For my nominee for Buccaneers Play of the Year, we revisit the Buccaneers win over Carolina on Monday Night Football and the interception that saved the game.
At the time the Buccaneers traveled to Charlotte to take on the Panthers for ESPN Monday Night Football, the Bucs were on a three game losing streak after starting 1-0. The match-up wasn’t exactly what people – especially ESPN – expected with Cam Newton missing the game due to a concussion.
With the score tied 14-14, backup quarterback Derek Anderson had marched the Panthers inside the five yard line and was on the verge of giving Carolina a touchdown lead with a little under nine minutes to play. Given how the game had gone to that point, it seemed as if that lead would be insurmountable.
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Lucky for the Bucs, a big free agent acquisition in Brent Grimes stepped up and made one of the most impressive catches of the season – not only for the Buccaneers, but in the NFL.
That was the reason the Bucs brought Grimes to the Bucs. That’s why his nickname is “Hops”. That was a play that will be on Grimes’ career highlight reel. It was his first as a Buccaneer and his first of what would be two against the Panthers in 2016.
Watching this play over and over, Grimes’ ability to get up for that ball, maintain possession, and essentially save the game gets more impressive with each viewing. Best of all, the highlight came in a win against the defending NFC champions and hated division rivals in their house on national television.
This seemed to be a precursor of things to come defensively for the Buccaneer. They would go on and beat the 49ers the following game before losing a heartbreaker to the Raiders then getting embarrassed on Thursday Night Football against the Falcons. After that? They rattled off five wins in a row.
The defense was starting to come together and the secondary was beginning to make plays – a big reason that five game win streak happened. And honestly, it could be said that it started with that play by Grimes in Charlotte.