The Tampa Bay Buccaneers own a special part in New York Jets history. In their 1985 meeting, the Jets set a franchise record for most points.
On Sunday, the New York Jets travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers. Despite playing them only 11 previous times, they have had some memorable matchups.
The 1985 season was one of the best in Jets history. Gang Green finished with 11 wins and had the third-highest point differential in team history (plus-129).
The Buccaneers were suffering through another awful season. After setting an NFL record with 26 straight losses to start their history as an NFL franchise, little else had gone right in becoming the butt of many jokes concerning their organizational lack of success. The 1985 season was the third of 12 straight seasons in which they suffered double-digit losses.
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On Nov. 17, almost 32 years ago to the day, the Jets hosted the Bucs at the Meadowlands. The Jets were coming off a heartbreaking 21-17 loss at Miami where Dan Marino connected with Mark Duper on a 50-yard touchdown reception in the final minute after the Jets had just taken the lead.
Sitting at 7-3, the Jets were tied for first place with the New England Patriots and a game ahead of the Dolphins. The Buccaneers were 1-9 and in last place in the NFC West.
Tampa Bay quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind two TD passes by Steve DeBerg. For those who thought that this was going to be a long day for the Jets, they were sadly mistaken.
Johnny Hector’s two-yard TD run got things started for the home team. Helped out by four first-half fumbles by the Buccaneers, the Jets scored 31 unanswered points on their way to a franchise record 41 points by halftime.
Jets quarterback Ken O’Brien finished 23-of-30 for 367 yards and a career-high five TD passes. Three of them went to tight end Mickey Shuler as the New York Jets finished the game with a franchise-record 62 points.
In another amazing stat, the Jets held the ball for 14 minutes and 37 seconds of the fourth quarter, which included an 11-minute, 13-second, 18-play drive to their final touchdown. For the game, the Jets had possession for 40 minutes and 20 seconds. Tampa Bay had the ball for just 19:40.
Jets history features many exciting offensive players and dominant offensive performances, but none was better than Nov. 17, 1985.