Buccaneers comeback vs. Panthers defied the odds

Grant Halverson

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had almost no chance to win this game. How small were their chances? See for yourself.

This is a picture from Advanced NFL Stats, showing each team's chances to win throughout the game. The win probabilities are based on historical data from games. So how little chance did they have? On three separate occasions in the fourth quarter, Advanced NFL Stats gave the Buccaneers just a 1% chance to win the game.

On third-and-five from the Carolina 40-yard line, Mike Williams couldn't hold on to the ball. That led to a fourth-and-five situation with just five minutes left in the game and the Bucs trailing by 11 points. The Bucs had 1% chance of winning the game. But they convert on a 10-yard slant to Mike Williams.

After kicking a field goal, the Bucs spend all their timeouts forcing a third-and-11 out of Cam Newton on the Carolina 30-yard line. They then give up a 12-yard pass to Louis Murphy, and their win percentage drops to 1% again as they have no timeouts. Somehow, they force a stop and get the ball back with 1:02 remaining.

Then, Freeman misses Vincent Jackson. Once again, their win percentage drops to 1% facing 2nd-and-ten from their own 20-yard-line with just a minute remaining and no timeouts. Then, magic happens.

The Bucs faced ridiculous odds to win this game. They had dug themselves a massive hole, and managed to dig it just a little deeper on three separate occasions. And somehow, they still pulled out a win. This is why I love the NFL - and if the Bucs get to the playoffs, this game will play a massive role.

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