Jameis Winston leaves the field following the loss to the Rams – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Fans who thought the Bucs should’ve used one of their two timeouts in the final two-minute drive are not alone.
Speaking at his locker Monday, an always-candid Demar Dotson said he thought the offense let “precious seconds” tick away during the 37-32 loss to Los Angeles.
“I felt that we were letting too much time off the clock, especially with having two timeouts left,” Dotson said. “I thought we were going to call a timeout, but I guess coach didn’t want to mess up the momentum we were having. But I thought we were going to call a timeout because those were a lot of precious seconds we let waste away.”
During the rain delay, Dotson said, players had every bit of confidence the defense would hold on third-and-11 and the game would be put in the offense’s hands to win. Once third down played out as expected – Brent Grimes broke up the pass to Kenny Britt and forced a punt – the confidence carried over into the final drive, with 1:42 remaining.
Tampa Bay’s offense started from its own 44-yard line before Winston completed three straight passes for 29 yards to the Rams 27. After an incompletion, Winston hit Charles Sims who stayed in bounds to get the first down – an attentive play, given the Bucs had two timeouts available.
But instead of stopping the clock at 27 seconds and taking time to re-assess the situation, the Bucs raced to the line of scrimmage, let 13 seconds tick away and threw another incompletion intended for Vincent Jackson.
“When we got the ball and started that two-minute drive, we were moving down the field and it was like, ‘There is not a doubt in our mind we’re going to win this game,’” Dotson said. “Then we let a lot of seconds tick away. And then we had like nine seconds to go, get pushed back on a penalty (false start on Donovan Smith) and now we have four seconds and one chance.”
After forgoing the chance to call timeout after the 12-yard pass to Sims, the Bucs never needed to stop the clock because they threw four straight incompletions. The plan was to complete the passes, of course, and Dirk Koetter didn’t want to halt momentum, but the decision to not spend one will be certainly draw criticism.
While clock management during the final drive was the final straw for Tampa Bay, it was far from the only miscue Sunday. The last two minutes were rather just a summary of a game that saw countless missed opportunities – from stalled drives in the third quarter, to two critical missed kicks, to two long third-down conversions surrendered by the defense.
“Everybody played a hand in it. It was a team effort,” Dotson said. “Everyone in every phase had some mishaps. The Rams are a good team. They’re a team that plays hard, but they’re a team we should’ve definitely beaten. And that’s one we let get away from us.”
That last line – “One we let get away from us” – was one said by Dotson multiple times, both in the locker Sunday and at the facility Monday. This was a tough game for the Bucs to lose. The schedule is tough enough, Dotson said, making this one, the home opener against a team that had scored nine points in the first two weeks, even more “devastating.”
Dotson was asked what went through his mind as he saw Winston get tackled as time ran out.
“I knew right there and then we let one get away,” Dotson said. “When it was over with, and Jameis got hit, it was like, ‘We let one get away.’ It was a game we should’ve won and a game I thought we were going to win. I thought we fought hard. Guys up front, we fought our behinds off. I came out of that game feeling like I had been in a dogfight. Not to win [the game], it hurts. I think we played too hard and put too much into it.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
We can beat Denver. Go Bucs!
Horse I absolutely love your spirit, but there is no chance we beat Denver. I just hope Jameis makes it out of there alive.
Of course there is a chance.
On any given Sunday gentleman… of course there is a chance! I’m pretty sure nobody will pick the Buc’s to win this game. Just like I tell the young baseball players… just make the routine plays. Nothing fancy. just know where u should be in a given situation. We need Hargraves to emerge as a player. Kid has excelled at every level he has played. I believe he will become this defense’s R. Barber. Come on Spence! This kid had been projected as a #1 overall top pick at one time. He is an elite athlete. We need him to put it all together and start showing up on the stat sheet. Make the routine plays, “extra points, field goals inside 40 yards, stops on 3rd and long and lastly know ur assignment! If everyone does their job then the playmakers will begin to make plays. Buc’s shock the world!… ok, maybe not the world, but certainly 95% of the NFL watching public. That 5% is Buc’s fans. Buc’s win 30-20 and Roberto kicks 3 field goals… ok gotta go as my beer is getting warm. I’m just saying…
Oh yea, welcome aboard Zach! Call em like u see um my man! Peace.
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