2003 that the Bucs have lost a game in which they scored at least 34 points. That was the unfortunately memorable Monday Night Football game in which Peyton Manning engineered a stunning comeback and the Indianapolis Colts won, 38-35, in overtime.
The obvious conclusion, especially given the franchise’s defensive reputation, is that a high point total is almost a guaranteed win for the Buccaneers. And, certainly, there is some truth to that. But between that Colts game and Sunday’s showdown with the Giants, the Bucs have been in a decent number of scoreboard-rattling shootouts, and they almost always won.
Since the turn of the new millennium and before Sunday’s game at Metlife Stadium, the Buccaneers had played in 10 games in which at least one team scored 30 points and the outcome was decided in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay won seven of those, losing only the aforementioned Indy game, a 30-28 decision later that same year to Atlanta and a 34-31 overtime defeat in Chicago in 2006. Tampa Bay fans will likely remember many of the other games on the list, especially the 36-35 thriller against Washington in 2005 in which Mike Alstott scored the winning points on a two-point conversion; the 30-27 overtime win at Kansas City in 2008 in which the Bucs rallied from a 21-3 deficit; and the famous 38-35 shootout with Kurt Warner’s Rams in 2001.