Which quarterback is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' nemesis? That's a question Football Perspective answered for every NFL team, and the result isn't surprising: it was Brett Favre, if you measure it by total passing yards. But what does the rest of the top 10 look like? And what happens when we look at other positions, too?
The greatness of Wade Wilson
Brett Favre was the most productive passer against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by most measures, but he certainly wasn't the most efficient. That's what happens when you face one of the best defenses in NFL history twice a year. Drew Brees and Matt Ryan didn't exactly do that, so they're not that far behind and likely to overtake Favre's records.
Brees is just 1,113 yards short of topping Favre's total yards, so that will probably take, what, 1.5 games? The touchdown record is as good as gone, too: Brees needs just four more to get that one. Ryan's much further off, and the Bucs have actually done well against him. 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 10 games with barely over 200 yards per game -- that's fairly awful. In fact, the Falcons offense always seems to struggle against the Bucs. Of course, they still won seven of those games.
But the quarterback who was most dominant against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Wade Wilson of Vikings fame. Anyone remember him? A well below-average passer for most of his career who somehow crushed the Bucs, winning 8 games and losing just one, throwing for a ridiculous 9 yards per attempt, 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Of course, doing that against the 1980s Buccaneers is basically the equivalent of stomping on some kittens.
Interestingly, the only player in the top 10 to not be a division rival is Joe Montana.
You can find the full list here.
Barry Sanders dominates
The Bucs weren't very lucky with the running backs in their division. Barry Sanders and Walter Payton for the entirety of both players' careers? What a disaster. Both were a joy to watch, but also incredibly frustrating to watch. Especially Barry Sanders.
Unsurprisingly, those two players dominate the list -- but no one else really racked up yards against the Bucs. Ted Brown comes close, but at 65 yards per game he's hardly dominant. Eric Dickerson certainly was, but played just 6 games against the Bucs.
Interesting note: The modern-day backs in the top 10 aren't exactly doing much against the Bucs. None of them top 80 yards per game. That's partly a result of a shift to a passing game and the lack of feature backs in the division. In fact, it's mostly that, because the Bucs were awful at stopping the run from 2008 to 2011. So yeah. Luck, I guess.
Wide receivers galore
Two Hall of Famers, one more who's almost certainly going to make it into the Hall and three more with at least solid credentials make the wide receiver list. Wide receivers loved beating up on the Bucs, I guess. Which is weird, because the Bucs have historically had a pretty good pass defense. If we ignore the games they played in the '80s -- like we do with most things from the '80s.
Steve Smith is probably going to overtake Cris Carter, soon, who mostly seems to have lived off volume rather than big plays. James Lofton's numbers stand out, too: he averaged three more yards per catch than anyone else in the top 10.