Tampa Bay's Neil O'Donoghue kicked a 31-yard field goal 1 minute 41 seconds into overtime today to give the Buccaneers a 29-26 victory over the beleaguered Baltimore Colts.
Baltimore forced the overtime period when its kicker, Toni Linhart, kicked a 38-yard field goal with 1:26 remaining in regulation play.
Baltimore won the toss and the first possession for the 15-minute overtime, but on a third-and-10 situation from his own 20, quarterback Greg Andry fumbled the football when he was hit by Randy Crowder as he stepped up into the pocket to throw a pass. Tampa Bay's Bill Kollar recovered the ball at the Baltimore 14-yard line.
On first down, Tampa Bay Coach John McKay sent in O'Donoghue and the three-year veteran from Auburn drilled the ball through the uprights and the surprising Bucs were 2-0 in 1979.
"Based on what I had seen them do and what we had done, I didn't want to take a chance on a fumble so we kicked on first down," McKay said.
O'Donoghue, who missed two extra points earlier in the day, said he didn't have a chance to think about missing the game-winner.
"It just happened too quick," he said.
Baltimore, playing without injured offensive starters Bert Jones, Joe Washington, Roger Carr and Ken Huff, nevertheless stormed to a 17-0 first-quarter lead as the Bucs tried their best to give the game away before it was 15 minutes old.
Doug Williams threw an interception on Tampa's second offensive play to set up Baltimore's first touchdown.
On Baltimore's second possession, the Bucs were penalized a total of 54 yards, helping the Colts to a field goal and a 10-0 lead.
Then a Jerry Eckwood fumble at the Tampa Bay 25, and an 18-yard pass interference penalty against the Bucs set up Baltimore's second first-quarter touchdown.
When that period finally had ended, the Bucs were down, 17-0, already had been penalized six times for 81 yards, while turning over the ball three times.
Williams settled down his offense, however, and the defense throttled the Colts. Williams eventually completed 10 of 29 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns and the defense harassed Landry into one of the most miserable days of his career. They sacked him a Tampa Bay record 10 times for 69 yards in losses and intercepted him twice.
"We ran quite a few blitzes, more than we usually do," said Kollar "and seemed to get in there every time.
When the Tampa Bay offense started clicking, it was practically unstoppable. On its first touchdown drive Williams threw two screen passes, one to Johnny Davis and one to Ricky Bell, each good for 24 yards, to set up Bell's one-yard touchdown run. O'Donoghue missed the conversion after that score and the Colts led, 17-6.
On Tampa Bay's next possession, Williams hit Issac Hagins with a nine-yard scoring pass and the Baltimore lead was cut to four points by half-time.
Tampa Bay took the lead for the first time on the second play of the fourth period when Mike Washington stepped in front of Glenn Doughty, picked off a Landry pass and raced 49 yards for a touchdown.
O'Donoghue's conversion put Tampa Bay on top, 20-17.
The visitors' lead was increased to 26-17 later in the period when Williams, on a third and two from the Baltimore 37, lofted a play-action pass to rookie Gordon Jones for a touchdown. Again O'Donoghue missed the conversion.
With the game seemingly well in hand with 8:05 remaining, and the ball at midfield, Williams tried to force a pass to Eckwood. Sanders Shiver intercepted it for the Colts.
Three plays later Landry threw a 12-yard sideline pass to Brian DeRoo, who turned the reception into a 67-yard touchdown with some nifty running and fantastic blocks from Doughty and Reese McCall.
Linhart's point after was blocked and the Colts trailed, 26-23, with 7:04 left.
Tampa Bay could not move the ball on its next series and the Colts took over at their own 44 after a punt with 4:57 remaining.
Landry used short passes and run by Don Hardeman and Don McCauley to move the ball into position for Linhart's kick which sent the game into the extra period.