Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is not exactly a matchup that many people consider to be particularly heated. But the Buccaneers have played the Redskins well in the past, and the two teams have joined for some superb games.
So here's a review of four memorable games (from agonizing to positively joyful) between these two teams in what has become a very underrated rivalry.
2010: Buccaneers 17, Redskins 16
Every few years, there is a loss that you can't wrap your head around. It's just so inconceivable that your team could have possibly found a way to lose the game.
This game fell under that category, and then some.
In front of the smallest FedEx Field crowd in almost a decade, the Redskins entered with a 5-8 record, looking to play spoiler against a surprising 8-5 Tampa Bay squad. The game was pretty evenly matched throughout. The Redskins gained 399 yards to the Bucs' 365. Ryan Torain had a career day for Washington with 172 yards on 24 carries.
But this game was lost on special teams. In what was ultimately a one-point loss, Graham Gano missed two field goals. After Donovan McNabb found Santana Moss for a six-yard touchdown with nine seconds left, the snap on the extra point was fumbled by punter Hunter Smith, sealing the Redskins' fate.
It's hard to imagine a more agonizing loss than one where the team scores with no time left, then botches the simplest play in the sport. This loss was terrible.
2007: Buccaneers 19, Redskins 13
The first thing I remember about this game is how insignificant it seemed two days later when Sean Taylor was shot and killed in Miami. No game could possibly make me feel worse than the loss of one of my favorite players of all time.
As for the game, it was one of the most frustrating games I had ever seen (this seems to happen a lot against Tampa Bay). The Redskins absolutely dominated the game, out-gaining the Bucs 412-192 in total yards.
There's only one way to lose a game when you dominate the flow of play like that.
The Redskins managed to turn the ball over six times (yes, six) on four fumbles and two interceptions. At the end of the first half, Tampa Bay led 19-3 and it was essentially over for Jason Campbell and company.
2005: Buccaneers 36, Redskins 35
This was one of the best games I have ever seen, and it was the game that really sparked a dislike for the Buccaneers.
The Redskins needed the win. Washington was 5-4 and needed to win every game it could to make the playoffs. It was a back-and-forth affair. That week's Public Enemy No. 1, Mike Alstott, ran for two short touchdowns for the Bucs, and Ladell Betts took a kickoff 94 yards to the house for the Skins. At halftime, the score was 21-13 in favor of Tampa Bay.
After a wild second half, the score stood 35-28 for Washington. Then the controversy began. Bucs quarterback Chris Simms found Edell Shepherd for a 30-yard touchdown with more than a minute remaining in the game to make is 35-34 Redskins.
Bucs coach Jon Gruden decided he had the players execute a gutsy two-point conversion call to win the game. Mike Alstott, who had terrorized the Redskins all day, took a handoff up the middle and appeared to be stopped, but made a tremendous second effort to break the plane of the goal line.
On the review, it seemed Alstott had been stopped short, but there was no conclusive evidence. The Redskins got the ball back with 58 seconds left and ended up losing in agonizing fashion, 36-35.
2005: Redskins 17, Buccaneers 10
This one game made up for all of the others. While the Buccaneers have beaten the Redskins often in the last few years, the burgundy and gold got the better of Tampa Bay when it really mattered.
This game was not well played offensively. Mark Brunell went 7-of-15 for 41 yards, and the Redskins gained only 120 yards total. But it was the defense that came up big. LaVar Arrington had an interception to set up a Clinton Portis score. Sean Taylor scooped up a fumble and served up an emphatic 51-yard return for a touchdown.
The Redskins' 120 yards of offense were a playoff record for the lowest amount of yards gained by a winning team.
It was the Redskins' sixth straight win, and it was in doubt at the end. Simms found Shepherd for a beautiful touchdown near the end that would have tied the game, but the ball just barely came loose when Shepherd hit the ground. The Redskins went on to win 17-10 for the team's first playoff win since 1999.