Eric Page Speaks

December 15th, 2013

eric page 1215

The Bucs had just given up a field goal for the 49ers to take a 23-14 lead with 4:27 left in today’s game. Not a perfect scenario for the Bucs but certainly enough time for a comeback.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Bucs decided to go with some trickery. The Bucs had practiced a reverse or a handoff of some type to fool the 49ers and allow for a big kick return.

Problem was, it turned out the Bucs looked like fools. Initial replays (NFL film not yet available on as of this writing) showed that kick returner Eric Page attempted to hand off to Russell Sheppard but the ball — again, from the replay angle Joe initially saw — was not placed in Sheppard’s gut; that’s failing Football 101 for handing a ball off.

(After the play, Bucs commander Greg Schiano was seen on the sideline chewing out Page and on the ensuing kickoff, it was Skye Dawson, not Page, who was on the field. So draw your own conclusions.)

Instead of the handoff, the ball fell on the ground and Kendall Hunter scooped and scored from two yards out to give the 49ers a 30-14 lead, slamming the door on any comeback chance the Bucs may have had.

Joe caught up with Page after the game.

“We have been working on that play for a few weeks,” Page said. “Yeah, it was called before we went out. It just wasn’t executed right.

“I mean, I will have to take a good look at [the tape]. We executed it in practice. It just didn’t work the way we thought it would work. There was obviously a handoff issue. I think that was the biggest thing. I have watch it [on tape] again, I think it was just a handoff issue.”

Page wouldn’t elaborate further about the play, wanting to watch film to find out why the play broke down.

Still, it broke the Bucs’ backs today. Whether that was the right time to call a kick return play like that remains debatable.

29 Responses to “Eric Page Speaks”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Good call….poor execution….plain & simple….if it worked…could have given us some big yards….

  2. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Like I said, that’s a very tough play in a desperate situation. I don’t blame Page, nor do I blame the staff. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

  3. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Say what you want about Page’s punt returning abilities, but he has given the Bucs p!ss-poor KR play since before this game. Terrible decision making, running it out of the back of the endzone and not making it past the 20, fumbling, etc. This just adds to the list, the call was pretty dumb as well though IMO. Some people say Schiano has nothing to lose, well he still has his JOB to lose, I could understand doing something like that in the 2nd or 3rd quarter. But with the game on the line, it was too high of a risk to take. Even if the handoff had been successful it didn’t seem like it was going to be a huge return.

  4. Gus Says:

    NO IT WOULD NOT HAVE. Hunter is right there to make a hit at the 10. He was coming in full speed. Watch it again….

  5. Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Who cares, the game was lost by then anyway.

  6. Gus Says:

    @Hawaiian we weren’t that desparate at this point in the game. DOWN BY 6. And the offense was finally in a rhythm. I actually would have been happy with him taking a knee at that point. For the first time in the game, it looked like they had an idea of how to move the football, why the hell would you risk it with this stupid ass call. It was unnecessary!

  7. Gus Says:

    Sorry I meant 9.

  8. Jason Says:

    This play pissed me off to no end, and sealed the game for us. After coming back from 17-0 to make it a game with sound football and gutsy plays, the coaching staff decided to piss it all away with this play. Unbelievable.

  9. dee Says:

    We have a serious problem and it looks like coaching.

  10. Mike Says:

    Ummm we were down by 9 at that point

  11. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    We were down nine with 4 minutes left. That’s the very definition of desperate. You really think we were going to score quickly and recover an onside kick? Boy, you sure do have some faith in our good luck.

  12. Tim Says:

    Has Page done anything all year, exciting that is? Kind of like the whole team, boring and losing.

  13. Rob Says:

    Horrific execution by practice squad quality players. Fire the coach and move on. Get Manziel too

  14. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Yes to Schiano. No to Manziel.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Gus

    Maybe….maybe not…hard to tell if the ball is handled cleanly..
    The point is….we are down 2 scores….we just didn’t execute….if we did, there would be no discussion.

  16. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    And by yes I mean: KEEP SCHIANO!!!

  17. JerseyBucsFan Says:

    Keep your head up page hopefully you can showcase what you can do for a new coach next year

  18. dee Says:

    Time and time again th

    is coaching staff have failed to put the players in position to make plays fire them.

  19. Clowney Says:

    It looks like the Niners had been studying the Rutger’s offense all week, but when the Bucs changed the tempo up, they were helpless.

    Luckily the Buc’s coaching staff huddled together during halftime and decided to stick with the Rutger’s 2 yards and a cloud of dust offense. After all, that’s what was decided last Wednesday in the staff meetings.

    Why change when it’s working so well?

  20. BucFanForever Says:


    Plus one.

    I am so glad that they decided to stick with an offense that worked for a full 5 minutes and 13 seconds this game; I just dream of the possibilities if they used it for 25-35 minutes a game. Probably, we wouldn’t need to debate coaches at all.

  21. Patrick in VA Says:

    It’s frustrating but we did show signs of life in the second half, which has not been the case before. It’s a feeble thing to hang on to when the game was winnable if not for poor execution at times and costly penalties others (lvd pick six). We played a good team competitively for 56 minutes. Given what we have to work with, I can live with that. Solid drafting and recovery from injuries will go a long way this off season

  22. That Guy Says:

    “But that play worked in the Big East!”


  23. patrickbucs Says:

    @Hawaiian Buc Says:

    So were out of the game with 4 minutes to go down 9? Are you serious? the odds are greatly against it but we can score on teams prevent defenses:) In all seriousness you never know, it’s just another demoralizing home loss where they made a bit of a comeback. The call just looks amateurish like most of the idiotic things he’s brought from his Rutgers days.

    Let’s not forget SF had a huge win at home against their rivals then travelled across country for an early game and still dominated us big time. Bucs are a poorly coached team with not as much talent as most of us thought including me.

  24. Bobby Says:

    Yeah, when plays don’t get executed properly it always looks like a dumb call. If it would have worked for a big gain we’d be calling Wannstedt a genius. That’s football. Clearly the 49’rs are a better team right now. We were in the game up until the miscue. Wish we had more weapons besides Tim Wright and V-Jax. No running game right now.

  25. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    I really hate when someone puts words in my mouth. When down 9 with 4 minutes left (and you have our offense), I don’t like our chances to methodically move the ball down the field, then either recover an onside or stop them, then get the ball back and move into fg range. I’m fine with us taking a chance to try to get a big play. That’s the very thing we haven’t been doing this season (during our 0-8 start that is), so I’m fine with it. That play didn’t cost us the game, although it did seal our fate.

    I’m by no means a Schiano guy, so don’t get it twisted. However, I’m not going to jump on every little thing he does or doesn’t do. While he has made a plethora of mistakes, he’s done some good things too. That’s just being fair. That doesn’t mean he’s a good coach or he should be back, but I’m not going to blame everything on him. Like many have said, he’s probably coming back anyway, so it’s irrelevant. But this is far down on the list of stupid things Schiano has done.

  26. lurker Says:


    go to the eagles board to talk about the great game against the formidable vikings. chip the dip is revolutionizing the league, huh.

  27. Bill T Says:

    Bottomline, even if the play was called, Page has to know not to run it out 8 yards deep (as we all saw Wannstead questioning him after the play). Page is a grown man and should know this.
    The Bucs aren’t the worst team in the league and even though so many say they have all this “great talent”, they really don’t. They have 3-4 really good players, but so does nearly every team in the league. The Bucs lost to a much better team. They had a chance in the 4th, but too many missed tackles on that key drive was the end.

  28. mark2001 Says:

    Hawaiian….yes, when you are down by 9 to an above average teem with less than 4 minutes, you are in big trouble. To assume that you can march down field against their “prevent defense”, should they even choose to employ it…which I highly doubt….would have been a long shot. That you can recover an onside kick or stop them with likely no time outs, is a long shot. Obviously it made the game look much more lopsided. But the killer was giving up multiple first downs on their three point drive…and not the botched long shot.

  29. Coaching decision led to a big blunder » The Bay Cave Says:

    […] that “guy” that made a mistake being Eric Page, he was asked about what happened on the reverse. He too says the play was […]