1979 NFC Championship Game

History Published on : 1/1/2005
Most football enthusiasts quickly recall that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered a record 26-game losing streak upon joining the NFL in 1976. What most seem to forget is that, in just their fourth season, the Bucs won the NFC Central Division title and advanced to the 1979 NFC Championsip Game.



Wendell Tyler

Played at Tampa Stadium on January 6, 1980, the Bucs hosted the NFC Western Division champion Los Angeles Rams. One week earlier, Tampa Bay was led by running back Ricky Bell who rushed for 142 yards in the Buccaneers' 24-17 win over the Eagles. Meanwhile, the Rams had stunned the Dallas Cowboys 21-19 to advance to the conference title game.

While both the Rams and the Buccaneers boasted excellent offenses, the '79 NFC Championship showcased the teams' defenses. Only twice in the game did either team find the end zone. On both occasions, one per team, the touchdowns were wiped off the scoreboard because of penalties.

The Rams defense stole the show as they limited the Buccaneers offense to a mere 177 total yards. In fact, Los Angeles held Tampa Bay to just 13 yards in the opening quarter. On offense, the backfield of Cullen Bryant and Wendell Tyler paced the Rams' 217-yard ground game.

Placekicker Frank Corral supplied all the scoring with field goals from 19, 21, and 23 yards as the Rams won 9-0 to become the first NFC Western Division team advance to the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles Rams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Scoring Summary
Second Quarter
LA - FG Corral 19
LA - FG Corral 21
Fourth Quarter
LA - FG Corral 23
Rushing LA - Bryant 18-106; Tyler 28-86; McCutcheon 6-26; Ferragamo 1-(-2); TB - Bell 20-59; Mucker 1-24; Eckwood 2-5; J. Davis 2-4; Rae 1-0.
Passing LA - Ferragamo 23-12-163-0-0; TB - Williams 13-2-12-1-0; Rae 13-2-42-0; Eckwood 1-1-42-0-0
Receiving LA - Dennard 3-56; Bryant 4-39; Young 3-39; Nelson 1-15; Tyler 1-14; TB - Hagins 2-42; Mucker 1-42; Bell 2-12