The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were given a lifeline late in their game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. On a fourth-and-2, it certainly appeared as though the Titans were lining up to kick the field goal and extend their lead to 30-23. However, when the ball was snapped to Brett Kern he picked it up and tried to run for the first down, in the hopes that the trick play would catch Tampa Bay off guard. Luckily for the Bucs, their field goal unit is filled with talented athletes, and rookie Devin White was able to get to Kern and absolutely level him well short of the first-down marker. The hit was so powerful that the Titans punter dropped the ball.
Celebrations ensued after Andrew Adams scooped it up and ran it into the end zone, with Tampa Bay players and coaches believing that they were about to be up 30-27. There was just one problem: an official had blown the whistle immediately after the tackle as he didn’t notice that the ball was loose on the ground. Despite protests from the Bucs, and a brief review, the official’s ruling stood and Tampa Bay instead had to take over from the 28-yard line.
I know what you’re thinking: “But Gabe, how did that decision rob the Bucs of a win when Jameis Winston had an opportunity to drive his team down the field for a go-ahead score?” Well, that answer is within your question. The Bucs were robbed because instead of officials properly awarding them the easy defensive score, they were forced to rely on Winston to get that game-winner. The turnover machine had two chances at the end of the game to put something positive together for his team, and failed at both:
There’s just something about NFL officials that makes them lose their ability to properly judge what is and isn’t a fumble when an NFC South team is playing.