Commentary | Never has one small victory meant so much for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Series of fortunate events leads Tampa Bay to precious first victory

adell@bradenton.comNovember 13, 2013 

Dolphins Buccaneers Football

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) eludes Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon (50) on a run during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

JOHN RAOUX — AP

TAMPA

Call it one small step for mankind.

It was a victory for the downtrodden and disheveled, for those who never give up hope.

When Ryan Tannehill was sacked for the second time in the last possession of the Miami Dolphins' 22-19 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was the shot heard round the world.

In Moscow and Beijing and in Bowling Green, Ky., candles of hope lit up.

This one belongs to those who can see how miracles are connected.

Mike James, who looked like a combination of Walter Payton, Gale Sayers and Earnest Graham a week ago against Seattle, was doing it again.

And then the football gods, who can sometimes play cruel jokes, intervened.

A few inches from the goal line, he went down. His ankle was broken, and he was carted off the field.

The Bucs had to look to Brian Leonard, a Rutgers (gulp) product whose claim to fame was that he blocked for Ray Rice in college. And there was someone named Bobby Rainey, who was part of that 22-game losing streak at Western Kentucky.

Some thought Bobby Rainey was the name of a company that manufactures umbrellas.

But here is where the true miracle workers showed their expertise. They know how to connect the dots.

Rainey played for Willie Taggart at WKU, who turned that program around. Taggart coached under Jim Harbaugh,

who engineered the Stanford miracle and coached the Cardinal to the greatest upset in college football history with that win over USC as a 41-point underdog.

Harbaugh and Taggart and all that karma Monday night at Raymond James Stadium with Warren Sapp being inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor was pulsating. Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden, John Lynch and other Pewter greats where present to add a dose of passion.

Even if Bucs beleaguered head coach Greg Schiano couldn't see this coming, the true miracle workers did. With Harbaugh and Taggart connected to the dots and Rainey carrying the message, hope springs eternal.

Guard Davin Joseph rose from the dead to spark a run game that showed why offensive linemen should be paid more than running backs.

So here we are. The Bucs are 1-8 and never has so little meant so much.

Schiano for president might be a stretch. Schiano as the 2014 Bucs coach saps the strength from Tampa Bay's Johnny Manziel worshippers.

It's one victory and the Atlanta Falcons, who have nothing to play for except to show love for head coach Mike Smith, are next.

One win could sprout into two, and then you never know, though four of the Bucs' final six games are against Detroit, Carolina, Harbaugh's 49ers and New Orleans.

Schiano's best move might be to call Willie before the Golden Gate Bridge faithful arrive in town and get the insight on Harbaugh's game plan. But Taggart won't give up his best friend.

If only temporarily, Schiano is off the hot seat, which belongs solely to Will Muschamp.

The Fire Schiano signs have been moved to Gainesville and undergone a name change.

It's easier to fire a college coach, especially in Gainesville. The deep pocketed Florida boosters take their football seriously, and their first loss at home to Vanderbilt since 1945 last weekend left the Swamp looking like a pond of friendly goldfish.

They don't care about paying three or four head coaches at a time until they get the right one. The Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, don't even like to pay for one.

And Muschamp?

Maybe someone call tell him he has a quarterback named Skyler Mornhinweg, who is on scholarship and can't be any worse than what you've put on the field this season.

But that's for another time.

This day belongs to the Bucs and all those who believe in miracles.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reachedat 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter at@ADellSports.

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