Bucs say coach-to-QB transmitter 'somehow went out' in critical goal line series
Bucs coach Raheem Morris said the coach-to-quarterback helmet transmitter inexplicably went out during the critical goal line drive in Sunday's 27-21 loss at Atlanta.
Trailing by six points, running back LeGarrette Blount was stopped inches short of a first down after a 2-yard run on third-and-3 from the Atlanta 4-yard line with under three minutes remaining in the game. Morris said referee Terry McAulay did not re-start the 25-second play clock after spotting the ball. The Bucs eventually were forced to burn their last time out with 2:44 left because Freeman was unable to hear offensive coordinator Greg Olson through his helmet transmitter.
"I think they made a mistake,'' Morris said. "We're in Atlanta and somehow our headsets went out in that play. We had to run out there and tell our quarterback and ran out of time. We had to use our timeout because we didn't have enough time to get to the line of scrimmage and snap the play because our headsets were out.
"You're supposed to re-set the (play) game clock when you're spotting the ball and we didn't get to re-set the game clock and our head sets didn't come back at all. So we never had the luxury of talking to our quarterback during that play. It is what it is. We had to use our timeout right there.''
On the next play, Blount bounced a down hill running play outside and was stopped on fourth-and-1 for no gain by Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud to end the drive.
"You would definitely challenge it if you had the timeout,'' Morris said. "A critical play in the game. You'd certainly like to challenge that play if you had a timeout.''
According to Morris, Blount was supposed to run inside behind guard Davin Joseph and Roy Miller, the Bucs' defensive end who was inserted at fullback on the play. Replays indicated there was a hole inside that Blount missed.
"He didn't run the wrong play, he just made the wrong cut,'' Morris said. "We're all great running backs the next day. If he bounces out there and runs over DeCoud and scores a touchdown, we're all having a pool party.
"But he stuck his foot in the ground, he made a cut, his vision at that time was different than ours would be today looking at tape and he should go down hill and he didn't. That happens. That's part of a young football team making a mistake but we'll come back and get better from it.''
Complicating matters was the fact that Blount was claimed off waivers after the final roster cutdown from the Tennessee Titans and did not get any fullspeed goal line work in training camp or the preseason. He did, however, score a touchdown on a goal line play in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"The play is designed, it's an A-gap to A-gap (between the guard and center) play,'' Olson said. "So the emphasis has got to be made to those backs that it's an A-gap to A-gap play. We've got to coach it better so he understands that.
"First of all, we should've been first-and-goal at the 6-yard line. We felt good when the ball was placed at the 11-yard line. We still felt good about the run game. We felt we'd been moving the ball in the last quarter and running it pretty consistently with Blount, so at that point, we said, "Let's make it a four-down situation here...that allows you to run the ball a little more running it. We're going to bludgeon them with Blount.
"I think that's another thing with LeGarrette Blount. Not being here in training camp, you get a lot of those live goal line scrimmages that he was not able to be a part of. So now it comes down to walk-through situations for him...but he'll learn from that.''