They should have spiked the football.
Nick Folk is probably done as Bucs kicker. But just because he's the face of the 19-14 loss to the Patriots doesn't mean he's the only one to blame.
Let's talk about coaching and lousy clock management.
Back it up, before that last try to win it, that Jameis Winston pass to O.J. Howard that fell incomplete as time expired.
Dirk Koetter and Winston mismanaged the clock at the end of this game.
They cost their teams precious play.
Think about it. There was 1:10 left when Winston dropped back and hit DeSean Jackson, who went for 24 yards to midfield. The clock was ticking.
Spike the ball!
Run up and spike it! Reset. Relax.
Instead, the Bucs go no huddle and snap the ball. Guys are going right and left. Winston is barking commands from the shotgun.
In the rush, and maybe confusion, Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson is called for a false start. Five yards the other way and, per the rules, a 10-second clock runoff.
It's first and 10 with 33 seconds left.
From 1:10 to :33.
Why didn't Winston race up and spike it after the Jackson catch and settle things down?
Why didn't Koetter go over this with him before the series began? It's Coaching 101.
It should have been predetermined: If you hit a long one, rush up and spike it. Save every second you can.
Downs don't matter at that point. Only time does.
The Bucs cost themselves at least 15 seconds.
Think maybe they could have used them a little later on? I mean, Winston spiked it later in the drive, after a 17-yard pass to Cameron Brate. By then, there were only three seconds left.
The Bucs had only one shot at the end zone for the win.
They could have had two, maybe even three.
They still might have lost, but they would have had multiple chances.
This defeat had many faces. Folk is just one. The offense was in a deep slumber for most of the game against a New England defense that came in the worst in the league and was giving away an average of 32 points per game. The Bucs managed 14 points. Maybe you make more touchdowns and you don't have to worry about missed field goals.
What an opportunity Thursday. It was the defending Super Bowl champions, in your house, and you could have beaten them. You wasted a great defensive performance from an injury-riddled, makeshift unit.
Even with the missed field goals, you could have won.
You spike the ball.
Nick Folk will pay the most for this loss. But there's a lot of blame to go around.