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The 5,000-day streak: Bucs look as if they’ll miss playoffs again

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Things to think about: If the Tampa Bay Bucs do not win a playoff game this season – stop laughing, won’t you? – then it will at least 5,000 days between victories.

Ouch.

The Bucs, who last won a playoff game when they won the Super Bowl on Jan. 26 of 2003 (4,706 days ago), have a sad little streak going. It isn’t the longest streak – seven teams have longer ones – but to Tampa Bay, it’s long enough. Another year, and it will be 5,071 days.

Cincinnati hasn’t won in the post season since 1990, and Detroit since 1991. Kansas City won in 1993, Buffalo in 1995. But Cincinnati has reached seven post-season games. Kansas City and Detroit have reached eight.

The Bucs have made two.

Yet, even in this season of at least being talked about, there is this:

The Bucs have yet to beat a team with a winning record.

They lost to the three worst defenses in the NFL.

This week, the Bucs play against St. Louis in their ketchup-vs.-mustard uniforms on Thursday night.

There have been improvements from the previous season for the Bucs. The running game is better, the offensive line is better, the interior of the defensive line is better. Quarterback Jameis Winston appears to be a keeper. They’ve won three times the number of games as the year before.

But the Bucs remain a flawed team when playing pass defense. They don’t have a lot of pass rush, and their coverage is particularly weak. Their only significant addition on defense was Kwon Alexander, who is suspended for the rest of the season.

For the Bucs, the final three games could help to establish that this is indeed a better team.

And, perhaps, that playoff-less streak is in its last year.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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