Last Sunday it was undrafted rookie Freddie Martino who scored his first career touchdown on his second career reception. This Sunday in Kansas City it was Alan Cross, another little known success story for Tampa Bay.
Leading 12-10 with 6:30 left to play, the Bucs were looking to extend their lead to two scores with its first touchdown. For as prolific as Tampa Bay’s offense was all afternoon – 447 yards and 11-of-16 on third down – the red zone had been an issue. Then Jameis Winston found Cross on third-and-2 from the 3-yard line.
“It’s a two-man game and the most popular goal line pass play in the NFL,” head coach Dirk Koetter said, describing the route. “It’s just a little motion on there to dress it up a little.”
Normally, Luke Stocker would’ve been lined up as the fullback. But after Stocker missed most of practice with an ankle injury and left Cross a majority of reps, the undrafted pro from Memphis got his opportunity in the game.
“Alan Cross is a good football player,” Koetter said. “He’s one of those guys that is always overlooked but then when you go back and watch the tape you say, ‘That guy is doing what he’s supposed to do.’ We’ve been trying to get him a little more involved.”
The three-yard touchdown silenced the crowd at Arrowhead, one of the loudest atmospheres in the NFL. Cross may have been new to that type of environment, but the play was as routine as it gets for a guy who caught a school-most 14 touchdowns at Memphis.
“I’ve been there before,” Cross said after the game. “I’ve scored on that play I don’t know how many times at Memphis. It was just Jameis throwing me the ball instead of Paxton Lynch.
“[On Sunday] I believe it was [Chiefs LB Justin] Houston I had to avoid. I avoided him, got in the flat and it was there. If it wasn’t me, it was going to be Cam. If it wasn’t Cam, it was going to be Brandon.”