The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the chance to tie the game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, but Baker Mayfield’s interception on the second play of the drive iced the game.
But the Bucs might have had another chance – sure, a miracle would’ve been needed to score a touchdown that needed a successful two-point conversion – if head coach Todd Bowles used his final timeout as the Lions were trying to kneel out the game.
When Derrick Barnes hauled in the interception for Detroit, Ford Field went ballistic knowing the Lions could just run out the clock. However, on third-and-12, quarterback Jared Goff snapped the ball with 36 seconds left.
Goff didn’t need to snap it when he did, as there were still lots of seconds left on the play clock. If the Bucs used their final timeout, the Lions would’ve been forced to kick a long field goal.
Who knows what would’ve happened with the field goal? It could’ve been made, but it also could’ve been missed or blocked to give the Bucs another chance to tie the game.
In the playoffs, no matter how slim the chance, it needs to happen.
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But we’ll never know what could’ve been because the Bucs walked on the field to shake hands, as the Lions went on to the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Bowles explained the decision not to call the timeout after the game.
“They already had the field goal lined up, and there would’ve been about 12 seconds left on the clock to end the ball game,” he said. “We weren’t going to come back from that. No sense in prolonging the obvious.”
Bucs fans did not like Bowles’ thought process there, expressing their displeasure on social media.
“This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in football,” one X user wrote. “I don’t know what’s dumber. The Lions snap it early or the Bucs not using the last timeout to try to win the game.”
NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson also commented on the matter, saying, “Why’d the Bucs eat their timeout??”
“Goff took the knee way early. If TB called their last timeout they could’ve forced DET to run a 4th down with like :25 left. What happened there???” Fox Sports personality Nick Wright tweeted as well.
No matter the case, the Lions will have a chance to play for a spot in the Super Bowl – something the franchise hasn’t claimed since the league shifted into that era.