Last season the Buccaneers lost a game against Cincinnati on a penalty for having too many men on the field. They lost another against the Rams because of a 10-second runoff that drained the clock and left no chance for a game-winning field goal. And one time in 2014 they went into overtime, fumbled on the opening play from scrimmage and watched the Vikings scoop and score to win 19-13 – all of these games at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Fast forward to 2015, the Buccaneers came dangerously close yet again to adding to that list of “find-a-way-to-lose-games” when Jameis Winston fumbled at the one-yard line and appeared to gift the Cowboys a 6-3 win.
Good thing for Jeff Heath, though. The guy who intercepted two passes earlier in the game was there to hold to Russell Shepard in the end zone and give the Bucs a new set of downs from the goal line.
“It feels good to be on the good side of stuff like that,” said Mike Evans, who caught eight passes for 126 yards Sunday, and was also the reason for the injury-timeout that caused the Bucs to lose in Week 2 last year.
“It was a pretty bang-bang play,” added center Joe Hawley. “For some reason it seems like we don’t get a lot of those calls, the ball doesn’t bounce our way. Today it did. It kind of shows you the group we have, to pull away with a win.”
Having to settle for a game-tying field goal would’ve been hard enough to swallow, let alone losing just one yard away from the end zone. When the offense took the field at their own 44-yard line for the final drive, they had one outcome on their mind and were determined to finish.
“We were going to win,” Evans said. “We didn’t want to take a field goal. We wanted to win and we did it. Jameis, myself and everybody else was like, ‘We want to score a touchdown, we want to win.’ And we went in and did it.”
They did it on the very next play, as Jameis Winston play-action bootlegged to the right corner of the end zone and walked in for the one-yard, game-winning touchdown.
And that was the play that mattered.
“The touchdown was magical, man,” Winston said. “Had a great fake, a great call, found the way into the end zone. The play before that… I have no recollection.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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For those who think the penalty flag was a stroke of undeserved good fortune; it sure would have been the same good luck for the Cowboys when Jameis fumbled the ball all on his own. No defender had anything to do with it. As far as I’m concerned the flag was legitimate and was justice served. Bucs outplayed Jerry’s boys the whole day but just couldn’t get it translated to the scoreboard.
This is all to normal for the NFL. Games coming down to a final few plays, ball bounces funny, something crazy happens. We can nit pick certain plays, and players all we want, but lady luck has a lot to do with the outcome of football games. This week the football gods smiled on us, next week who knows.
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