A late hit penalty against Bucs linebacker Lavonte David in the final seconds set up a game-winning 48-yard yard field goal by the New York Jets, allowing them to escape with a season-opening 18-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman appeared to have secured a Bucs win with a 61-yard drive moments earlier, hitting Vincent Jackson on a 37-yard pass to set up Rian Lindell's go-ahead 37-yard field goal with 34 seconds to play.
But on the ensuing possession, rookie quarterback Geno Smith hit former Buc tight end Kellen Winslow (who had New York's only touchdown of the day) for a 25-yard gain to the Jets 45. And on the next play, Tampa Bay's David pushed Smith after he scrambled out of bounds, tacking 15 yards on the end of Smith's 10-yard gain to put the ball at the Bucs 30.
Jets kicker Nick Folk was true on his game-winning kick with two seconds left to play.
Freeman finished the game completing 15 of 31 passes for 210 yards with one touchdown and an interception, which led to New York's touchdown late in the first half.
The Bucs got off to an awful start, committing penalties (including back-to-back delay of games), giving up sacks and handing the Jets a safety and 2-0 lead when center Jeremy Zuttah snapped the ball past Freeman and it went out of the end zone.
The Bucs rebounded, however, scoring a pair of touchdowns — a 17-yard pass from Freeman to Mike Williams then a 5-yard run by Doug Martin one play after Mason Foster stripped Smith of the ball on a sack and rookie Akeem Spence recovered.
The Jets pulled within 14-12 just before halftime after Freeman's overthrow was intercepted by Dawan Landry and returned 38 yards to the Bucs 31. Smith connected twice with Winslow on the drive, first for 18 yards then for the 7-yard touchdown.
The teams traded punts through the early part of the fourth quarter when a penalty on Bucs corner Leonard Johnson allowed the Jets to sustain a 65-yard drive. Smith's scramble on third and 6 from his 27 fell well short, but Johnson was flagged for holding, giving New York a first down at its 32.
Smith picked up three more first downs on the drive, setting up Folk's 30-yard field goal with 5:05 to play and leading to the late-game dramatics.
Jets 2, Bucs 0
Scoring play: Jets score a safety when the ball is snapped into the end zone on third and 5 from the Tampa Bay 8 and Josh Freeman kicks the ball out of the end zone.
Bucs 7, Jets 2
Drive: 5 plays, 44 yards, 2:38
Scoring play: Mike Williams 17-yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman (Rian Lindell kick)
Key plays: Freeman 7-yard pass to Vincent Jackson to NYJ 32; Freeman 12 pass to Jackson to NYJ 20.
Bucs 7, Jets 5
Drive: 13 plays, 55 yards, 5:06
Scoring play: Nick Folk 43-yard field goal
Key plays: Geno Smith 13-yard pass to Santonio Holmes on third and 11, to Jets 32; Smith 21-yard pass to Tommy Bohannon on third and 7, to TB 44; Smith 13-yard run on third and 8 (and 5 more yards for defensive holding), to TB 24.
Bucs 14, Jets 5
Drive: 1 play, 5 yards, :05
Scoring play: Doug Martin 5-yard touchdown run (Lindell kick)
Key plays: Blitzing MLB Mason Foster sacks QB Geno Smith at the Jets 5, stripping the ball for a fumble that was recovered by rookie DT Akeem Spence.
Bucs 14, Jets 12
Drive: 6 plays, 31 yards, 1:59
Scoring play: Kellen Winslow 7-yard touchdown pass from Smith (Folk kick).
Key plays: Dawan Landry intercepts Freeman pass and returns 38 yards to TB 31; Smith 8-yard pass to Jeremy Kerley, plus 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on S Dashon Goldson after helmet-to-helmet contact, to TB 19; Smith 18-yard pass to Winslow to TB 7.
Jets 15, Bucs 14
Drive: 14 plays, 65 yards, 6:16
Scoring play: Folk 30-yard field goal
Key plays: Defensive holding on CB Leonard Johnson after third-down pass is incomplete, giving Jets first down at the NYJ 32; Smith 18-yard pass to Clyde Gates to midfield; Smith 6-yard pass to Bilal Powell on third and 2, to TB 36; Smith 14-yard pass to Powell to TB 20.
Bucs 17, Jets 15
Drive: 9 plays, 61 yards, 1:40
Scoring play: Lindell 37-yard field goal
Key plays: Doug Martin 17-yard run to TB 37; Freeman 37-yard pass to Jackson to NYJ 26.
Jets 18, Bucs 17
Drive: 5 plays, 50 yards, :32
Scoring play: Folk 48-yard field goal.
Key plays: Smith 25-yard pass to Winslow to NYJ 45; Late-hit 15-yard penalty on LB Lavonte David on Smith scramble, moving Jets into field goal range at the Bucs 30.