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Tampa Bay Buccaneers get no relief from NFL on replay

Bucs coach Raheem Morris argues with an official after Sunday’s call near the end of the first half that gave Miami the ball. Morris drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.


Bucs coach Raheem Morris argues with an official after Sunday’s call near the end of the first half that gave Miami the ball. Morris drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

TAMPA — Even a distant replay went against the Bucs.

Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president for officiating, told the Bucs that he agrees with the replay reversal that resulted in an interception by the Dolphins' Jason Taylor on Sunday.

From NFL headquarters in New York on Monday, Pereira reviewed the controversial play from near the end of the first half of the Bucs' 25-23 loss in Miami.

Bucs receiver Michael Clayton appeared to make an 11-yard catch at the Bucs 15 with 1:43 left in the half. After Clayton's body hit the ground, he appeared to have possession of the ball with Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell on top of him until the ball squirted into the hands of Taylor.

Referee Tony Corrente huddled with his crew and ruled the pass incomplete. But the play was reviewed, and Corrente ruled that Clayton didn't keep possession after he hit the ground. Taylor was given an interception.

Bucs coach Raheem Morris got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing, putting the Dolphins at the 8. Two plays later, Kory Sperry's 5-yard touchdown catch gave Miami a 16-6 lead.

The league is reviewing whether Morris should be fined for using profanity toward back judge Gregory Wilson.

Morris said Monday that he is done talking about the play.

"Every week you submit your questions to the NFL," Morris said. "And they'll give us back our answers; there'll be no difference there. … I just chose to control what I can control, and that's not one of them. I've moved on. I made my mistake, I cost my team a loss (Sunday), gave them a penalty, moved them 7 yards closer, and those guys went and scored. I'm done with it. I've got to grow up in that situation and get better. I can't cuss at the official. Besides the point you can't cuss at the official, I've got kids watching. I've got to control my anger in that situation a little bit as well."

Pereira was not available for comment but likely will discuss the play Wednesday during his segment on the NFL Network.

The Bucs wanted to know from Pereira the difference between Taylor's "interception" and a similar play that occurred early in the second quarter.

On third and 15 from the 33-yard line with 11:57 left in the first half, Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline caught a pass from Chad Henne for 17 yards. He was hit by safety Sabby Piscitelli and the ball came free as Hartline went to the ground. Hartline was ruled down by contact.

"I thought that was a ridiculous call," Piscitelli said. "I hit him and he was coming down, and I remember as we were falling, the ball popped free and I was like, 'How was that not a fumble?' Then they came back and called Clayton's (an interception). It was the same situation. You can't really worry about that stuff. It's in the officials' hands.

"It was a momentum changer in a sense."

On Monday, Morris was asked if he had a better understanding of Corrente's decision.

"You know I can't comment," Morris said. " … I'm going to coach the stuff that I can control this week, and the stuff that I can control is not fumbling the snap, not dropping a shotgun pass, not catching the ball in the back of the end zone, running the correct routes."

The Bucs rallied in the fourth quarter behind rookie quarterback Josh Freeman.

An interception by Quincy Black set up Cadillac Williams' 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Bucs a 23-22 lead with 1:14 left. But Henne directed a 77-yard drive in five plays to set up Dan Carpenter's winning 25-yard field goal with 10 seconds left.

Several things went against the Bucs in that two-minute defense. Nickel cornerback Elbert Mack was out with a sprained ankle. And Torrie Cox, the Bucs' fourth cornerback, went out with cramps after the ensuing kickoff. The Bucs were down to Derrick Roberson, who was signed from the practice squad last week.

Morris said he second-guessed himself about not dialing up more pressure on Henne.

"I went through that all night. It's one of those things where you say, 'What can you do differently?' " Morris said. "The coverage I wouldn't change. You want to play two (deep) men but maybe bring in a guy in two men. Some type of two-man blitz or something like that. Realistically your guys vs. their guys, and you just want your guys to win in that situation. We just have to believe in that. We have to do that."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers get no relief from NFL on replay 11/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 12:07am]
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