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Scotty Miller sighting caps memorable regular-season finale

Absent nearly the entire season, the speedster scores on a 33-yard run.
Bucs wide receiver Scott Miller (10) scores on a 33-yard run during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs wide receiver Scott Miller (10) scores on a 33-yard run during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Raymond James Stadium. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jan. 10
Updated Jan. 10

TAMPA — Nearly a year after entering Buccaneers lore with his 39-yard touchdown catch in the NFC title game, Scotty Miller finally had an encore moment.

Even if by default.

Mysteriously relegated to the bottom of the receiver depth chart, Miller was summoned Sunday when Cyril Grayson suffered a hamstring injury and scored on a 33-yard end-around in the fourth quarter of the Bucs’ 41-17 romp. Miller finished with 43 yards on two carries and a 9-yard reception — only his fifth of the season.

“Other guys were in there, and it’s tough,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “We’ve got a great (receiver) room; that one’s tough. You earn your snaps by performing, and he did a hell of a job (Sunday).”

A 500-yard receiver in 2020, Miller’s scoring catch from Tom Brady with a second to play in the first half against the Packers in the conference title game gave the Bucs an 11-point lead they wouldn’t relinquish. He had only two catches this season before missing seven games with turf toe.

“I love seeing him roll,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “He’s a great player. To see the ball in his hands was a great thing to see (Sunday), especially with that touchdown run he had.”

Deckerhoff’s streak ends

On the same day they won a franchise-record 13th regular-season game and the NFC’s No. 2 playoff seed, the Bucs did suffer one significant loss.

Their voice.

Radio play-by-play icon Gene Deckerhoff, 76, missed Sunday’s contest — along with longtime analyst Dave Moore — due to COVID-19 protocols, the Bucs confirmed. Sideline reporter T.J. Rives and former Bucs tight end Anthony Becht, who called Saturday night’s Cowboys-Eagles game in Philadelphia for Westwood One Sports, filled in.

The game was the first missed by Deckerhoff — playoffs or regular season — since he began calling Bucs games in 1989, when Ray Perkins was coach.

Injury update

Seven days after his game-winning touchdown catch against the Jets and less than 24 hours after being signed to the active roster, Grayson’s day ended prematurely.

The former LSU relay specialist, one of the Bucs’ feel-good stories of the stretch run, injured his left hamstring on a play away from the ball on the second quarter’s fifth play. He headed for the locker room and didn’t re-enter. A quarter later, he was joined on the sideline by cornerback Jamel Dean, who also tweaked a hamstring.

Arians said he’s hopeful Dean’s injury isn’t serious but indicated Grayson is more of a wait-and-see situation.

By the numbers

Bucs running back Le'Veon Bell (6) smiles as he celebrates his 1-yard touchdown catch on the final drive of the second quarter of Sunday's 41-17 triumph at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs running back Le'Veon Bell (6) smiles as he celebrates his 1-yard touchdown catch on the final drive of the second quarter of Sunday's 41-17 triumph at Raymond James Stadium. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
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2 Players with more consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons than Mike Evans, who now has eight. Jerry Rice had 11. Tim Brown had nine

3 100-yard receiving games this season by Gronkowski, tying Jimmie Giles (1985) for the most such games by a Bucs tight end in a single season

16 Multi-touchdown games by Evans since entering the league in 2014, tying Davante Adams for the second-most such games during that span

31 Regular-season wins by Arians, most in a three-season stretch by any coach in franchise history

90 Players who have caught a TD pass from Brady, most of any NFL quarterback ever. Le’Veon Bell became No. 90 in the first half.

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