It came down to one final play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday. And as crazy as it looked, it’s actually a play that the Buccaneers practice and came very close to pulling off a last-play touchdown in a 34 – 29 loss.
First, let’s set the stage with the particulars.
After Matt Bryant’s amazing 57-yard field goal, on a kick where he injured his right hamstring making it, Tampa Bay knew it needed a touchdown to win.
Without any timeouts, the Buccaneers marched into Falcons territory on two big completions to receivers Mike Evans and then, to Adam Humphries. That second catch by Humphries came in the middle of the field and required Tampa Bay to run up and spike the ball to stop the clock.
Now, with 12 seconds remaining and at Atlanta’s 21-yard line, Winston dropped back under pressure and threw the ball away with 7 seconds left.
That meant there would be one final play, without a timeout, where the Bucs had to have a touchdown from the 21-yard line.
Atlanta was expecting anything and everything defensively, and even put wide receiver Julio Jones in at safety to stand in the middle of the end zone in case there was a jump ball with one of the big Buccaneer receiving targets.
What happened next was something straight out of the Old Cal-Stanford “the band is out on the field” lateral play in their famous 1980s finish with one of the Golden Bears smashing into a trombone player in the endzone for the win.
Watch the final sequence here as Jameis Winston, on purpose, takes off with the ball running towards the middle of the field:
— NFL (@NFL) October 14, 2018
Even crazier, DeSean Jackson is standing by himself on the near side line, and if Mike Evans had gotten him the ball cleanly, he more than likely would have raced into the corner of the end zone with no time left.
And now the craziest, as Winston (shown flinging the ball above) explained after the game on the Buccaneers radio network, it is a play that they practice:
“We prepare for that a lot. The main thing is: don’t get tackled with the ball in your hands. So, give everybody a chance….you can’t go down with the ball in your hands.”
Winston was asked whether he has an option to fling the ball to either side on the play? “Absolutely. The main thing about that play is you cannot get tackled with the ball in your hands. We had a good chance there. It just didn’t turn out how we wanted.”
Further, receiver Adam Humphries, who was the first player trying to pick the ball up after Winston had flung it backwards, had this to say in his post game radio interview:
“They (Atlanta) are in a ‘Sticks coverage’ kind of, on the goal line. They’re trying to guard the out of bounds-trying to keep us in bounds…ran a little draw play, got a lot of options to pitch it back….it had a chance.”
Clearly, the Falcons were confused and were going at the pile and the ball.
One defender, Domontae Kazee, was outside of the pile of players and might have been the guy that could have tackled Jackson had he caught the Evans lateral cleanly. Again, most likely Jackson would have scored had he gotten the ball.
In an amazing offensive day for both teams, and the Falcons deserve credit for the win.
And while there will be a lot of second-guessing on Monday, Winston did get inside the 10-yard line and the Bucs did have a chance at that final touchdown.
Would they have had a better chance lobbing the ball into multiple players and hoping for a penalty? That can be debated.
Still, a lot of times games end in crazy fashions, a broken play succeeds.
And, the Buccaneers almost scored on one has the clock read 0:00 Sunday.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.