The Mike Williams Robbery

October 21st, 2012

It is a testament to this Bucs team that, after playing as horribly as it did for roughly 40 minutes or so, it was in position to tie — or take a lead in the final seconds.

It shows how much this team has advanced under the New Schiano Order.

What looked to be a touchdown to bring the Bucs within an extra point of tying, or a two-point conversion of winning, was waved off when Mike Williams, who caught the pass from quarterback Josh Freeman, was ruled to have illegally returned to the end zone after being out of bounds.

The controversy comes because Williams clearly was pushed out of bounds by a Saints defender.

Now, if the official in question believed Josh Freeman was out of the pocket, and therefore the push was legal, well, that is nothing but interpretation. On face value, it is a travesty of a call and outright burglary.

Williams wouldn’t walk into the murky waters of the play after the game.

“It was a play where, basically, someone has to get open. Basically, it was the last play of the game. I let a guy [Patrick Robinson] get a push on me in the back of the end zone. I think I stepped out of bounds. I got open, but I stepped out of bounds. That’s what happened,” Williams said.

When Williams was asked if he knew during the act if he was out of bounds, he said, “No, not at first. I know he got a good push on me in the back of the end zone. I guess I stepped out of bounds.”

With no idea he committed a penalty, Williams thought for sure he put the Bucs in position to tie the game.

“But I stepped out of bounds.”

When asked by Doug Fernandes of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune if Williams believed Robinson, and not Williams, should have been flagged, Williams took the road less fined and said, “That’s not my call.”

Now clearly if one looks at the replay, Williams was shoved a good three yards out of bounds, but Freeman had rolled out under pressure to his left. The fact that Freeman was out of the tackle box may have been why Robinson was not flagged for defensive holding or interference.

30 Responses to “The Mike Williams Robbery”

  1. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    “The fact that Freeman was out of the tackle box may have been why Robinson was not flagged for defensive holding or interference.”

    That is EXACTLY why Robinson wasn’t called for illegal contact. Everyone in the media, including Mike Pereira, is saying the same exact thing: Freeman was outside the tackle box and therefore the WRs are fair game to be shoved out of bounds as long as the football is not in the air yet.

    Simple call. Moving on. Nothing here to argue about.

  2. Snook Says:

    Good to know. So if a QB rolls out of the pocket, all DBs have to do is shove WRs out of bounds.

    That seems fair.

    What a joke.

  3. milos81 Says:

    FlBoy –

    I agree that that is the rule, but it’s a stupid rule, and not just because we got burned by it. If the D is allowed to push players out of bounds in some circumstance, then the receiver should be allowed to re-establish himself. You can’t just let Dbacks take receivers out of plays by shoving them out of bounds.

    (And I wonder, what if a Dback tries to shove a receiver out of bounds, but the receiver falls down in-bounds? In other words, the Dback basically just shoves the guy to the ground… Can’t he just say “I was trying to push him out of bounds”? Very weird).

  4. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Snook…WRs aren’t defenseless. They can shove back and fight for position. Also, that all becomes moot once the ball has left the QBs hand. At that point any contact become pass interference. Coaches have been teaching their DBs to shove the WR out of bounds if possible if the QB scrambles. The Bucs teach their own DBs to do the same exact thing. Just because we got out-shoved doesn’t mean it’s unfair. This rule has been on the books for many years.

  5. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Also remember that the same rule applies to the DB. In other words, if Williams had the presence of mind to shove Robinson out of bounds while Freeman was outside the tackle box it would’ve prevented Robinson from being able to defend the pass because he can’t come back in bounds and be the first player to touch the ball. It works both ways.

  6. Andrew Says:

    Now, if the official in question believed Josh Freeman was out of the pocket, and therefore the push was legal, well, that is nothing but interpretation.

    A matter of interpretation? what the heck are you talking about Joe it was clear as day. the eye in the sky doesnt lie.

  7. Nic Says:

    Good call by Mike, gotta save your money kid and the NFL is surely watching him like a hawk to make sure he doesn’t say anything. In the meantime, lets work on the play where we shove all the WRs out of bounds, that might have slowed Brees down a little.

  8. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    What a dumb, dumb rule.

    And that play PROOVED why it is a stupid rule.

    NFL needs to change it in the off season.

    The Bucs were robbed, point blank. Disgusting.

    Imagine all the fans at the game walking to their cars thinking… what a waste of freakin money.

  9. Wrong Says:

    Go look at the play. At the point Mike Williams was pushed. Josh was right outside the hash mark and still inside the tackle box. I don’t think very many of you have gone back and freeze framed the play. Josh was in the tackle box. Should have been illegal contact and at the very least one last chance, at best negated the illegal touching resulting in a touchdown.

  10. AtlBucsFan Says:

    Do we really expect to win against Brees when he has no dirt on his jersey? Do we really expect to get pressure on Brees with 3 down linemen? Do we really expect our defensive backs to cover the receivers when Brees has all day long to set up the pass? Sorry, this play didn’t lose the game. But the rule stinks and should be allowed to be reviewed by the refs to see where the players were during the point the penalty was made so a real interpretation can be made.

  11. Pete 422 Says:

    The fact the WR isn’t allowed to get back in bounds & establish himself makes the rule unfair.

  12. snook Says:


    The call is garbage and you know it. That call would never be made in New Orleans or against any other big time team. It’s crap. Just admit it.

    There woudve been an hour long special on ESPN about it if that call was made against the Saints.

  13. OptimisTroll Says:



  14. FloridaGirl Says:

    You cannot let a game be determined by interpretation of a rule. The team had more than enough chances to seize control of the game, but their mistakes and lack of execution led to the result that we have. I’m tired of hearing that the team is more competitive and that all of the losses have been 7 points or less. They need to learn killer instincts to close out the games.

  15. SensibleBuc Says:

    Too many mistakes to really get too worked up about the call. We had a multitude of opportunities to get the lead and failed miserably through penalties or lack of execution. Our coaching has to get better.

  16. BucfaninMi Says:

    If this were Green Bay we’d hear about it all week! I want the real refs back! … Oh wait, nevermind.

  17. BucSnob Says:

    The fact of the matter is, if Williams would have shoved the d back, offensive pass interference would have been called. Point blank. That rule sucks and it needs to be changed!

  18. chipbuc Says:

    I was at the game today, and in the third quarter we left 10 points on the field. Opening drive, missed field goal. Jackson goes 95 yards and doesnt score,and for some reason we run Blount 3 times for no gain,then try to roll out Freeman and it didnt work. Then the Saints go 95 yards and score, a 14 point swing. But for people to say the bucs are not way way way better are just haters.

  19. Eric Says:

    Wasn’t that much of a shove…..sort of half shove, half drift.

    Correct call, but they did go deep in the rule book this game.

  20. Wrong Says:

    what yall need to look at is this

    the push was 2 seconds before josh threw the ball….mike took 6 steps after he came back in before he caught the ball

    Go back and watch the play…..pause it at 10 seconds, when you see mike getting pushed

    Josh is still in the pocket, he is right next to the hash mark which is inside the tackles when the play started

    should of been illegal contact which could have been declined

    the play was ruled illegal touching because it was supposedly a legal force out(josh had to be out of the pocket for it to be legal), he wasn’t out of the pocket meaning it was illegal contact on the defender.

    There are always ups and downs in a game, what happened was a travesty. We fought back against our own mistakes and the other team and put ourselves in a place to send it to overtime. it should have been decided on the field by the players.

    It’s really similar to the calvin johnson play from a few years ago when they got screwed. A bad call at the wrong time, call Touchdown and let it go to overtime. Wasn’t even reviewed it was over when they said illegal touching, no review of josh being in or out of the pocket nothing about the play was reviewed and it directly affected the outcome. Some of you guys are out of touch with reality or something.

  21. tommy Says:

    we were robbed…again at home!!!

  22. ElioT Says:

    Like they say in boxing & MMA: Don’t leave it to the judges.

    The Bucs could have taken that damn game. Bummer…

  23. Kyle Says:

    Actually, Freeman was still within the pocket. Pocket is defined from side to side as 2 yards outside the tackles on either side (or TE if they stay back to block). Freeman was in the pocket when the illegal shove occured. Refs missed it.

    Also, the rule says you can make illegal contact with an “obstructing opponent,” which receivers are within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. Beyond that no illegal contact is allowed, because the receiver is no longer an obstructing opponent. The only exception is as followed (and this is the rule that’s being used to say the call was right):

    “An eligible receiver is considered to be an obstructing opponent only to a point five yards beyond the line of
    scrimmage unless the player who receives the snap demonstrates no further intention to pass the ball (including handing
    off the ball, pitching the ball, or moving out of the pocket).”

    So let me ask you, did Freeman demonstrate no further intention to pass the ball? Is the process of moving out of the pocket (even if the quarterback is within the pocket when the foul occurs) grounds for demonstrating this? I think not. I think a quarterback would have to tuck the ball and act as if they’re running for the illegal contact to be allowed down field. Clearly Freeman was still intending to throw the ball.

    Fact is, it should have been illegal contact on the defense, and by rule, if pushed out of bounds by an illegal act, the receiver can reestablish himself in bounds. TD stands. Bucs tie the game . . . eventually go on to win 🙂

  24. K1ngAdroc Says:

    Kyle is exactly right, thanks for that. …. but we still lost – sickening

  25. Ricky Bobby Says:

    Freeman was in the pocket, it was an illegal push OB on mike williams. He re-established and caught the ball for a TD to tie it up.
    This will not be talked about in mainstream sports media to any extent. Maybe if we were the Seahawks and it was against GB on Monday Night Football while replacement refs were making the calls.
    Noone cares about Tampa Bay, except its fans.

  26. Kyle Says:

    Actually I may be wrong (lol).

    I was chatting it up with Mike Pereira on Twitter and according to him, even though Josh was within the pocket, because he was moving away from the pocket there’s no way an official would say he was in the pocket. So the illegal contact is allowed.

    Doesn’t really make sense, but oh well. Also, the rule is obviously not in place so defenders can use it in the mannered it was used against us. In my opinion it needs to be tweaked so if an offensive players is pushed out of bounds (even legally) they can reestablish themselves in the field. I just can’t believe you can push someone out and basically take them out of the play.

  27. Ricky Bobby Says:

    Mike P is an idiot. If Free had tucked and run from the pocket, that would be one thing. That is clearly NOT the case during this play. I would suggest you take a look at the shot showing when Mike Williams was touched by the defender as Free was directly within the pocket NOT moving away from it.

  28. Ramdog Says:

    That call was BS. The final play in our house. Come on even if he is almost to the sidelines and Williams was sitting in the front row before he came back into bounds you CAN’T make that call. You think they would’ve made that call in New Orleans what about Pittsburgh ?? The Bucs are always getting shafted on weird penalties and plays. It is almost like they are cursed. What about Simeon Rice’s illegal jumping ?? WTF is that. That was the year after they won it all. This game we had illegal yelling. Come on. I can see if you are on the road but you are in your house you are supposed to get borderline calls there right ?? That is why it is the home field advantage. It is almost like the refs comb the rule books to screw us.

  29. DMC Says:

    I think Freeman was out of the pocket. Fine. That’s one ruling. In other words, no foul on the defender. That ruling has no bearing on the other ruling. A receiver that is pushed out of bounds, and quickly gets back in bounds is still eligible. Williams in fact did get immediately back in, and therefore was elgible. The Ref blew the call.

  30. Caleb Says:

    UMMMMM, how about not giving up 300yds and 4 tds to brees…….IN THE FIRST HALF!!!! maybe you wouldnt have to worry about the last play if your defence could stop any play thats not a run!