|2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season|
|Head coach||Tony Dungy|
|General manager||Rich McKay|
|Home field||Raymond James Stadium|
|Division place||2nd NFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Eagles) 3-21|
|Team MVP||LB Derrick Brooks|
The 2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was the franchise's 25th season in the National Football League.
The season began with the team trying to improve on an 11-5 season from 1999. Shaun King, who took over the quarterback position as a rookie midway through the 1999 season, became the full-time starter for 2000. In April, the Buccaneers acquired wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson via a trade from the Jets. It was a highly publicized transaction, which made Johnson the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL, and increased expectations for the club.
The team jumped out of the gate with convincing wins to start 3-0. But they stumbled over the next several weeks and slipped to 3-4. In week 9, Tampa Bay beat then-undefeated Minnesota with an explosive game which turned the season in the right direction. They won seven out of their next eight games, and looked poised to return to the playffs for the third time in four seasons. In Week 16, the Buccaneers won one of the more notable games in the history of Monday Night Football against the St. Louis Rams. It was a rematch of the previous season's NFC Championship Game. However, instead of the defensive struggle of the previous meeting, it was a 38-35 shootout with the Bucs prevailing and clinching a wild card spot.
In the final week of the regular season, the Buccaneers faced Green Bay, with the NFC Central title on the line. With a victory at Lambeau Field, the Buccaneers were poised to win the division, and secure a first round bye for the playoffs. After a rally to tie the game in the fourth quarter, kicker Martin Gramatica missed a game-winning field goal attempt at the end of regulation. The Buccaneers lost the game in overtime, and failed to win the division. The dejected club fell to the #5 seed, and was routed by Philadelphia in the Wild Card Game, 21-3.
|2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft|
|5||157||James Whalen||Tight end||Kentucky|
|7||234||Joe Hamilton||Quarterback||Georgia Tech|
|Made roster * Made at least one Pro Bowl during career|
|John Blick||Tackle||Penn State|
|Todd Yoder||Tight End||Vanderbilt|
|1||September 3, 2000||at New England Patriots||W 21-16||FOX|
|2||September 10, 2000||Chicago Bears||W 41-0||FOX|
|3||September 17, 2000||at Detroit Lions||W 31-10||FOX|
|4||September 24, 2000||New York Jets||L 21-17||CBS|
|5||October 1, 2000||at Washington Redskins||L 20-17 (OT)||FOX|
|6||October 9, 2000||at Minnesota Vikings||L 30-23||ABC|
|8||October 19, 2000||Detroit Lions||L 28-14||ESPN|
|9||October 29, 2000||Minnesota Vikings||W 41-13||FOX|
|10||November 5, 2000||at Atlanta Falcons||W 27-14||FOX|
|11||November 12, 2000||Green Bay Packers||W 20-15||FOX|
|12||November 19, 2000||at Chicago Bears||L 13-10||FOX|
|13||November 26, 2000||Buffalo Bills||W 31-17||CBS|
|14||December 3, 2000||Dallas Cowboys||W 27-7||FOX|
|15||December 10, 2000||at Miami Dolphins||W 16-13||FOX|
|16||December 18, 2000||St. Louis Rams||W 38-35||ABC|
|17||December 24, 2000||at Green Bay Packers||L 17-14 (OT)||FOX|
|(5)Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10||6||0||.625||388||269||L1|
|Green Bay Packers||9||7||0||.563||353||323||W4|
With time running out before halftime, Shaun King drove the Buccaneers to the New England 8-yard line. Faking a spike play (the Dan Marino "Clock Play"), King lofted a pass to Reidel Anthony scoring a surprise 8-yard touchdown pass. The Tampa Bay defense sacked Drew Bledsoe six times, and recovered a fumble to hold a 21-16 lead late in the game. With 14 seconds remaining, at their own 22-yard line, the defense forced four straight incompletions, and held on for the victory.
Tampa Bay crushed the visiting Bears 41-0, setting a franchise record for a shutout. After a scoreless first quarter, the Buccaneers scored 20 points in the second quarter. Shaun King finished the day with two touchdown passes and one touchdown run. The Buccaneers won their home opener, and started the season 2-0.
Shaun King passed for 211 yards, one touchdown pass, and had a 6-yard touchdown run, as Tampa Bay beat Detroit at the Silverdome. The Buccaneers defense held the Lions to only 17 yards rushing, and made two interceptions.
Tampa Bay entered week four undefeated at 3-0. Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson had been traded to the Buccaneers over the offseason, and for the first time, would meet his former club, the New York Jets. Johnson was vocal in the days leading up to the game, publicly ripping former teammate Wayne Chrebet by contrasting himself as "a star while (Chrebet) is a flashlight."
In the rain, quarterback Shaun King struggled, but led the Buccaneers to a 10-6 lead at halftime. In the first quarter, King went long for Jacquez Green, who caught it as two Jets defenders misplayed the ball, and went down the sideline for what appeared to be an 86-yard touchdown, but he was ruled out at the 11 and the Bucs settled for a field goal. The Bucs' touchdown came on a sensational one-handed catch by tight end Dave Moore. Near the end of the first half, King threw his first interception of the season in Bucs territory, but survived the setback without it leading to points as Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde threw an interception of his own two plays later.
In the third quarter, Ronde Barber returned a Testaverde interception 37 yards to extend the lead to 17-6. It looked like the Bucs would hold as linebacker Jamie Duncan intercepted another pass for Testaverde's third interception of the game in the fourth quarter. Vinny Testaverde played so poorly that he was benched for one drive with Ray Lucas, but after he too failed to generate much offense, Testaverde was given one more chance with 5:01 to go. Finally he stepped up, leading the Jets inside the 10. With two minutes to go, Testaverde scored a 6-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Martin. Martin followed with a two-point conversion run to narrow the score to 17-14. On the ensuing drive, Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott lost a fumble, and it was recovered by the Jets. With 52 seconds remaining, Jets offensive coordinator Dan Henning called for a halfback option pass. Testaverde flipped the ball to Curtis Martin, who then executed a halfback option pass to Wayne Chrebet to score an improbable game-winning touchdown, and a 21-17 final score.
After considerable media attention going into the game, Keyshawn Johnson was held to one catch for 1 yard, which came on a shovel pass. In light of the attention that was placed on the matchup, and the embarrassing last-minute loss, the game eventually became known as the "Keyshawn Bowl."
With just under 4 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Washington went up by a score of 17-7. With 3:36 to go, Shaun King faced 3rd & 10 at the Washington 46. King was stripped of the ball, and fumbled. He recovered the ball, picked it up, and threw an improbable 46-yard touchdown pass to Reidel Anthony. With 43 seconds remaining, the Buccaneers blocked a field goal by the Redskins, and recovered the ball at the 25. Martin Gramatica kicked a game-tying 42-yard field goal as time expired in regulation, and sent the game to overtime. In the overtime period, Deion Sanders returned a Tampa Bay punt 57 yards, setting the Redskins up for a game winning 20-yard field goal.
Tampa Bay fell to their division rival Minnesota on Monday Night Football. With 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers blocked a field goal attempt. Donnie Abraham returned the ball 53-yards for a touchdown, and a 23-20 lead.
Trailing 27-23 with just under 9 minutes left, Shaun King drove the Buccaneers to the Minnesota 47-yard line. On 4th down & 1, a trick play saw Mike Alstott loft a pass to Todd Yoder, but it fell incomplete. Tampa Bay lost by a score of 30-23, and dropped their third straight game, falling to 3-3.
Tampa Bay hosted Detroit on a Thursday night game. A 9-0 lead was fizzled away as Lions running back James Stewart rushed for 116 yards, three touchdowns, and a two-point conversion. Shaun King threw three interceptions in the second half, and Tampa Bay fell to 3-4.
Tampa Bay snapped a four-game losing streak by beating their division rivals the Minnesota Vikings in their second meeting of the season. Shaun King threw for 267 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Derrick Brooks added a 34-yard interception return. With the victory, Tampa Bay stopped the Vikings then-undefeated season for the second time in three years.
Keyshawn Johnson scored two touchdown catches as Tampa Bay beat Atlanta at the Georgia Dome. The Buccaneers held a 27-7 lead until a "garbage time" touchdown with 3 seconds to go trimmed the margin slightly.
Tampa Bay pulled out to a 14-3 halftime lead against Green Bay. In the third quarter, Warren Sapp sacked Brett Favre, and knocked him out of the game with a sprained foot. Martin Gramatica saved the game for the Buccaneers, connecting on two long field goals (54, 51 yards) in the fourth quarter.
Tampa Bay gained less than 200 yards of offense and allowed 7 sacks, but so-called "Buc Ball" still prevailed over the visiting Bills. Warrick Dunn scored two rushing touchdowns, Karl "The Truth" Williams scored a 73-yard punt return touchdown, and Derrick Brooks had an outstanding day with 20 tackles.
The game proved more competitive than the final score indicated. The score was 10-7 at the end of three quarters. Dunn's first touchdown made the score 17-7, when the Bills responded when future Bucs backup QB Rob Johnson threw a touchdown to Eric Moulds. Williams's punt return made the score 24-14 late. On the ensuing possession for the Bills, Brooks wrapped up Johnson and violently threw him to the ground with a hit that knocked him out of the game, but miraculously, Johnson flipped the ball to Shawn Bryson and a sure sack became a 15-yard gain to set up a field goal to make it 24-17 with about 2:30 to go. The Bills attempted an onside kick, but the Bucs recovered. Dunn's game clinching touchdown run came two plays later.
Tampa Bay scored 17 points in the first quarter, and dominated the visiting Cowboys. Running back Warrick Dunn finished with two touchdowns and 210 rushing yards, just 9 short of the team single-game record. Dunn's 76-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was a franchise record at the time.
Tampa Bay traveled to take on their in-state rivals, the Miami Dolphins. The game was important for both teams, as the Dolphins would clinch an AFC playoff berth with a win, and the Buccaneers needed to win to maintain their berth in the NFC wild card hunt. Steady rain made for sloppy conditions, but the Buccaneer defense dominated the game. Tampa Bay intercepted Jay Fiedler four times, and forced a fumble midway through the fourth quarter. With just over 8 minutes remaining, Martin Gramatica made a 46-yard field goal in the pouring rain, and the Buccaneers held on to win.
With less than three minutes to play, the Dolphins, trailing by 3, entered Buccaneers territory but were unable to advance the ball any further. A Matt Turk punt pinned the Buccaneers at their own 2 yard line. Facing 3rd down & 7 at the 5 yard line, Shaun King threw a screen pass to Warrick Dunn from the end zone. The Dolphins defense nearly tackled him at the goal line, but Dunn broke free and got back to the line of scrimmage, avoiding a safety. On the next play, Mark Royals boomed a 54-yard punt, and good coverage kept the Dolphins starting at midfield rather than needing a single first down to get into field goal range with 2:08 left. A pass interference call against Brian Kelly put the ball at the 24 yard line and in kicker Olindo Mare's range when Fiedler made the worst play of the day. Fiedler dropped back and threw the ball away while he was still in the tackle box, resulting in an intentional grounding penalty. The penalty pushed the Dolphins only to the brink of Mare's range, and on the next play, Fiedler threw his fourth interception.
With 5:18 to go, Kurt Warner connected with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Torry Holt to take a 35-31 lead. Tampa Bay, with no timeouts remaining, started their next drive at their own 20-yard line, with a playoff berth on the line for both teams. Quarterback Shaun King led the team on a remarkable 80-yard drive to win 38-35. The drive included a swing pass play from King to Warrick Dunn, which lost 14 yards, but Dunn pitched the ball backwards back to King, who scrambled 29 yards for a first down.
The win secured, at minimum, a wild card playoff spot for Tampa Bay, and is regarded as one of the greatest regular season games in Buccaneer history.
On Christmas Eve, Tampa Bay traveled to Lambeau Field to meet the division rival Green Bay Packers. A Tampa Bay win, coupled with a loss by Minnesota would clinch the NFC Central title for the Buccaneers, as well as a first-round bye in the playoffs. In addition, a win by the Buccaneers would break an 11-game losing streak at Green Bay dating back to 1989, and an 0-18 record in games under 40 °F (4 °C).
On a frigid, windy, snowy, 18° day, Green Bay took a 14-0 lead, while Tampa Bay's offense sputtered. Shaun King narrowed the Buccaneers to a 14-3 deficit to start the fourth quarter, but it was the Buccaneer defense which kept the team in the game. King finally got the offense going, and drove 74 yards for Tampa Bay's first touchdown. A two-point conversion try appeared to be a busted play salvaged with some trickery. King handed off to Warrick Dunn, who handed off to Mike Alstott, but pitched the ball back to King, who crossed the endzone, and made the score 14-11 with just over nine minutes remaining.
On Green Bay's next drive, John Lynch intercepted Brett Favre, and returned the ball to the Packers' 35-yard line. After going 3-and-out, coach Tony Dungy took a timeout to decide whether to go for it on 4th & 1. After consideration, Martin Gramatica was brought in for a field goal try, and the score was tied 14-14 with just under 8 minutes remaining.
Late in the fourth quarter, Favre drove the Packers into Tampa Bay territory, looking to win the game. With 1:54 to go in regulation, Favre was intercepted by Jamie Duncan at the Tampa Bay 28, and Duncan returned the ball 15 yards to the Green Bay 43. In just over a minute and a half, King drove the Buccaneers to the Green Bay 22-yard line. With 13 seconds to go, Gramatica attempted a potential game-winning 40-yard field goal, but the kick sailed wide right. The game went into overtime, and the Packers won the coin toss. On the first drive of overtime, kicker Ryan Longwell won the game for Green Bay.
The loss was devastating for Tampa Bay, especially when Minnesota lost later that afternoon. After forcing four turnovers, and battling back from a 14-point deficit, Tampa Bay's postseason outlook changed dramatically. Instead of winning their division and securing a first-round bye (and a legitimate shot at a "home game" for Super Bowl XXXV held at their very own Raymond James Stadium), the Buccaneers instead saw themselves fall to a wild card, having to play on the road at the Eagles. The loss also meant Tampa Bay fell to 0-19 in games under 40 °F., and their losing streak at Green Bay extended to 11 games. Afterwards, Gramatica took blame for the loss saying "It hurts because I let the guys down."
The Eagles defense held Tampa Bay to only 199 total yards and 11 first downs. The Buccaneers scored first early in the second quarter with Martin Gramatica's 29-yard field goal. But late in the period, the Eagles' Hugh Douglas forced Tampa Bay quarterback Shaun King to fumble, and Mike Mamula recovered the loose ball at the Buccaneers 15-yard line. The turnover set up Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb's 5-yard touchdown run. Tampa Bay then punted on their next possession and the Eagles marched 69 yards on 8 plays to take a 14-3 lead on Na Brown's 5-yard touchdown reception with 12 seconds left in the half. Philadelphia then shut out the Buccaneers in the second half, while McNabb threw a 2-yard pass to Jeff Thomason with less than a minute left in the game to seal the victory. The Eagles' victory meant for the 35th consecutive year that the team hosting the Super Bowl would not be playing in it.