Normally committing 16 penalties (13 accepted) is usually enough to get you beat. Scoring just 13 points after forcing three turnovers doesn’t help your odds of winning a football game. A quarterback finishing with a 58.1 QB rating will result in a loss more often than not. Yet late Sunday afternoon, somehow, it appeared the Buccaneers would win their first home game and just third of the 2014 season, until one of the most inexcusable blunders in franchise history took place at the :32 second mark.
The Buccaneers were in prime position to run the clock down to under five seconds and then kick a game-winning 37-yard field goal after a 21-yard Josh McCown to Louis Murphy pass completion down to the Bengals 20-yard line. The Bengals challenged the play, which cost them a timeout, yet the decision to challenge by Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis gave replay officials a chance to confirm Tampa Bay has 12 men on the field.
Everyone inside Raymond James Stadium had a feeling of what was coming next. Of course after being backed up 10 yards, Tampa Bay ran three plays and failed to get back in field goal range, and Tampa Bay walked away losing their 10th game of the season.
Head coach Lovie Smith was visibly upset with the mental errors following the game.
“That’s how 2-10 football teams play. Found a way to lose it at the end,” Smith said. “Did some good things defensively, played hard throughout, taking the ball away from them, playing hard right up until gave us an opportunity to win the football game. But when you make dumb, stupid penalties like that throughout the game it ends up biting you at the end, which it did. Again we’re a 2-10 team; not a good feeling at all. Thought we were really prepared for the game but the results didn’t show that.
Smith was short with his response when asked about the late penalty that virtually ended the Bucs chances at victory.
“Coaching error on our part; we didn’t catch it. Simple as that. It shouldn’t happen. Blame head coach; bad move on my part of not seeing that.”
Quarterback Josh McCown also took some of the blame for not noticing 12 men on the field.
“Yeah absolutely, we can all help out,” McCown said. “We had a bit of a muddle huddle there getting guys on and off [the field] and we played with the extra tackle this week. The transition going from four wide [receivers] to then bringing Oniel [Cousins] back in the game – we’ve just got to handle it better. I certainly own it. I didn’t see it. We called out protections and other things, but I didn’t get my eyes over there to double check it and see where we were. I own my part in it.”
McCown tried to explain how the unthinkable could happen.
“Obviously because of the tight end situation where we were at this week, Oniel [Cousins] played a lot in the game,” McCown said. “They had pressured us before in that situation, down and distance, and so we were trying to get a shot down the field while making sure we were protected so we ran [Oniel] on, but we obviously we did not get Robert Herron off. Again, I just have to do a better job of looking up and seeing it and calling out protection and calling out routes. It just can’t happen. Louis [Murphy] made a great catch on [the play] and we were setting ourselves up there to win the ball game.”
Somehow the Bengals defense on the field saw it. Somehow the Bengals coaching staff up in the box saw it. Yet not anyone upstairs, on the field or in the huddle wearing red and pewter could see the Buccaneers had 12 players on the field? While it wasn’t the only play that cost the Bucs a win, it was a microcosm of the entire season and when you wonder how this team is 2-10 look no further than the end of Sunday’s loss.
“I was concerned with getting the play and seeing coverage,” McCown said. “I didn’t see it until after.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
I think these guys (Lovie and McCown) don’t quite understand the point about leadership and taking blame….you’re not supposed to just say every week “that one’s on me”…you’re supposed to not let it happen every week…yeesh, can we just mail in 4 losses from here and pick Mariota next week….please.
I’m still giving Coach Smith through next season. I think Coach Smith might just want to admit that the situation in Tampa Bay was much worse than he thought and this losing attitude goes deeper than just the team? You can see that the team is getting closer; they have to learn how to win again as silly as that might sound. It appears the Defense might be resolved despite Johson’s disappointment as the RDE. It wasn’t just the 12 man penalty that caused us the loss; it was the fact the team and coaches don’t have it together yet. We need a QB, but Mariota at the No. 2 spot is a big risk as he is part of a system and he is the perfect fit for that system; I’m not sure about ours though. I have given up on Winston. He gets a little worse every game; 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions tells me his basic fundamentals like follow thru/throwing off his back foot/ field vision/ decision making are in a downward spiral. Huge risk with him. This isn’t a good QB year as we all might had thought before the college season began. Go Bucs
@horse, I respect your opinion, and I gave heard that from others before about Mariota…but I can’t for the life of me understand it. All this kid has done is improve his numbers every year to the point where his accuracy is off the charts, his TD to INT ratio is insane, and his combination of legs-arm is unparalleled. He makes every throw, including the bullet down the seam that alludes so many…he does them all either with pose in the pocket or on the run! He throws the touch passes to his WRs in the end zone, he throws the out, the bomb, etc….and he is the best QB I have ever seen (yes ever) at hitting receivers in stride. All of that has nothing to do with system. You can say Oregon puts up lots of points because of their system, you can say his total yards is inflated because of the system, but his accuracy, arm strength, pose, escapability…none of that has anything to do with system. This kid is the total package too – he spends his prep time doing defensive read drills on iPads, he is whistle clean on (the Oregon State guys were saying how much respect and admiration they have for him and how hard that is when they are supposed to be hating their opponent) and off field, he is a consummate leader (if not a rah rah one). This kid would be a godsend for the Bucs….something we sorrily need and have never been able to get in all my 38 years of supporting this franchise.
I agree on mariotta but “best you ever saw”? He is not a better prospect than Luck sorry
No not what I am saying – and I saw a lot of Luck’s games too (I usually take-in the Pac 12 games)…but Mariota is better at that one function (hitting receivers in stride), in my opinion…he is absolutely uncanny at putting the ball precisely half a yard in front of guys so that their momentum just carries them forward…no stopping to catch the ball before they get going…and it’s particularly amazing on screen passes he throws…
Enjoy your 2-14 2015 season Horse.
I think it’s too easy to be a Lovie apologist for what has gone on. Much, if not most of what we have seen this year, is a product of the Lovie-Licht regime, not the previous inept administration. Most disappointing year in recent Bucs history…. And that’s saying a lot.
Did anyone really have any confidence that we were going to pull this one out? Didn’t know exactly what was going to go down but I just knew something stupid was going to happen. Oh well, the good news about the loss is that we’re now picking 2nd..
Horse, I’m with you on this one, but I do understand the fan’s sentiments towards Lovie. He is the HC and the Bucs (pun) stops with him. He is ultimately responsible for everything that happens on and off the field.
Then some of it is us. There is a culture of losing that affects both fans and players. The players don’t know how to or believe they can win and the fans won’t accept anything less than the playoffs or the SB.
I see a team that is indeed improving. we are beating teams now, but still losing games. That has to change and Lovie must find a way to change it or we will be looking to another administration that continues to circle the bowl.
EastEndBoy; I here you. I know we differ. I respect your opinion; I just don’t want to give up draft picks at this point in time. Mariota will be gone before our turn and I for sure don’t want to give up draft picks to move up a spot or two. Oakland will tradr their spot to the highest bodder and that probably will be someone like New orleans, Patriots, Bronco’s. If Oakland soys no, then there is Jacksonville that will make the trade. We need OL; as many as three which includes a Center.
We will be in position to take Mariotta and nobody trades up to the #1 anymore the value is just to high
Did anybody actually want them to win that game? I am hoping they loose out and have a shot at drafting Mariota. Also if they loose out that should ensure that Lovie is fired. Makes me wish we still had Schiano
We need to give Lovie another season He made two huge mistakes prior to this season, hiring Tedford and McCown. He must let Licht make the offensive staffing decisions next year. Obviously Lovie doesn’t have a clue..
The Bucs now have the 2nd overall pick. I think we will ultimately end up with the 2nd or 3rd pick. I am on record saying that if I had the pick, I would pick a QB in the 1st round, presumably, Mariota or Winston. I would still do that. But I have also said it’s not that simple. The Bucs have to first decide what kind of offense it wants to be – a Pats/Broncos traditional type of offense or the increasingly up-tempo 49er/Seahawk type of offense that employs a highly mobile QB. Then they have to hire an OC that could effectively run the type of offense chosen. That OC will also have a lot to say about who he wants for a QB. All of this will happen before the draft.
As to which QB I would pick – I don’t know yet. Mariota looks great as a read option, spread offense QB, but will the Bucs run that type of offense? Does that type of offense sound like Lovie Smith? And what will be Mariota’s learning curve if he is asked to run a traditional offense? Winston has the cool unflappable poise of a winner, but it’s hard to overlook the recent rash of INTs and his decision-making. I don’t care about his off-field antics, but does he sound like a Lovie Smith guy? I keep bringing up Lovie Smith because let’s face it – he’s going to be here and has total control over the 56 roster. Both QBs have lots of time to state their case between the college playoffs and the combine. Cream usually rises to the top.
After watching yesterday’s performance of the O-Line, how could anyone be upset if the Bucs pick an OT? I’ve read where Chip Kelley is willing to pay a small fortune to trade up to get Mariota. With all of the Bucs needs, could you blame them if they took the draft picks by trading down?
To sum up, I would still take the QB because as I’ve said before – if not now, when? But if the Bucs choose to go another way, it would be entirely understandable and perfectly OK with me!
good thoughts Mac….I’ll just add this one to get you thinking: if L&L don’t show some serious improvement/hope in 2015 one or both of them may be done…will a new OT with McCown and Glennon get us more than 2 wins next year – I doubt it…would Mariota or Winston give them a reason to convince the Glazers of another year (i.e., some improvement, and our QB was a rookie…)?…there is no long-term in the NFL, and after a 2 win season this team needs to change in 2015…I’m not sure an OT (while sorely needed for sure) would turn around our fortunes in 2015 at all…but it would be a nice piece for the next GM and coach.
Why in hell with all that Winston has done off the field and listening to him talk like he has a 3rd grade education and the fact his play has been pedestrian this yr why Bucs Fans would want him on our team? I think you guys are Noles Fans or something its the only reason I can come up with for this lunacy
I’m not going to get to pick the QB or even talk to the people who will. This just a difference in tolerance level. I don’t want winston to hold a position in my church and I don’t want my overweight minister on my football team.
The majority of fans will not agree with me. I would take Talib back as a CB and Legarrette Blount could be a RB. You see if the Law says you’re ok to join society and the NFL says you are eligible to play football and you can really play football, I’m not going to pass my personal moral judgments on anybody.
It’s just my opinion and I’m happy to stand alone with it!
Now I assume Winston and Cadillac Williams speak as they do is because they’re from rural Alabama. I don’t have a problem with that either. It’s just the kind of guy I am!
I like you too! What can I say? lol.
One thing I have learned over the yrs is when fans of their favorite sports teams are attacked they will defend them with excuses and support in this case its Winston with Noles Fans, but outside Nole Country, fans know the guy is a idiot and also see the pedestrian yr he is having yes all 4 quarters not just the last two minutes of a game. Bravo for Winston pulling out mediocre victories over the ever so tough Clemson, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Florida games. Did you ever consider Fla St was in position to win those games despite of Winston
well, to be honest @jongruden I really don’t like the Noles, or Winston at all. My point was not that we should take Winston, my point was that taking Winston (a rookie QB) if Mariota was gone, would still probably buy L&L another year, and that’s why they would do it instead of taking an OT…IMO. I’ll leave my review of Winston until we get closer to the draft.
The only thing left to due is screw up the draft pick. Picking a QB number one or two doesn’t guarantee a Franchise QB, (remember Dilfer) but we need to start with hope next year as this team needs another major overhaul. New OC, New O-Line coach is a must along with new players for the O-Line. If Lovie doesn’t get the offense in shape he will have to go back north to find a basement he can sit in and ponder his mistakes.
Penalties: If I were coach, I would have everyone who made a penalty in at practice on their day off. Not sure if it is lack of concentration, training, or intelligence, but there are way to many for this late in the season.
What coach in their right mind, with under a minute left, no timeouts, in a hurry-up offense makes ANY substitutions. Besides taking precious seconds off the clock, it is of zero value unless a player gets hurt.
This loss was probably on our rookie offensive coordinator, but he was thrust into this role and we can expect this kind of thing. I actually feel sorry for him. It is what it is.
I have been preaching OLINE in the draft for a while now. Sunday’s game really clarified that (for me anyway). I don’t care if you put one of the Manning boys, Brady, Rodgers, or Breese behind our OLINE, they would look bad. Shore up the OLINE and we will win. Period.
I owe Coach Rich Kotite an apology. I was not being fair when I compared him to Coach Lovie Smith.
I’m a huge Nole fan. I went to many games while living in Tally for 18 years and saw many games at Doak. Winston continues to prove he has to go back to his fundamentals and needs another year in college without baseball, I don’t believe FSU nor Jimbo really want him back. He has been the wrong image for the University. I think the last two years trying to play baseball hurt him. Being an outfielder his first year was okay, but once he started as their main reliever in year two it has effected his throwing arm. It’s tough to pitch in baseball and be a passing QB in football. Just my opinion. Go Noles!
Horse- You are unbiased in your observation of your favorite team you earned my respect today
Winston appears to have digressed since his Freshman season. I’m not sure that with the list of off-field issues that he is even a top 20 pick. He may fall the way Johnny Football did. Thank you Horse for offering a possible reason for his continuing decline. I love my buddy JonnyG proclaims his unbiased opinion of the Nole because we “locals” make excuses. Know what JonnyG, we here in Florida don’t think all of those illegal aliens crossing your border is much of a big deal at all. It’s just a matter of perspective.
Scu- the illegals have been coming in on boats to Fla for how many yrs now?
My grandfather sunk on a boat from Russia to New York; jumped ship in the harbor for fear of registering his name and his family he left behind being killed because even in 1880’s the Jews were being eliminated. He later left the ghetto in New York and became an Alabama and Louisiana farmer. My Dad was born in Alexandria Louisiana and had a real cajun twang. When my grandfather died in 1960 on his tombstone for place of birth: New York, New York as that is where he felt his life started. Our country was built on immigrants and many fit my grandfathers pattern; I’m sure there are many other reasons why other good folks did the same as my grandfather. Being persecuted makes you do things out of the norm. Just sayin.
Horse- Great story but an example of how one comment non topic related (scu) can set a chain of events of conversation that had nothing to do with the subject matter at hand
This sums it up for me “Tampa Bay ran three plays and failed to get back in field goal range” Even with the 12 men, they had a shot, but per usual cound not convert. Winning teams convert. If the Bucs were on the defense in that position, the offense would convert.
Maybe we should try Bowers at center next week, makes as much sense as Gilkey, neither play the position.
Great story Horse. You sure have a lot of them. You are an interesting guy who I’d love to meet sometime. The point I was trying to make to JonnyG was that we are all biased by our own unique situations.
Scubog; I’ve got a slew of them. One side all Jewish other side mostly Catholic/Christianity. the Christian side puts me at the 6th generation Floridian side; the Jewish side puts me at the immigrant side from Russia. As a Jew in Pinellas County all my friends were Catholic and Christians and we all played, hunted and went to each others places of worship for the experience. I know a lot of people from the old guard, but also so enjoyed the arrival of the Jews starting late 1950’s to help Pinellas grow. Viet Nam, working at an engineering company and then real estate investing and managing gave me more experience. Just told my life story in a nut shell. You are the best at telling a story Scubog. Hopefully one day we will meet. I bet we were there at the very beginning of major football happening in the area? We might have watched an old Tampa University football game or a Florida/Miami game, or the old NFL pre season games before there was a Buccanneer. I bet you were at the Tampa Bay Bandits games too?
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