After controlling much of the first half, leading to 10 point advantage at the break, the Buccaneers offense suffered a complete meltdown as the third quarter got underway. After back-to-back drives ending in punts, Josh McCown was responsible for two momentum shifting turnovers, both of which led to a Bears’ possession inside the red zone and easy Matt Forte touchdowns.
And while it seemed like their implosion would never end, the offense eventually started to move the ball through the air. After connecting on three passes totaling 46 yards, the Buccaneers found themselves in decent position at the Bears’ 35-yard line trailing 21-10 in the final minutes of the third quarter.
Then came the ultimate dagger in any chance of earning their third victory.
On first down, McCown threw short to Vincent Jackson, who then fought for extra yards down to the Bears 8-yard line, before fumbling away possession making it the third straight drive ended by a turnover. Only, unlike the other two, this call was questionable. On the replay review, it appeared that Jackson’s left forearm was down before the ball came out.
“We followed, got the next drive going and golly I though Vince’s elbow was down on that thing,” said Josh McCown. “He made a good play fighting for extra yards, I thought he was down. (If we) get seven there, we’d put a little pressure on them. Those (turnovers) were unfortunate.”
“I thought he was down,” said Louis Murphy. “But that’s out of my hands, out of our hands. It’s up to the refs. But from my view, he looked down.”
During the review, Mike Periera, the former Vice President of Officiating also disagreed with the ruling, however said that the refs would need all-inclusive evidence to overturn the call. According to the McCown, the refs didn’t have enough.
“The only thing he told me was that the ball was… there was inconclusive evidence is basically what he told me. He said he couldn’t tell and that the ball looked like it was moving before Vince’s arm went down. But the one they showed in the stadium looked like his elbow was down, so that was frustrating.”
Lovie Smith agreed with both McCown’s assessment of the call and the unclear explanation from the officials.
“We don’t really get that much of an explanation,” Smith said. “They just tell you how and why they ruled it that way, but no more of an explanation besides that. I thought it was… you know I got a pretty good look on that one, and I thought of course he was down at the time.”
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]
“…inconclusive evidence”. Really? The replay showed he was down. If they are not going to use replay to get the call right then why have it? The replay official in New York need to be fired. That was terrible. It changed the game.
The officiating this season seems to be worse than ever. It’s just so inconsistent. The automatic review after scoring can take away the spontaneous excitement that follows when you hear the words, “The previous play is under further review.” I’d like to hear, “That last penalty flag is under further review.”
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