Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 New England Patriots 31 Sunday 12 December 1976 at Tampa Stadium
GAME HIGHLIGHTS Video footage from the expansion season is limited to occasional clips from the NFL Films season highlight film as NBC who broadcast all 14 games that season, destroyed the master tapes some years later leaving none of the games available in the way other games from Buc history are. However I have been able to obtain the coverage from NFL Films’ Review of the Week in which the Bucs were featured, sometimes though not in the most flattering of highlights. The left video are the selected Bucs clips. The right video is the one from the Review of the Week.
The Bucs were tied at 14-14 in the fourth quarter and were driving for the go-ahead score when Sam Hunt intercepted Steve Spurrier and returned it for a touchdown. British kicker and future Channel 4 TV presenter John Smith added a fieldgoal to extend the lead later in the final period. The Buccaneer scoring came in the second period when Ed Williams bulled into the endzone from 17 yards out and Spurrier found receiver Morris Owens alone in the endzone from 27 yards out when a defensive back fell down. John McKay's take on the game:" We are 0-14, I can't say much more than that. I'll probably take a little time off and go and hide somewhere."
STARTERS OFFENSE DEFENSE LT 71 Young LDE 78 Rudolph LG 72 Fest DT 65 Moore C 51 Ryczek DT 64 Robinson RG 67 Alward RDE 66 Toomay RT 74 Current LLB 54 Wood TE 80 Novak MLB 59 Lemon WR 85 Owens RLB 55 Sims WR 89 McKay LCB 25 Jordan FB 43 Williams SS 33 Cotney RB 19 Johnson FS 28 Stone QB 11 Spurrier RCB 24 Word PLAYED 4 Green, 20 Pierson, 22 McNeill, 27 Davis, 30 Gunn, 32 Carter, 34 Brown, 35 DuBose, 52 Reese, 53 Ball, 69 McAleney, 70 Young, 79 Wilson, 82 Pagac, 84 Douglas, 86 Moore, 88 Smith DID NOT PLAY 5 Hanratty, 77 Little INACTIVES 21 Martin, 61 Selmon, 76 Pear, 81 Jennings
SCORING TB 13:37-2Q Williams 17 run (Green kick) NE 13:17-2Q Johnson 69 run (Smith kick) TB 2:52-2Q Owens 27 pass from Spurrier (Green kick) NE 4:59-3Q Johnson 9 run (Smith kick) NE 6:15-4Q Hunt 68 interception return (Smith kick) NE 2:41-4Q Smith FG30 NE 0:04-4Q Grogan 1 run (Zabel kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING BUCS: Williams 15-58, Carter 14-32, McNeill 6-19, Spurrier 4-13, Johnson 4-5, DuBose 1-4, Pagac 1-4. PATRIOTS: Johnson 14-127, Calhoun 12-68, Cunningham 6-39, Phillips 3-22, Grogan 3-2, Burks 1-2. PASSING BUCS: Spurrier 17-12-145-1-1, Carter 1-0-0-0-0. PATRIOTS: Grogan 14-4-40-1-0. RECEIVING BUCS: Williams 4-33, Novak 3-55, Johnson 2-9, Owens 1-27, Smith 1-16, DuBose 1-5. PATRIOTS: Burks 1-17, Calhoun 1-12, Vataha 1-8, Cunningham 1-3. INTERCEPTIONS BUCS: Stone 1-26. PATRIOTS: Hunt 1-68. KICK RETURNS BUCS: Douglas 3-85, Johnson 2-51. PATRIOTS: Calhoun 2-31, Conn 1-26. PUNT RETURNS BUCS: Douglas 4-78. PATRIOTS: Haynes 3-53. SACKS BUCS: none. PATRIOTS: Tipton 1-12.