TAMPA, FL. – A 9-0 defeat at the hands of NFC South rival New Orleans on Sunday night marked the first time the Buccaneers were held off the scoreboard in almost exactly nine years. It was December 16, 2012, at New Orleans when Tampa Bay suffered a 41-0 whitewash.
It was once common for the Bucs to be blanked. They failed to score five times in their inaugural season of 1976 and on six occasions in 1977, an era when the NFL had a 14-game schedule.
Alas, times change and so have the rules, which favor the offense. Shutouts simply do not happen much these days. In fact, the loss to the Saints marked only the fifth time this century that the Buccaneers failed to score.
Here is a look at those five games.
December 19, 2021 vs. New Orleans, 9-0
The Bucs’ deepest penetration was the Saints’ 21-yard line. Following a sack of Tom Brady that moved the ball back to the 27, Ryan Succop was wide left on a 45-yard field goal attempt with 6:25 remaining in the second quarter. That proved to be their best chance to score on an evening when Tampa Bay had 17 first downs and 302 total yards. Tom Brady’s fumble at the New Orleans 22 late in the third quarter and his fourth-quarter interception were the game’s only turnovers.
December 16, 2012 at New Orleans, 41-0
The Bucs’ offense actually churned out solid numbers in New Orleans: 20 first downs and 386 yards. Their undoing, however, was the fact they turned the ball over five times. Josh Freeman threw four interceptions with each one coming inside the Saints’ 20-yard line. Drew Brees, meanwhile, threw four touchdown passes. He also threw four TD passes in a 35-28 win over the Bucs earlier in the season.
September 27, 2009 vs. Giants, 24-0
The Bucs equaled a team record by recording only first downs while totaling 86 yards in the loss to the Giants. It was the last time they were shut out at Raymond James Stadium prior to Sunday night. Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson combined to throw for all of 58 yards. Johnson had a 15-yard run that equaled the team’s longest play and accounted for more than half of the Bucs’ 28 rushing yards. He led the Bucs on a 71-yard drive in the fourth quarter that stalled at the Giants’ five-yard line.
September 10, 2006 vs. Ravens, 27-0
The season-opening loss was a sign of things to come during a season in which the Bucs failed to score as many as 10 points six times. Chris Simms threw three interceptions on a day the offense managed all of 142 yards and eight first downs. The running game could only produce 26 yards with a seven-yard run by Cadillac Williams the longest of the day for Tampa Bay.
December 17, 2005 at New England, 28-0
The Bucs were 7-for-16 on third downs, which is quite a feat considering they managed only 138 yards in the defeat. Chris Simms was sacked seven times and running back Cadillac Williams was held to 23 yards on 14 carries. The Bucs started only one drive in New England territory. That was in the third quarter and the result was a failure to convert a 4th-and-1 from the Pats’ 33.
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