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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A quick history lesson on top Bucs games vs Giants

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Photo by Chris Livingston/Icon Sportswire

(As the Bucs prepare to host the Giants this afternoon, our resident Bucs historian from London, Paul Stewart, gives us his top moments in their meetings, as archived on his Bucpower.com site.)

The all-time series with the Giants is now led 13-6 by the team from the Big Apple thanks to their wins in the last four encounters. Although the Bucs and Giants are in different divisions, they twice played each other home and away in a season thanks to the NFL’s original 5th place finish schedule. They also met in the 2007 Wild Card game that the Giants won on their way to winning the Super Bowl that season.

24 November 2003

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19 New York Giants 13

This was a Monday Night game so full of all the off-field antics and mayhem that happens to an NFL stadium when the iconic series arrives. The Bucs were defending Super Bowl champions so had three appearances in 2003 including an earlier one against the Colts that featured one of the worst losses in franchise history.

The 2003 Bucs were larger than life in so many ways and one of their most outspoken players, Keyshawn Johnson, had finally pushed the coaching staff too far in the week leading up to this game and was suspended for the remainder of the season. The Bucs could not afford to release him because of salary cap issues so for the final six weeks of the year, he was a gameday inactive. Naturally his absence was a major talking point for Al Michaels and John Madden.

On the field, the Bucs did not miss him at all in this win over the Giants. Little-used Charles Lee stepped up and had a 53-yard scoring pass from Brad Johnson as the Bucs jumped out to a 14-3 half-time lead and then sat back to allow their still mighty defense to pummel Giants’ QB Kerry Collins into two interceptions and three sacks.

“These guys have been scrutinized a lot,” said Coach Jon Gruden of his defense. “They did a great job when they needed to.”

6 January 2008

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 New York Giants 24

The Buccaneers have not made the post-season in 10 years and this was their last appearance. It was one last hurrah for some of the remaining Super Bowl defense as Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber appeared in an NFL play-off for the last time. And Jon Gruden would only last one more season before departing Tampa for the commentary booth.

Led by Jeff Garcia, the Bucs took an early lead and seemed on their way to earning their pre-game favourite title. But the wild-card Giants came back with 24 unanswered points and began a roll that would end with their stunning upset of the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Jon Gruden (photo post game above) had been critcised for resting many of his starters over the final two weeks of the regular season when the playoff berth was clinched but his players refused to use this as an excuse. “It wasn’t rust; we just didn’t play well,” LB Barrett Ruud said. “The question is always going to be did we get too much rest or should we have played more, but I think Bill Parcells said it best. ‘You’re not right unless you win.'”

16 September 2012

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34 New York Giants 41

You would think that a team passing for over 510 yards would be the lead story in the NFL. Not when Greg Schiano was the head coach of the Buccaneers. As the Giants moved into victory formation to take a knee and run out the final seconds of the game, Schiano ordered his defense to crash the line and try and force a fumble. It did not work and it led to a storm around the NFL that is remembered to this day.

Giants coach’ Tom Coughlin approached Schiano after the game with his finger pointed, walked away then returned to yell at him for about 15 seconds before shaking his hand. “I don’t think you do that at this level,” Coughlin said. “I don’t think you do that in this league.”

The Bucs led by two touchdowns nearing the end of the fourth quarter and then Eli Manning got going with his aerial attack. The most yards ever allowed by a Tampa Bay defense through the air and only three yards short of Phil Simms’ franchise record.

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Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Off the best pass-rushing season in Buccaneers history, potential free-agent defensive end Shaq Barrett was soaking things in Wednesday in Orlando.

That’s where the NFC and AFC top players have congregated for the 2020 Pro Bowl coming Sunday.

Barrett, who set the Buccaneers single-season sack record with 19.5 this past season, ended up being the lone Buccaneer able to play in the game. This, after receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have both had to bow out due to hamstring injuries.

Barrett got props on day one from one from Cardinals DE Chandler Jones, whom he battled for the sack title all the way down to the final Sunday of the season:

Barrett then got to hangout and sign autographs with the fans assembled at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The sixth year player out of Colorado State, who was originally undrafted but signed with the Broncos in 2014, then told the media, he’s looking for a big-money free-agent deal. And, further, his preference is that he stays in Tampa Bay.

After all, Barrett surpassed anyone’s expectation in 2019, while playing for a modest one-year free agent deal and betting on himself to cash-in. And now, after his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Bucs GM Jason Licht are done, it appears he will be making in the neighborhood of $18-20 million per year just like the top pass rushers in the NFL.

The Bucs also have the possibility of putting the franchise tag for 2020 on Barrett which would also be valued around that same amount for just the one season.

One final cool moment came Wednesday, where Barrett got introduced to a young Buccaneers fan who’s enduring tremendous family hardship with one parent battling cancer and another suffering from the debilitating ALS disease. After signing an autograph for the young man, Barrett gave him the surprise of his young life with two tickets to next weekend’s Super Bowl in Miami:

And just like that fantastic reward, Barrett will soon be similarly rewarded for his fantastic year and upcoming potential. And most likely, it will be in Tampa Bay for a long time.

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Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.

As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.

And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.

As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.

Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.

Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.

Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.

In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move

James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.

Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.

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