Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 Hall of Famers: How they fared against the Bucs

Another class of NFL greats will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday night, and it's more of an AFC-dominated class, which means less memories of games against the Bucs over the years.

If you want a good example of how good the Bucs defense was on the way to Tampa Bay's Super Bowl run, consider the career of 2017 enshrinee Kurt Warner. The Bucs are the only NFL opponent that Warner faced more than once and never beat in the regular season -- he went 0-4 against Tampa Bay in regular-season games. His career numbers -- three touchdowns against 11 interceptions -- are his worst against any NFL team. The only other teams where his TD/INT ratio is anything worse than a minus-1 are the Panthers (12 TD, 18 INT) and Eagles (6 TD, 9 INT).

Of course, Warner beat the Bucs in the 1999 NFC championship game, throwing the winning touchdown to Ricky Proehl with 4:44 left for an 11-6 win. The Bucs intercepted him three times in that game, and came one Bert Emanuel controversial non-catch from getting a chance to win in the final minute. Instead, Warner and the Rams went on to win a Super Bowl that season. Warner nearly won another Super Bowl in Tampa in 2009, but the Steelers rallied to beat his Cardinals that night.

There were memorable Bucs losses for Warner, too.

-- In 2000, he threw a go-ahead touchdown -- 72 yards to Torry Holt -- with 5:18 left, only to see the Bucs win 38-35 on a Warrick Dunn touchdown with 48 seconds left. John Lynch sealed the win with an interception with 0:25 left, Warner's third of the day.

-- In 2001, Warner and the Rams lost 24-19. Again, the game was tied in the fourth quarter before the Bucs won on a Dunn touchdown. Lynch again had a sealing interception with 2:36 left to put the win away.

-- In 2002, on the way to the Bucs' Super Bowl, Tampa Bay beat Warner's Rams 26-14, and he had zero touchdowns against four interceptions, something he did only twice in his career. In a tight game, Brian Kelly intercepted him and took it to the 1-yard line, and then Derrick Brooks had a pick-six with 0:59 left to clinch the win.

-- In 2007, Warner was with Arizona and lost 17-10 to the Bucs, completing just 10 of 30 passes with two interceptions, matching the lowest QB rating of any game in his career. It still took an interception by Jermaine Phillips with 2:31 left to seal the win.

Here's how the rest of the Hall of Fame class fared against the Bucs:

Jason Taylor, Dolphins: Taylor went 1-3 against Tampa Bay, with quiet games in losses in 1997, 2000 and 2005, just a half-sack total in those games. Miami won in 2009, and Taylor had an interception, picking off Josh Freeman from the Tampa Bay 4-yard line, sparking a 10-0 run that turned a 9-6 Dolphins lead to 19-6 in the final 85 seconds of the first half.

LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers: LT went 2-0 against the Bucs, rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown in a 2004 win, then rushing for 90 yards in a 2008 win.

Terrell Davis, Broncos: Davis went 1-1 against the Bucs -- in 1996, he rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown in a 27-23 win, scoring the winning touchdown with 3:32 left. He faced the Bucs when Denver was the defending Super Bowl champion in 1999 and managed only 53 yards on 19 carries in a 13-10 Bucs win.

Morten Andersen: Andersen played in 382 games, the most of any player in NFL history, but the very first came against the Bucs in 1982, and he had his first career field goal in the game. Andersen went 12-7 in his career against Tampa Bay, going 26-for-34 on field goals (just 76 percent) and a perfect 38-for-38 on extra points. Sometimes, he beat the Bucs all by himself, like a 1994 game where the Saints edged Tampa Bay 9-7, scoring on three Andersen field goals.

Jerry Jones, Cowboys: Dallas has gone 8-4 against the Bucs since Jones bought the team in 1989, including a Dallas win on the Cowboys' home field last season and a surprising 10-6 Bucs win in Tampa two years ago.

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