But even this play required a review! The referees needed to determine whether McCaffrey extended the ball over the first-down marker before going out of bounds! Pereira was quick to point out that this would be the defining play of the game, and so of course you’d want to get it right, who could possibly complain about using up several more precious minutes of my actual finite life to review that damn play in super slow motion, even though everyone watching it could see the play sucked and McCaffrey didn’t make it.


So the Bucs walked out with a 20–14 win, the first of the Arians era. You would not think anything on television Thursday night could be more soul-darkening than the presidential debate, and perhaps you’re right. But this football game improbably gave that dreary spectacle a real run for its money, which should not be possible. The NFL can’t make quarterbacks play well, and it can’t make linemen block better, and it can’t stop Bucs defensive backs from mugging receivers when all I want to do is go to bed. The only thing it can control is its rules and how they are applied. This simply can’t be what anyone had in mind.