Once Ronde Barber got his hands on the ball and headed up the sideline, there was no way the oldest player on the field was going to let the Kansas City Chiefs catch him.
Tampa Bay's 37-year-old, five-time Pro Bowl selection delivered yet another game-changing play for the only team he's played for in 16 NFL seasons, returning an interception 78 yards for a touchdown to key a 38-10 rout that stopped a three-game Buccaneers losing streak on Sunday.
The Bucs (2-3) played well at times during the skid, but didn't put together a complete performance until shutting down the Brady Quinn-led Chiefs (1-5).
"I think everybody had bitter feelings going into the bye week after three straight losses. It's not that we hadn't played hard. It's just none of our hard work was reaping any rewards for us," Barber said.
The only remaining player from Tampa Bay's Super Bowl champion of 10 years ago reached low to pick off a pass that nearly hit the ground after skipping off the intended receiver's arm. With teammate E.J. Biggers leading the way up the right sideline, Barber easily scored the 14th regular season TD of his career.
Josh Freeman threw for a season-high 328 yards and three TDs, however Barber's play was the catalyst for pulling away from a 7-3 halftime lead.
"If I could bottle that, I'd sell it for a lot of money," Barber said of his knack for making big plays. "I've always been ball aware. I see the ball out a lot because I'm always around it. I can't tell you why. I'll just take them as they come, though."
Kansas City has lost three straight heading into its bye week.
In his first start in nearly three years, Quinn threw for 180 yards and was intercepted twice, giving the Chiefs a NFL-leading 21 turnovers in six games.
The sixth-year pro filling in for the injured Matt Cassel led a field goal drive in the second quarter, but never got the Chiefs into the end zone.
Edgar Jones scored Kansas City's lone TD on a 11-yard fumble return on a play that began with Shaun Draughn blocking a punt into the end zone.
"I don't understand why we played the way we played," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. "We were still in it at halftime, but we came out on the second half and couldn't get anything done."
Freeman teamed with Mike Williams on a 62-yard scoring play in the first quarter and threw TD passes of 19 and 17 yards to Vincent Jackson in the second half. LeGarrette Blount finished the rout with a 12-yard TD run with just under two minutes to go.
In addition to forcing two turnovers, the Bucs defense limited NFL rushing leader Jamaal Charles to 40 yards on 12 carries, and Kansas City finished with just 80 yards on the ground as a team — 141 below the Chiefs' average.
"All we can do is keep fighting," Jones said. "A crazy day, but that's the game of football. A lot of things happen. Some things we can control, some things we can't control."
Barber, making the transition to safety after 15 seasons as one of the NFL's top cornerbacks, scored for the eighth time on an interception return when he picked off a pass that bounced off Dexter McCluster and made his way to the end zone untouched to make it 21-3 early in the third quarter.
The Chiefs thought the ball hit the ground. The play was reviewed, but the ruling that it was an interception stood.
"I got hit on the play," said Quinn, who completed 22 of 38 passes. "I thought I put the ball in a good spot, but all of a sudden I looked up and I saw him running. It was a tremendous play on his part. I couldn't tell on the replay. From my point of view it looked like it hit the ground, but he made a great play."
NOTES: Quinn, who didn't get on the field the past two seasons with Denver, made his first start since Dec. 12, 2009, when he was with the Browns. ... Williams finished with four receptions for 113 yards, his second consecutive 100-yard game. ... The Bucs played without cornerback Aqib Talib, who began serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
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