Where Was The Stiff-Arm?October 22nd, 2012
Yes, Joe’s obsessing about Saints DB Malcolm Jenkins making up about 30 yards on Vincent Jackson to tackle the Bucs’ No. 1 receiver after his Bucs-record-breaking catch and run for 95 yards yesterday– one yard from the end zone.
Joe’s stunned disbelief that Jackson was out-willed on the play is no reflection on anything else Jackson does or has done. Like any dramatic play or action in sports, it’s only one play, and Joe’s simply judging the moment.
Yeah, Joe realizes many fans say, “how dare you” question Jackson’s will on the play, Joe? Joe’s response is that there’s no other way to describe what happened. If the tables were flipped and Jenkins was, say, Mark Barron, every Bucs fan today would be lauding Barron for “wanting it” more than his opponent.
Take this video clip from Bucs history in 2008 (2:47 of the video), when Jermaine Phillips simply wanted the ball more than the Falcons tight end wanted a touchdown. It was a huge play in that big game. Just an amazing show of will by Phillips. Yesterday, Jenkins gave the Saints that kind of extreme desire.
Chris Webber’s famous timeout that his Michigan basketball team didn’t have left for him to call, or Bucs running back’s coach Earnest Byner’s fumble that shocked the NFL and people of Cleveland, or Bill Buckner’s World Series gaffe, these were miscues that were magnified by the circumstances.
Jackson’s failure was magnified by the Bucs’ inability to score on first-and-goal from the 1 yard line, and Jackson getting caught has flummoxed many an observer. And while it’s hardly of the magnitude of the famous ones mentioned above, it’s still a mind-blower being talked about today.
Joe ran into a couple of random Bucs fans at Publix – and talked to a Saints fan on the phone — and that’s the first thing they wanted to chat about this afternoon.
One can speculate all day long that Jackson was somewhat hobbled by a calf strain, though that’s rather illogical considering his production and watching him run routes yesterday before and after that 95-yard play.
Perhaps the bigger mystery is why Jackson, after turning his head back three times during the run, to presumably see Jenkins, didn’t switch the ball into his left hand and try and fight off Jenkins, or make a dive for the pylon.
It’s one thing to run out of gas; it’s another thing to run out of gas and out of fight. Buccaneers Radio Network analyst and former tight end Dave Moore had no explanation during an appearance with the Ron and Ian Show this morning.
“I’m not really sure because we’ve seen him run,” Moore said of what happened to Jackson. “We’ve seen him run by defenders. Once that ball was tipped and then he caught it, he was never really in the fifth gear to slow down to third gear. He just never really, I guess he’s been bothered by a calf or something. I mean, you know, whether he was tired when he caught the ball to run, or either way, we can analyze it anyway we want. If he puts the ball in the left hand throws a stiff-arm, he can probably drag the guy for another two yards. But there are plenty of opportunities to second guess it.”
Jackon did nothing to end any speculation after the game and he discovered his stiff-arm move for prying reporters.
Joe’s still a big fan of Jackson, but he fell a small notch in Joe’s eyes for that play.