Sometimes it is just as easy as a snap
By Compiled by Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 24, 2000
The Bucs had two plays this season that, if not for a delay in snapping the ball ... oh, what might have been:
- THE PLAY: With the Bucs trailing 17-3 late in the third quarter, Warrick Dunn raced 12 yards to the corner of the end zone, diving the final yards to cut the deficit to 17-9. But the Bucs were confused about how to line up for the extra-point attempt. Coach Tony Dungy decided to let the play clock run down and take a delay-of-game penalty instead of snapping the ball, thinking the penalty would negate Detroit's chance to challenge the touchdown.
- THE CHALLENGE: The failure to run the play allowed the Lions time to see a replay and challenge the score. A challenge cannot be issued after the next play is run but not if that play is a penalty. After a review, officials ruled Dunn's knee touched at the Lions 1-yard line, negating the touchdown.
- THE AFTERMATH: Three snaps later, Mike Alstott fumbled. The Lions recovered on their 1, quashing any momentum the Bucs had. The Bucs went on to lose 20-3.
AT ST. LOUIS
- THE PLAY: With the Bucs trailing 11-6 with less than a minute left in the NFC Championship Game, Tampa Bay faced second and 23 at the St. Louis 35. Shaun King completed a 12-yard pass to Bert Emanuel to make it third and 11 with 40 seconds left. The Bucs, who earlier in the second half lost a timeout by challenging a play that was not overruled, called their final timeout.
- THE CHALLENGE: The timeout allowed officials extra time to view the replay, and they called for a review. After a delay of more than 90 seconds, referee Bill Carollo ruled the pass incomplete, putting the Bucs back to the Rams 35 facing third and 23.
- THE AFTERMATH: Two incomplete passes later, the Bucs' season was over.
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