The last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a game in San Francisco, quarterback Josh Freeman hadn’t even been born yet. In fact, only four players on the Buccaneers roster were alive when the last Candlestick victory party was in the Buccaneers locker room. For 30 years, the Buccaneers have been a pillar of futility in the Bay Area going 1-11 there with their last win coming in 1980.
Heading to the west coast has always been difficult for any team; something about the flight, the time change, or maybe something else all together has made west coast swings a constant nightmare for many a visiting team. Today, the Buccaneers made an impressive statement with not only their first victory in San Francisco in three decades but also moved to 2-0 on the west coast this season as they defeated the 49ers, 21-0.
Perhaps more impressive, the last time the Niners were shut out at home was in 1977. The Buccaneers defense was downright dominant Sunday, shutting down the Niners offense, allowing only 189 total yards and zero points. The front four registered six sacks, almost matching their season total of eight in one game. Troy Smith, the third straight Heisman-winning quarterback the Bucs have faced, was completely stymied and Frank Gore was bottled up all day.
Josh Freeman didn’t light it up but was his typical reliable self, protecting the ball and passing for two touchdowns on 136 yards, the second of which a goal line pass to left tackle Donald Penn who had checked in as eligible before the play.
Embattled rookie Mike Williams, who started despite his Friday morning arrest for DUI caught three passes for 54 yards and an alley-oop style touchdown pass. Kellen Winslow caught four passes for 34 yards.
LeGarrette Blount continued to impress, bruising opposing defenders all day and rarely succumbing to the first tackler. Blount carried 26 times for 82 yards on the day, while his running mate Cadillac Williams continued to shine in his new change of pace role, adding 51 yards of his own on seven carries and the first points of the game on a 6-yard run in the second quarter.
While the 49ers may not be an elite club, the Buccaneers proved that they are for real, winning again on the road and for the first time in years in San Francisco where opposing clubs consistently find it difficult to play. New Orleans and NFC South leaders Atlanta both won today so the Bucs will remain in third place in the NFC South but move to 7-3 and in true contention for one of the two NFC playoff wild card spots or the division title.