Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

Matt Gay’s miss seals Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ devastating loss to Giants

Rick Stroud: The rookie kicker said Tampa Bay’s 32-31 loss Sunday “is 100 percent on me." He’s wrong.
Buccaneers kicker Matt Gay (9) misses a field goal as time expired in Tampa Bay's 32-31 loss to the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019 in Tampa. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Sep. 22
Updated Sep. 23

TAMPA — One of the statements Bruce Arians made following the most embarrassing and gut-wrenching defeats in Bucs history would be laughable if it weren’t true.

Minutes after a 32-31 defeat to the Giants when rookie kicker Matt Gay missed a potential game-winning goal from 34-yards, the Bucs new head coach said he took a delay a game penalty before centering the football between the hash marks because the kick is easier when it’s not so close to the goalposts.

“I took it on purpose,’’ Arians said of the penalty. “That field goal is easier back five yards. No sense in hurrying. We wanted to move the ball over, put it in the middle and make an easy field goal.’’

Gay, who kicked four field goals in the game, had already missed an extra point from that same distance wide left and had another one blocked.

What in the name of Roberto Aguayo, Nick Folk and Chandler Catanzaro was Arians thinking?

As it turned out, Gay pushed the kick right and it missed hitting the upright by the width of a football. Five yards closer? Well, the Bucs would be 2-1 instead of 1-2 and not the B-roll to the boffo NFL debut of Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.

It was just one of the many things that went wrong in order for the Bucs to blow an 18-point halftime lead.

Missed field goals are nothing new in Tampa Bay, which can’t seem to reverse the curse no matter how many kickers it drafts.

And as usual, the game wouldn’t have been on Gay’s toe if Arians have left it on Jameis Winston’s right arm or if the defense had accounted for Jones on fourth-and-5 at the Tampa Bay 7-yard line when he scampered into the end zone untouched for his second TD run.

“We’ve just got to finish,’’ Winston said.

The decision to take the delay penalty wasn’t the only one that will be questioned.

Before Jones engineered that drive, the Bucs may have put the game away if Arians didn’t play around his quarterback.

Tampa Bay’s defense allowed the Giants to climb back into the game on the first play of the third quarter when Jones found Evan Engram down the right sideline for a 75-yard touchdown strike.

The Giants cut the Bucs lead to a field goal when Jones found Sterling Shepard on a 7-yard TD pass.

Arians seemed to lose his faith in Winston when he threw behind Evans on third down, and Ryan Connelly intercepted.

The Bucs got the ball right back when Shaq Barrett stripped Jones of the ball that was recovered by Rakeem Nunez-Roches.

Arians took the ball out of Winston’s hands. He ran Ronald Jones six straight times until the Bucs faced third-and 2 at the Giants 5. A field goal would only put the Bucs’ up by six. But he handed the ball to Peyton Barber, who was stuffed for no gain.

Funny, but Arians didn’t take a delay of game penalty then to make the kick easier.

Gay nailed it from 23 yards for the Bucs’ only points of the second half.

Back came Jones, who will own the back page of every New York tabloid.

Jones passed for 336 yards and two scores. But the Bucs had a chance to win the game with another goal line stand. On fourth-and-5 from the 7-yard line,the Giants rookie walked into the end zone.

Said linebacker Lavonte David said. “All our backs were turned to the quarterback so we couldn’t understand what was going on up front. Great decision by him.”

With 1:16 remaining, Arians had no choice but to have Winston let it fly. He hit Chris Godwin for 20-yards before Evans got a clean release and broke behind Janoris Jenkins for a 44-yard completion.

Winston spiked the ball to kill the clock with 13 seconds left. He pumped his fists like Tiger Woods on the 18th hole after winning the Masters.

From the 9-yard line, it would’ve been a 26-yard field goal. But Arians let the play clock run out, taking a penalty. Winston then centered the ball in the middle of the field and called a timeout with 4 seconds left.

When the ball was kicked, Arians raised his left arm thinking the Bucs had won. He dropped his hands to his knees and bent at the waist when he realized Gay had missed.

“This loss is 100 percent on me,’’ Gay said.

Of course, that’s not true. But you have to take a few steps back to see that.

Contact Rick Stroud at rstroud@tampabay.com. Follow @NFLStroud

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (84) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after making a touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter in London. ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    Journal: Also, the 2015 NFL draft is looking like a bust for quarterbacks. Could the Bucs have taken someone else at No. 1 overall?
  2. We've seen enough sad walks to the locker room. It's time we've reached the tough love portion of our program with Bucs coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Jameis Winston. The Bucs need to stop making excuses when Winston has one of those meltdown games that have become so familiar in Tampa Bay. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Stop coddling Jameis Winston. If he’s playing himself out of Tampa Bay, the Bucs should let him know now. | John Romano
  3. Aaron Murray played in seven games earlier this year for the Atlanta Legends of the AAF. He passed for 1,048 yards and threw three touchdown passes to seven interceptions. RICK SCUTERI  |  Associated Press
    Murray won a state title in 2008, started for four seasons at Georgia and played briefly in the NFL.
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What else went wrong in London, ranking the Rays, Lightning worries, Gators’ SEC title hopes.
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) runs onto the field to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in London. TIM IRELAND  |  AP
    Martin Fennelly: Coach Bruce Arians may not be worried after six games, but history says his optimism is misplaced.
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians walks on the field before Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers in London. ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    And that’s especially true for turnover-prone Jameis Winston, who will remain the starter when Tampa Bay next takes the field Oct. 27 vs. the Titans.
  7. Since he entered the NFL in 2015, Jameis Winston has been responsible for a league-high 87 giveaways, including six Sunday. JEFF HAYNES  |  Associated Press
    Sunday was a tough day for the players taken at the top of the 2015 NFL draft. The Titans at least are realizing what the Bucs are denying: They have a quarterback problem.
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (84) makes a touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    An ugly loss leaves a sour taste, and several players would like to get back on the field immediately to right the ship.
  9. Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates his touchdown against the Chiefs during the second half of the game in Kansas City. ED ZURGA  |  AP
    Road To Miami: Quarterback play continues to soar, for some teams - allowing us to realize who’s coming
  10. Pat and Richard McBride of Leicester have been Bucs fans for 34 years. They've suffered through some bad Tampa Bay seasons but remain loyalty, unlike fans of the other team owned by the Glazer Family, Manchester United. Eduardo A. Encina/Tampa Bay Times
    #GlazersOut has become a popular slogan and hashtag as the team battles on-field woes and reported financial issues. But “Manchester U. fans are good at one thing and that’s complaining,” said one...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement