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Season By Season History of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1977

We continue our profile of every season in Bucs history with a look at the second season in team history, which saw the first win for the franchise.

First overall pick Ricky Bell playing for USC.
First overall pick Ricky Bell playing for USC.
Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Before the start of training camp and the official kickoff of the 2014 Buccaneers season, Bucs Nation will take you through every season in Buccaneers history, one by one, to paint the whole picture of how the Buccaneers got to where they are today.

Today we profile the second season for the Buccaneers, which saw the team earn their first victory.

Season Recap

Record: 2-12

Points scored: 103 (last in NFL)

Points against: 223 (12th in NFL)

Leading receiver: Morris Owens - 34 catches for 665 yards, 3 touchdowns

Most Interceptions: Mike Washington - 5 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown

Most Sacks: Lee Roy Selmon - 13 (per BucPower, as the sack did not become an official NFL Statistic until 1982.)

Key Games

Most Frustrating Loss: 10-0 loss to Chicago, Week 12. The Buccaneers were winless yet again heading down the stretch, and were handed their fourth shutout in the last five games. To this point in the season, the Bucs had only scored 53 points.

Victory!: 33-14 victory against New Orleans, Week 13. The Bucs get an offensive explosion and topple the Archie Manning-led Saints at the Superdome. Mike Washington's interception return for a touchdown put the Buccaneers up 20-0 in the third quarter.

Major Storylines

The Buccaneers switched over to the NFC Central for the 1977 season, but things went about as well as they did in the AFC West in 1976. The team started 0-12, bringing their losing streak to 26 games before finally tasting victory against the Saints in Week 13.

Before the victory over the Saints, the Buccaneers could hardly score at all, prompting the very quotable John McKay to say "We couldn't score against a strong wind." The team only scored 53 points through 12 weeks, and finished with even fewer points than they had the season before.

The Bucs were the only team in 1977 to not reach 3000 total yards (they didn't even earn 2700), and one of only two to fail to average 10 points scored per game (the Packers were the other, and Green Bay averaged over two points per game more than the hopeless Bucs).

First overall selection Ricky Bell led the team in rushing, but couldn't even manage three yards per rush, while the Bucs fumbled through three quarterbacks, none of which could produce on a consistent basis. The trio combined for only three touchdown passes, but a massive 30 interceptions, and none of them completed more than half of their passes. In fact, Randy Hedberg threw 90 balls in 1977, and managed only 25 completions, while tossing 10 picks.

But the defense emerged, and it began to set the table for the franchise's identity to this day. Lee Roy Selmon, Mike Washington, and Dave Pear led the way for the Bucs, who jumped into the top half of the league in both points allowed and yards allowed on defense after a dismal first year. Pear and Selmon were both named to the second-team All-NFC by UPI for their performances in 1977.

Despite the two game winning streak, the Bucs earned the first overall pick yet again heading into the 1978 season, which would see major changes for the hopeful but still cellar-dwelling Bucs.