Scoreless after 1st quarter? Bucs had been 0-44
It's always impressive that the NFL plays 256 games in every regular season and you can still find things that don't happen for years at a time, or even once in the 41-year history of a franchise.
The Bucs won on Sunday despite not scoring a single point after the first quarter. This is hardly a recipe for NFL success -- the Bucs jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter, then played well enough on defense to pull off a 14-5 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Before Sunday, when the Bucs had failed to score a single point after the first quarter of a game, they had been 0-44 all-time. They were 0-11 in their first two seasons alone -- all shutout losses. The one other time they had a 14-0 lead after the first quarter and failed to score the rest of the game, more predictably, the Bucs lost 32-14 to the Patriots in 1985. To find a game in which the Bucs didn't score after the first quarter and even lost by less than 14 points, you have to go clear back to 1984 and a 13-7 overtime loss to the Lions. Since then, 26 times it's happened, all Bucs losses by at least 14.
The Bucs generally don't get shut out like that -- since the start of the 2014 season, Tampa Bay only had one other game where they failed to score after the first quarter -- this year's 27-7 loss to the Broncos.
Across the NFL, it's fairly rare to not score after the opening period and still win. In the last 30 years -- that's roughly 7,500 games -- it's happened just nine times. Arizona won 14-6 against the Lions in 2014, and that's the only other time it's happened since the start of the 2013 season.
It's actually happened twice against the Bucs -- in 1999, the Vikings got three touchdowns from Randall Cunningham (two to Randy Moss) and led the Bucs 21-0 after one quarter, holding on for a 21-14 win. In 2002, in the last loss the Bucs would take before winning the Super Bowl, Pittsburgh jumped out to a 17-0 lead and ended up winning 17-7 against the Bucs. There's even a third game against the Bucs that's close -- Atlanta was up 10-0 after one quarter in 2008, and didn't score again until overtime in a 13-10 win over Tampa Bay, with Mike Smith getting the win as rookie NFL head coach.
Had the Bucs not held on, it would have been the first time in 13 years they'd led by at least 14 points after the first quarter and lost. The last time that happened was that memorable Monday night game in 2003 when they led the Colts 35-14 with four minutes to play and lost 38-35 in overtime. They've only had 14-point leads at the end of the first quarter twice since -- and none since 2008 -- before Sunday's game.
Seattle, along the same lines, hasn't overcome a 14-point deficit after the first quarter but one time in the last 18 years -- they trailed the Lions 17-0 in a 2009 game and rallied to win 32-20, but otherwise, they'd been 0-7 when trailing by 14 or more after the opening quarter.