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Breaking Down The Penalties for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Week 1


When I decided I was going to analyze every penalty each week, I was hoping we each post would be short and sweet. Couple of holding calls, maybe a pass interference here or there, but instead, we’ve got this monster. The Buccaneers were flagged 15 times and 13 of them were accepted. So let’s just get right at it. (Penalties obtained from the official NFL website.)

Penalty #1

2nd and 10 at TB 49PENALTY on TB-J.Freeman, Delay of Game, 5 yards, enforced at TB 49 – No Play.

The Buccaneers were clearly having some sort of issue with the communication in the helmet of Josh Freeman. This is the first drive of the 2013 season, and after just three offensive plays the Buccaneers had to take a timeout and then out of it, took this 5 yard delay of game.

Penalty Impact – 2 out of 10

Penalty #2

2nd and 15 at TB 44PENALTY on TB-J.Freeman, Delay of Game, 5 yards, enforced at TB 44 – No Play.

The very next attempt at a play after the previous delay, the Buccaneers do it again. That made for a timeout, delay, followed by a second delay. Freeman switched helmets after the play, but this is still beyond unacceptable. The Bucs had just picked up a big 3rd down play on a long Vincent Jackson catch, and then watch themselves start burning timeouts and marching backwards. The first one they might have been able to overcome, this one effectively killed the opening drive.

Penalty Impact – 5 out of 10

Penalty #3

3rd and 30 at TB 29(Shotgun) PENALTY on TB-D.Dotson, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at TB 29 – No Play.

3rd and 30, and the Buccaneers still can’t stay still on the offensive line? Come on. On this drive the Buccaneers advanced the ball 31 yards on positive plays, lost 10 on a sack, and took 15 yards in penalties. Not exactly the start Schiano drew up. However, this one really didn’t matter because after all, it was 3rd and 30.

Penalty Impact – 1 out of 10

Penalty #4

3rd and 35 at TB 24(Shotgun) J.Freeman pass short right to D.Martin to TB 26 for 2 yards (A.Allen). Penalty on TB-M.Williams, Illegal Motion, declined.

3rd and 35 could have turned into 3rd and 40, oh no. Mike Williams was walking up to the line when the ball was snapped. Really seemed like a lazy play from both Williams and Freeman. Didn’t make any difference, but still, this is the NFL, play every play.

Penalty Impact – 0 out of 10

Penalty #5

4th and 3 at TB 38R.Malone punts 33 yards to TB 5, Center-T.Purdum, out of bounds. PENALTY on TB-D.Te’o-Nesheim, Face Mask (15 Yards), 2 yards, enforced at TB 5.

Special teams flags are not terribly uncommon. This could have gone down as a huge penalty if Eric Page were given a shot to return the punt. Instead it goes down as a 15 yard penalty that gets enforced for just 2 yards. Really didn’t make any difference.

Penalty Impact – 0 out of 10

Penalty #6

3rd and 5 at TB 8(Shotgun) J.Freeman FUMBLES (Aborted) at TB 0, ball out of bounds in End Zone, SAFETY. Penalty on TB-J.Freeman, Illegal Bat, declined.

One of the smartest penalties you’ll ever see a player take. A bad snap put Freeman in a bad spot. Instead of trying to pick the ball up and risk giving up a touchdown or maybe even worse, getting hurt trying, Freeman simply kicks the ball out of the endzone. Illegal, yes. Smart, absolutely.

Penalty Impact – 0 out of 10

Penalty #7

3rd and 9 at TB 43(Shotgun) PENALTY on TB-J.Zuttah, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at TB 43 – No Play.

Second false start of the game. On the road a few are acceptable, in this instance I’m not going to put too much blame on Zuttah. The 3rd and 9 went to a 3rd and nearly impossible, so it certainly hurt the Bucs. But it would have been a tough pickup anyway.

Penalty Impact – 2 out of 10

Penalty #8

3rd and 8 at TB 42(Shotgun) G.Smith scrambles left end pushed ob at TB 29 for 13 yards (D.Goldson). PENALTY on TB, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at TB 29.

This is the first one of the game I had to go to the film to take a look at. Since a number was not given, I was forced to watch each of the 11 players on the defense. Not only did no one hold on the play, no one even came close.

The only player to make contact with a receiver was Lavonte David. He touched the the receiver on a crossing route but in absolutely no way impeded his progress. This is why I planned on doing this post, there simply is not a penalty on this play, and the Buccaneers are flagged 5 yards, and what would have been an automatic first down on the play, had Smith not run for the first.

This is also the play in which Leonard Johnson does NOT hit a running Smith because he appeared to be headed out of bounds short of the first down marker, then stuck his foot in the ground and got the first down. Normally I’d say, “I’m not a referee, so I’m not sure,” but in this case, I am 100% sure no player on the Buccaneers held a Jet.

It’s no secret Hochuli wasn’t able to give a number for who the penalty was on. Not entirely sure what they saw, but they certainly didn’t see a penalty. Impact is low though because Smith gained the first down.

Penalty Impact – 2 out of 10

Penalty #9

1st and 10 at NYJ 36D.Martin right end to NYJ 33 for 3 yards (C.Pace). PENALTY on TB-D.Joseph, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at NYJ 36 – No Play.

This is a big time penalty. The Buccaneers just gained 39 yards on a pass play to VJax and were getting into FG range. The play is a run to Martin off the right end. Just as Martin hits the hole, Davin Joseph pulls down the linebacker on a clear hold. The worst part about the play, Calvin Pace makes the tackle at the exact same spot where Joseph commits the hold. Instead of 2nd and 7 from the Jet 30, it’s now 2nd and 20 from the 46. Buccaneers are unable to convert, a chance at 3 points goes by the wayside. Very costly one.

Penalty Impact – 7 out of 10

Penalty #10

1st and 10 at NYJ 42G.Smith pass incomplete deep middle to J.Cumberland. PENALTY on TB-D.Goldson, Personal Foul, 15 yards, enforced at NYJ 42 – No Play.

The first hitting too hard penalty of the game. I have a theory that anytime a play looks too dangerous, that it’s automatically flagged. This is the perfect example. When players specifically safeties are taught to hit a receiver, they are told to target the chest with their shoulder. That’s exactly what Goldson does on this play.

His helmet ends up contacting Cumberland’s because, as it turns out, when you try to tackle someone, you can’t make your head magically disappear. Goldson’s head has to go somewhere. In this case, it ends up hitting Cumberland. Goldson does not target the head, he does not use his own helmet as a weapon, and he did not lead with the crown of his helmet. The NFL fined Goldson for the hit. First example of making football safer going WAY too far. Lucky for the Buccaneers, the intercept Smith later in the drive.

Penalty Impact – 5 out of 10

Penalty #11

3rd and 21 at TB 42(Shotgun) G.Smith pass short middle to J.Kerley to TB 34 for 8 yards (L.Johnson). PENALTY on TB-M.Barron, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at TB 34.

The second hitting too hard penalty. Watch the play again, I beg of you, because you will see, Mark Barron barely even touches Kerley. But because the receiver didn’t strap on his helmet, and it wound up popping off, it looks like Barron hit him in the head.

There is still no news on whether or not Barron was fined for the play, but he absolutely shouldn’t be because he did nothing wrong. The play occurred on a 3rd down, the Buccaneers would have been off the field, instead the Jets get 15 yards and a huge first down. Wind up with a field goal on the drive.

Penalty Impact – 8 out of 10

Penalty #12

4th and 2 at NYJ 33R.Malone punts 43 yards to TB 24, Center-T.Purdum. A.Black to TB 26 for 2 yards (E.Lankster). PENALTY on TB-M.Adams, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at TB 24.

Another special teams penalty here. Adams grabs the gunner and pulls him to the ground. Stupid play and a clear penalty. Not much more to say here.

Penalty Impact – 3 out of 10

Penalty #13

3rd and 6 at NYJ 27(Shotgun) G.Smith scrambles right end ran ob at NYJ 28 for 1 yard. PENALTY on TB-L.Johnson, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at NYJ 28.

Big time call here, and it’s really difficult to see whether Johnson truly held or not. I’m was going give the benefit of the doubt to the refs here because the receiver is definitely “held up” coming out of his break.

However, Smith was already out of the pocket when the incident occurred.

The rule is, a receiver cannot be held while the quarterback is still in the pocket, once he breaks the pocket, receivers are free game. Penalty goes for a first down where the Jets would have had to punt. Did Johnson hold, yes, should it have been a penalty, by rule, no. (See photo courtesy of NFL Game Rewind)

Penalty Impact – 7 out of 10

Penalty #14

2nd and 9 at TB 21(Shotgun) PENALTY on TB-D.Dotson, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at TB 21 – No Play.

He did it. That’s all.

Penalty Impact – 4 out of 10

Penalty #15

2nd and 10 at NYJ 45(Shotgun) G.Smith scrambles right end ran ob at TB 45 for 10 yards. PENALTY on TB-L.David, Personal Foul, 15 yards, enforced at TB 45.

I don’t want to get into it again. It’s the topic of just about every single article written on this site, and any other site across the internet about this game. I still stand that it is incorrect, but the NFL clearly disagreed then, and still does now.

Penalty Impact – 10 out of 10