‘Unbelievable’ Shaq Barrett leads Bucs defense in 27-17 win over Bears

Greg Auman

NFC South Reporter

TAMPA, Fla. — Seconds after his game-clinching touchdown, after his teammates piled all over him in celebration, Bucs outside linebacker Shaq Barrett looked into a TV camera, thought of his 2-year-old daughter, Arrayah, and said aloud: “I love you. I miss you. I wish you were here.”

Barrett had played just his second game back from a torn Achilles tendon last year, a remarkable comeback in itself, but Sunday was also his first home game since April, when his family suffered an unimaginable tragedy when Arrayah drowned in their backyard pool. There is no consolation for such a loss, but he found some small joy in helping his team pull out a 27-17 win over the Bears.

“It was divine intervention to be able to just get that spotlight for my baby girl,” Barrett said after the game, a heart-shaped pendant with her picture in it hanging from his neck.

The Bucs are 2-0 for the third year in a row — a franchise first — but this feels different. Instead of Tom Brady and all the high standards that came with him, this is a Bucs team that entered the season with very low outside expectations, seen as potentially one of the league’s worst teams. Yet here they are with wins over the Vikings and Bears, and their defense has led the way.

“It was a great play for Shaq,” coach Todd Bowles said. “We put him inside to give him a position to make one of the drop calls and twist them underneath and sit there and wait for something. They threw right to him. Shaq is a very heady guy. I think he had a sack along with it. It’s good to see him back to normal.”

It was one day short of a year since the Bucs’ last defensive touchdown, and this was the first score in Barrett’s 10 seasons in the NFL, though the last few seconds felt like the longest.

“I couldn’t be denied,” Barrett said of finally finding the end zone. “It was three yards. I’ve got to find a way to get in there. My teammates came to rally behind me and help me get into the end zone. It was…

Source link : https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nfl/unbelievable-shaq-barrett-leads-bucs-defense-in-27-17-win-over-bears

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Publish date : 2023-09-17 23:51:34

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