|2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season|
|Head coach||Jon Gruden|
|Home field||Raymond James Stadium|
|Division place||1st NFC South|
|Playoff finish||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (vs. Redskins) 10-17|
|Team MVP||RB Cadillac Williams|
|Team ROY||RB Cadillac Williams|
The 2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was the franchise's 30th season in the National Football League the 8th playing their home games at Raymond James Stadium, and the 4th under head coach Jon Gruden. The season began with the team trying to improve on their 5-11 record in 2004 and The Bucs made a complete rebound from last season to make the playoffs since 2002 with an 11-5 record. Cadillac Williams won Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Bucs would lose in the Wild-Card playoff game at home to the 10-6 Redskins.
In the 2005 season, the Bucs returned to their winning ways. The Buccaneers selected Carnell "Cadillac" Williams in the first round of the 2005 draft, and the rookie would provide a running game the Buccaneers hadn't possessed since the days of James Wilder Sr. in the 1980s. Williams set the NFL record for most yards rushing in his first three games with 474, and was named as the AP's 2005 Offensive Rookie of the Year. His shoes and gloves from the third game of the season are now on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
With their 2005 campaign marking the Buccaneers' 30th Season in the NFL, the team won their first four games before entering a midseason slump hampered by a season-ending injury to starting QB Brian Griese during a win over the Miami Dolphins. Replacement starter Chris Simms struggled early as the Bucs lost games to the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, but Simms came into his own when he led the team to a last-minute win over the Washington Redskins in a 36-35 thriller to break that slump. In a gutsy move, Gruden went for the win with a two-point conversion plunge by fullback Mike Alstott. A booth review of that play was inconclusive, and Redskins coach Joe Gibbs stated after the game his belief that Alstott had not scored.
The Buccaneers followed up with important wins over their NFC South division rivals, sweeping both the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, as well as defeating the Panthers in a rare victory at Carolina. Even with a tough loss against the Chicago Bears and a humiliating shutout against the New England Patriots, the Bucs finished 11-5 and won the NFC South by virtue of a tie-breaker over the Panthers. The Buccaneers' 30th Anniversary season would end on a sour note, as they lost 17-10 at home to the Redskins in the wild-card round. An apparent late Bucs touchdown pass from Chris Simms to Edell Shepherd could have tied the game, but the play was ruled incomplete when a booth review upheld the referee's decision.
The Buccaneers sent three veteran players to the 2006 Pro Bowl, including cornerback Ronde Barber and punter Josh Bidwell. Outside linebacker Derrick Brooks was named the Pro Bowl MVP, with a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown.
|1||September 11||at Minnesota Vikings||W 24-13||1-0||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||Recap|
|2||September 18||Buffalo Bills||W 19-3||2-0||Raymond James Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 25||at Green Bay Packers||W 17-16||3-0||Lambeau Field||Recap|
|4||October 2||Detroit Lions||W 17-13||4-0||Raymond James Stadium||Recap|
|5||October 9||at New York Jets||L 12-14||4-1||The Meadowlands||Recap|
|6||October 16||Miami Dolphins||W 27-13||5-1||Raymond James Stadium||Recap|
|8||October 30||at San Francisco 49ers||L 10-15||5-2||Monster Park||Recap|
|9||November 6||Carolina Panthers||L 14-34||5-3||Raymond James Stadium||Recap|
|10||November 13||Washington Redskins||W 36-35||6-3||Raymond James Stadium||Recap|
|11||November 20||at Atlanta Falcons||W 30-27||7-3||Georgia Dome||Recap|
|12||November 27||Chicago Bears||L 10-13||7-4||Raymond James Stadium||Recap|
|13||December 4||at New Orleans Saints||W 10-3||8-4||Tiger Stadium||Recap|
|14||December 11||at Carolina Panthers||W 20-10||9-4||Bank of America Stadium||Recap|
|15||at New England Patriots||L 0-28||9-5||Gillette Stadium||Recap|
|16||Atlanta Falcons||W 27-24 (OT)||10-5||Raymond James Stadium||Recap|
|17||January 1||New Orleans Saints||W 27-13||11-5||Raymond James Stadium||Recap|
Rookie Cadillac Williams rushed for 148 yards, including a game-clinching 71-yard touchdown run with 1:23 remaining. Starting quarterback Brian Griese threw touchdowns to Alex Smith. Tampa Bay snapped a four-game losing streak dating back to the 2004 season.
Tampa Bay won for the first time at Lambeau Field since 1989, led by Cadillac Williams's 158 rushing yards. Williams went over 100 yards for the first three games, totaling an NFL record 434 yards for a rookie's first three starts. A missed extra point by Green Bay early in the game proved to be the deciding margin.
Tampa Bay led 17-13 late in the game as Detroit drove to the Tampa Bay 12-yard line. An apparent game-winning touchdown pass from Joey Harrington to Marcus Pollard was called for an instant replay review. After review, the play was ruled incomplete, as Pollard was out-of-bounds, and Tampa Bay held on to win, and improve to 4-0. Cadillac Williams was held to just 13 yards, and suffered a hamstring injury.
Tampa Bay returned to their winning ways, but quarterback Brian Griese was lost for the season with a knee injury.
Tampa Bay broke their two-game losing streak, and mid-season slump, with a shootout victory against the Washington Redskins. Trailing 28-35 with one minute to go, Chris Simms connected with Edell Shepherd for a 30-yard touchdown pass. As the teams lined up for the game-tying extra point, a Washington defender flinched and prompted a delay-of-game penalty. The five-yard penalty was applied to the ensuing kickoff. As the two teams lined up for the second attempt at the extra point, two Washington defenders jumped offsides and blocked Matt Bryant's extra point kick. The play was ruled dead, and officials enforced a penalty half the distance to the goal line. The ball was placed at the 1-yard line for yet another conversion attempt. Tampa Bay sent the offensive unit back on the field, and decided this time, to attempt a two-point conversion. Fullback Mike Alstott hit the pile up the middle, but a second effort allowed him to cross the goal line and Tampa Bay took a 36-35 lead. Officials called for an instant replay, but the video evidence was inconclusive, and the play was upheld.
With 1:55 left, Cadillac Williams tied the game 27-27 with a 9-yard touchdown run. Derrick Brooks then sacked Michael Vick, and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Shelton Quarles. With 42 seconds remaining, Matt Bryant kicked a game-winning 45-yard field goal.
New Orleans hosted Tampa Bay at Tiger Stadium. The game was relocated from the Louisiana Superdome due to Hurricane Katrina. The Tampa Bay defense dominated, and the Buccaneers came away with a 10-3 victory, a key intra-division win.
With 11:47 remaining in the fourth quarter, Ronde Barber intercepted Jake Delhomme, which set up a Carnell Williams touchdown. The Buccaneers held on to win 20-10, breaking a five-game losing streak to Carolina, evened the season series 1-1, and moved into a tie for the NFC South lead.
The Buccaneers suffered their worst shutout since 1999, falling 28-0 to New England. Chris Simms was sacked seven times in the defeat. For Gruden, it was his first loss to the Patriots since the Tuck Rule Game in 2001 and it would be the last time he coached against the Patriots until the 2020 season, this time as the head coach of the Raiders.
Tampa Bay and Atlanta met on Christmas Eve with playoff berths for both teams at stake. The game turned into a shootout, and Atlanta led 24-17 late in the fourth quarter. Facing 4th down and 1, and trailing by 7, Cadillac Williams scored a 6-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds remaining. In overtime, Tampa Bay won the coin toss and elected to receive. Edell Shepherd, however, fumbled the opening kickoff, and Atlanta recovered at the Buccaneers' 18-yard line. Fans began to leave the stadium as Atlanta lined up for a chip-shot 20 yard game-winning field goal attempt. Todd Peterson's field goal was blocked by Dewayne White, and Tampa Bay recovered. Fans were seen scrambling back to their seats as the Buccaneer's hopes for victory were still alive.
Tampa Bay quickly drove to the Atlanta 9-yard line, and lined up for a game-winning field goal try. Matt Bryant's kick sailed wide left, though, and the game continued. Both teams traded punts, then Atlanta punted to Tampa Bay with 1:08 remaining in overtime. Tampa Bay drove to the 23-yard line, and avoided a tie when Bryant connected on a 41-yard game-winning field goal with 15 seconds left in the overtime period.
The Buccaneers swept the New Orleans Saints 27-13 with DeWayne White stripping the ball for a sack, fumble recovery which he took back 34 yards for the clinching touchdown] for the season, It clinched the 2005 NFC South title and made the Buccaneers a third seed for the playoffs. The Bucs beat out Carolina who was also 11-5 because their 5-1 NFC South record was better than Carolina's 4-2 record.
|Playoff Round||Date||Opponent (seed)||Result||Record||Game site||NFL.com|
|Wild card||January 7, 2006||Washington Redskins (6)||L 10-17||0-1||Raymond James Stadium||N/A|
Although the Redskins gained only 120 yards on offense, the lowest total in NFL playoff history for a winning team, they converted two turnovers into touchdowns. Midway through the first quarter, Washington linebacker LaVar Arrington's 21-yard interception return set up running back Clinton Portis' six-yard touchdown run. Then, Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington recovered Tampa Bay running back Carnell Williams' fumble and returned it seven yards before losing it himself - into the arms of Safety Sean Taylor who then ran 51 yards for the Redskins' second touchdown.
Early in the second quarter, Tampa Bay drove 38 yards to the Redskins 24-yard line where Matt Bryant kicked a 43-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 14-3. The Redskins responded with a 10-play, 40-yard drive and scored with 40-yard field goal from John Hall.
In the third quarter, Mark Jones gave the Buccaneers good field position by returning a punt 24 yards to the 49-yard line. Tamp Bay's offense took full advantage of the return, marching on a seven-play, 51-yard drive that ended with quarterback Chris Simms' two-yard touchdown run. In the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay drove to the Redskins 19-yard line, but Washington made a huge stand. First, linebacker Lemar Marshall tackled fullback Mike Alstott for no gain on third down and 1, and then Simms threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.. However, Buccaneers defensive back Brian Kelly gave his team another chance to drive for the tying touchdown by intercepting a pass from Mark Brunell and returning it the Redskins 35-yard line. With 3 minutes left in the game, Tampa Bay wide receiver Edell Shepherd caught what appeared to be a 35-yard touchdown reception, but he lost control of the ball as he was coming down in the end zone. The Buccaneers got one last chance to tie the game when they received a punt at their own 46-yard line with 1:05 left in regulation, but Simms threw a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and went into the arms of Washington for an interception.
|(3)Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11||5||0||.688||5-1||9-3||300||274||W2|
|New Orleans Saints||3||13||0||.188||1-5||1-11||235||398||L5|