Delay of game penalty dooms Buccaneers' FG attempt
Six inches to the right -- that's how close Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Gay's 34-yard field goal attempt came from sliding through the uprights and sealing a win over the New York Giants.
Alas, Gay pushed the kick with time running out, and Tampa Bay fell, 32-31.
It was Gay's third missed kick of the afternoon -- the rookie missed two extra points in the first quarter -- but one that could have possibly been avoided if not for a strange decision from Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians.
Two plays prior to the missed kick, Bucs WR Mike Evans hauled in a 44-yard catch at New York's nine-yard line. Tampa Bay rushed to the line of scrimmage on first down and spiked the ball with 13 seconds to go.
Then, Tampa Bay took a delay of game penalty, but not because it wasn't ready to snap the ball or because it didn't have any timeouts -- the Bucs had one. Arians said he took the five-yard penalty intentionally.
"I just took it on purpose," Arians told reporters after the game. "Yeah, that field goal's easier back five yards. No sense hurrying. We wanted to move the ball over, put it in the middle and make it easier for him."
Gay said having the ball farther back didn't help or hurt his chances of making the kick.
"If it does, then that's not right. I have to make it from wherever on the field. I've got to make them short, from long. So it doesn't matter at this point, you know. It just got to go through. Doesn't matter if it's 50 (yards) or 20."
On the next play, Bucs QB Jameis Winston moved the ball into the middle of the field and lost two yards on a kneeldown. Tampa Bay then called its final timeout with four seconds left, setting up the failed 34-yard field goal attempt.
"I was confident, going up until the last kick," Gay said. "I was confident throughout the whole game, confident when I walked out on the field. Just didn't connect with the ball well."
Asked if anything appeared off on Gay's kick, Arians said, "It looked like it missed about six inches to the right."
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians explained that he took a delay-of-game penalty "on purpose" as Tampa Bay drove downfield late but wound up losing 32-31 on a missed field goal. The decision happened with the
When kicker Matt Gay missed a 34-yard game-winning field goal try as time expired for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, some fans were quick to blame a delay of game penalty taken right before the
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