The Call That Killed The Bucs Season

December 19th, 2010

It was third down. The Bucs had the ball on the Lions-2 with just under nine minutes left in the game and the Bucs trailed 17-14.

Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman goes back to pass. He sees tight end Kellen Winslow in the back of the end zone, locked in hand-to-hand combat with a defender.

Winslow was clearly held. It was the kind of grip Joe someday hopes to clasp Rachel Watson with in the wee hours of the morning.

Winslow, as Joe imagines Rachel Watson might, struggled to turn himself free and when he did, Winslow make a crazy catch for what appeared to be a 20-17 lead.

But no! A zebra thought different. Ignoring the fact Winslow was literally handcuffed by a defender, Winslow was flagged for offensive pass interference. The touchdown was waved off. The Bucs had to settle for a field goal.

There is no way of sugarcoating it: The call was horrible.

“It looked like two guys locked up,” Freeman said

It was more than that. It was the Bucs playoffs vanishing before our very eyes. The Bucs never recovered, the season rendered to wondering about the draft in April.

This is the latest example of why interference calls should be reviewable by officials.

33 Responses to “The Call That Killed The Bucs Season”

  1. Jesse Says:

    Is there any crazy thing we can do to still make playoffs? there’s gotta be something.

  2. Gary Says:

    Horrible call no doubt about that, but the play that cost the season in my mind was on D. How in the world do you let Elbert Mack cover Calvin Johnson for that 3rd down? I just can’t believe that man still is on the team. Mack didnt even get a chance to make a play, he slipped like a little bitch giving so much respect to Calvin.

    This loss is squarely on Rah’s shoulders. He always seems to have a 80% good game plan on D, but the other 20% is garbage. The whole world knew we would pressure Stanton, but then we give 20 yd cushions on Calvin each and every time. Pathetic.

  3. Buc Neckid Says:

    That’s not crying over bad calls or blaming refs for losing,
    It is just stating fact.
    Bad call,
    Flagrant Call,
    Not the only bad call,
    and was definitely key to the outcome to the game.
    The OT C.Johnson – one foot in bounds call was questionable also.
    Regardless, how that endzone call was ever made is totally Horrible

  4. Buc Neckid Says:

    However, i love Rah’s take.
    Don’t Blame Refs for losing, EVER
    If there ever was a more blatant call that impacted the game it was this one.
    Rah gets credit for not Bitchin’

  5. Patrick Says:


    Can you post an entry on all the different playoff scenarios for us to possibly make the playoffs?

    There’s no way we can be out of it yet.

  6. gitarlvr Says:

    Its hard to put the loss on that call though. You cant control what the officials call. You can, however, control whether or not you hand off twice to Cadillac Williams or twice to Legarrette Blount on 1st and 10 in the redzone, when driving for a game winning touchdown, when the playoffs are on the line. How come no one is talking about that pathetic sequence of play calling??? The Bucs basically settled for a FG without even trying to score a TD. Thats not being conservative. Thats just awful coaching. Period. I have to say thats the first time all year where the coaching staff just made me say WTF you retards? At least when they went for those bombs on 3rd and short in the previous couple games they were being aggresive. Scared that Blount might fumble so you play not to lose instead of playing to win. How do you get scared and not play to win against the Lions defense? This wasnt the Ravens run defense.

  7. Leroy Buttermilk Says:

    They played not to lose and they lost went conservative on both sides of the ball. I love the Buccaneers and admire what some of the youngsters have accomplished. The Object, M Williams, Benn, and at times Straughter. The O line gave up a ton of sacks today and the D backs looked outclassed and overpowered.Everything went the way it should have today The saints lost the giants lost New England should beat greenbay and what happens here Detroit comes in your backyard and farts in your mothers face who’s drinking that koolaid

  8. jesse j Says:

    I agree 100%. But our D had plently of chances of to make a stop and just couldnt.

    Buc fans, we dont we have nothing to be down about though. Youngest team in the league with tremendous upside. THis team plays for these coaches, we simply had too many devestating injuries.

  9. al Says:

    If that call was a sandwich, it would be a $hit sandwich!

  10. gitarlvr Says:

    Were not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet guys. Thats not what Joe is saying. We are however in all reality eliminated unless you live in a fantasy world where this team with this defense is going to beat the Seahawks AND the New Orleans Saints in the next two weeks. Does anyone honestly think this Gerald McCoy-less defense will be able to pressure and stop Matt Hasselbeck let alone Drew Brees? Thats not even taking the running game into account.

  11. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    @ Gary,

    I agree with you 100% that the defense cost us the game today, but not for the reasons you say. You have to be able to stop an offense with no timeouts and less than 2 minutes to play. There is no excuse, and I’m sure everyone on the team will agree. Elbert Mack is playing because we don’t have anyone else due to Talib being out. I don’t like the matchup with Johnson either, but who would you rather cover him? He is faster, bigger, and stronger than every one of our corners. Everybody tried today, nobody was successful. You have to give him cushion or he will beat you over the top. It’s a pick your poison situation with that guy. It would have sucked even worse to have him beat us over the top for a TD, don’t you think?

    Reality is, we just don’t have enough horses left to be a good team. We were already barely winning games when we were healthy, so when you lose as many guys as we have, it is not going to help. Again, we still should have won, but realistically I understand why we didn’t. Still sucks though.

  12. Troxell8t8 Says:

    The worst part about the call is the ref made the call based on the result of the play. If Winslow drops the ball, the defender isn’t looking back while holding onto Winslow, hence pass interference. It was just a plain bad call.

  13. gitarlvr Says:

    Even if the Bucs do win out I think there are still scenarios where they will be left out of the playoffs at 10-6. Its time to be realists though. The Bucs aren’t going to finish 10-6. They might beat the Seahawks next week but there is no way, barring an injury to Drew Brees, that this team is beating the Saints in two weeks.

  14. buc40 Says:

    @GITARLVR “How come no one is talking about that pathetic sequence of play calling???…

    i totally agree, i was at the bar saying to my friend why is blount on the sideline when the cameras panned over to him in that crucial drive. We actually thought he was hurt or something..

    @JOE, is it me or do we all have this same discussions about the refs after a loss . I hate to blame a game on a bad call but come on…todays game, atlanta game, baltimore game, etc… Its a pattern, but you know what, good teams persevere from that and win ball games. Just may take our team a bit to figure it out, but we got nothing but

  15. Hunter Says:

    What’s worse than this is that if we would’ve won and Eagles lost, we would be in wild card, for now, but both of those went in opposite directions today. Can’t believe Eagles won by getting 35 in 4th quarter. 🙁

  16. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    I see where you are coming from, and since we lost, obviously you are right. However, I have to admit when we picked up the first down, I was screaming to run the ball 3 times to force them to use their timeouts. I figured that they couldn’t tie the game with a little over a minute left and no timeouts. Plus, I thought we might bust one and pick up another first down or TD. Seemed like our OL was getting push. Our defense has got to be able to step up in that situation, but they haven’t proven they can.

  17. aldo Says:

    season its over, now, think about how to get the best LBs and DEs available

  18. Patrick Says:

    Just thought of something: If the Bucs beat the Seahawks next week and the Saints lose next week, the Bucs can then beat the Saints and finish 10-6 just like them. The question though is who would have the tiebreaker?

  19. Hunter Says:


    BUCS WIN BOTH AND EAGLES LOSE AT LEAST ONE MORE(Giants have to win division)

    BUCS WIN BOTH AND GIANTS LOSE BOTH (Eagles have to win division)

  20. Hunter Says:

    @ Patrick: Saints have tie-breaker……

  21. Pete 422 Says:

    NOBODY thought the Bucs would be in this position. This loss pissed me off, as did the call Joe writes about here along with gitarlvr’s points on that last drive.

    But as Jesse says, too many injuries for any team to over come, much less this young team. 3 back-ups on the O-line and a depleted D-line. The defense had to be re-tooled as far as personnel and maybe even scheme depending where they go with the personnel.

    I’m hoping they can come up with a win next week to secure a winning record.

  22. gitarlvr Says:

    I totally agree Hawaian!!!! Go ahead and run the ball three times….with Legarette Blount!!!!!! Taking Blount out of the game because your scared he will fumble in that situation was well……i dont have words for how weaksauce that was.

  23. gitarlvr Says:

    The seasons over guys. The Bucs arent beating New Orleans. I dont care if the scenario plays out to where the Bucs are in if they beat New Orleans. Dont set yourself up for that certain disappointment.

  24. Patrick Says:

    First, let’s just root the Patriots to beat the Packers tonight. That’s a good starting point.

    Week 16 matchups:

    Giants @ Packers- We need to pray that Aaron Rodgers is back for this game so the Packers can beat the Giants.

    Vikings @ Eagles- Hopefully Favre can come back for one more game and perform one last heroic performance.

    Saints @ Falcons- This game is huge. We need to root for the Falcons in this one.

    Week 17 matchups:

    Giants @ Redskins- Hell, Rex Grossman actually looked good today, so let’s hope he can pull off an upset against the Redskins

    Cowboys @ Eagles- Cowboys can beat the Eagles. They’re looking like a good team again

    BUCS @ Saints- LOL we all know who needs to win this game!

  25. Patrick Says:

    Correction: Let’s hope Grossman can pull off an upset against the Giants

  26. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Yep, but there is some legitimate concern with Blount fumbling. Then again, I think if you whispered in his ear, “hold onto that ball at all costs”, hopefully he would be ok. I guess we will never know. It’s still been a great season and I’m really excited about our future. This is going to be the longest off season ever, that’s for sure!

  27. Gary Says:


    I don’t care who we put on Johnson there, anyone but the WORST guy on the roster! If he beats Ronde, Biggers, Myron then all we can say is bad play by the defender. But when its F’in Elbert Mack who is the smallest weakest corner I have ever seen, its frustrating. Especially when CJ was tearing us up the whole game.

    Atleast make them earn it there. Putting that scrub on him was the same as bending over and giving the Lions some lube.

  28. Pete 422 Says:

    I agree about having Blount in there. He is going to be in that situation in the future anyway, might as well give him the ball and the experience.

  29. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I’m not disagreeing with you Gary. I don’t know how or why it happened (I’m not sure what coverage we were in), but I don’t like our chances with him covering Johnson either.

  30. below me Says:

    bad call and to make it worsr….how about that “no call” the next play when M. Williams was mugged in the corner of the end zone? they still should’ve won. too conservative, run Blount!

  31. gotbbucs Says:

    There should never EVER be a close game in which Blount doesn’t get over 20 carries.

  32. NYC BUC Says:

    Bad Coaching and Injuries too much to overcome in this game.
    Coaching-Blount 8yrds per carry 110 yrds but only gets 15 touches????? Whats wrong with that picture. Olsen continues to go away from the run and it drives me crazy I want to punch the TV. You abandon the run with its NOT working! Not when it IS working.
    If Blount had gotten 25-30 carries we would have put this game away and not put so much pressure on Freeman to make a play.
    Coaching- Elbert Mack on Megatron on the most important play of the game? Inexcusable!
    Injuries- Loss of Talib, Tanard, Grimm, McCoy, Price really was evident today.
    Next year we’ll be back-Go Bucs

  33. eric Says: