Bucs recover from big hole, beat KC in OT

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed some weird and lucky things to happen Sunday for them to make history.

Matt Bryant missed a 38-yard field goal attempt on a third down play in overtime, but tackle Jeremy Trueblood was called for a false start. So the Bucs lined up for another third-down play and Jeff Garcia connected with Jameel Cook for nine yards, giving Bryant a second chance from 33.

He nailed it, lifting the Bucs past Kansas City 30-27 in the biggest comeback in team history.

“It’s a thrilling victory,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said. “I told the guys it’s a hard place to win.”

The Chiefs (1-7) led 24-3 with a little more than 2 minutes to go in the second quarter and seemed headed for just their second victory in more than a calendar year. But Garcia passed for 339 yards and Clifton Smith ran back a kickoff 97 yards for a score and the Bucs (6-3) go into their bye week just a half-game behind Carolina in the NFC South.

Besides missing several starters with injury, Tampa Bay also committed four turnovers.

“It would have terrible to go into the bye week with a loss,” said Bryant, who also connected from 25 and 43 yards. “To win the way we did, I think it just going to make us hungrier when we get back.”

Garcia’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant and 2-point conversion toss tied it with 19 seconds left as the Chiefs lost for the 16th time in 17 games.

“It’s getting a little unbearable, to tell you the truth,” said Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez.

The Bucs appeared to have blown their historic comeback bid when Earnest Graham fumbled at the goal line and Kansas City’s Jarrad Page recovered in the end zone with 3:24 to go.

Gonzalez’s one-handed, falling-down catch would have given the Chiefs a first down on that last drive and perhaps kept the ball out of Garcia’s hands. But he was flagged for offensive pass interference.

“I’m falling away from him. I guess they saw him fall down,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t understand it. I don’t agree with it.”

The Chiefs never touched the ball in overtime as Garcia hit Michael Clayton for 29 yards on the first play.

“We can’t afford to come out and play the way we did today as a team,” said Garcia, who was 31-for-43. “It is very rare you’re going to be able to put together a comeback like we had today. We’re thankful for what took place.”

Tyler Thigpen, making his third career start, was 14-for-25 for 164 yards and a touchdown and also caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Mark Bradley.

It was the second straight game without an interception for the second-year pro who is playing only because the top two quarterbacks had season-ending injuries.

“We didn’t win, so it didn’t matter if I threw three picks,” he said. “We just want to win around here. We had a chance to win and we weren’t able to capitalize.”

After falling behind 24-3, the Bucs scored 10 quick points on Smith’s 97-yard kickoff return and Bryant’s 43-yard field goal.

“The return was the huge play in the game for us,” Garcia said. “It created a positive play out of a first half that didn’t have many positives.”

The Chiefs were down to their third-team running back when Kolby Smith, who had a 1-yard touchdown run, hurt his knee in the third quarter. Jamaal Charles wound up rushing for 106 yards, but he also fumbled on the Chiefs’ 3-yard line. On the first play, Earnest Graham threw a halfback option pass to Alex Smith for the TD, making it 24-19.

Bryant’s touchdown catch setting up the 2-point conversion for the tie came against Maurice Leggett, who was in for injured starting cornerback Brandon Flowers.

“Leggett had to play a lot because Flowers went down,” Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. “We tried to hide him as much as we could.”


When Kansas City kicked off after its second TD with 4 minutes, 47 seconds left in the first quarter, the time of possession was Kansas City 10 minutes, Bucs 13 seconds. … Thigpen is the fifth Chiefs player to throw a TD pass as well as run and catch for scores. He’s the first player to throw for a touchdown and catch a TD pass in a game since Drew Brees did it for San Diego on Sept. 28, 2003…. Chiefs had not scored two TDs in the first quarter since doing it against San Diego on Oct. 22, 2006. … The Bucs had pulled off 17-point comebacks twice.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Tampa Bay
A. Bryant Antonio Bryant WR
8 Rec, 115 yds
1 TD
 Kansas City
T. Thigpen Tyler Thigpen QB
14-25, 164 yds
1 TD
1 Rec, 37 yds, 1 TD

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards


Week 4