Breaking Down the Final Buccaneers’ Drive vs. the Rams
Second and Ten, Rams’ 27, :49 Remaining
Coming off of the incomplete pass, the Bucs face second and ten. Winston is lined up in the shotgun once again, and this time, Sims is lined up to his right.
At the snap, Sims is going to just come out into the flat, catch a pass at the second circle, and take the ball down the right side.
The play results in a sizeable gain for Sims, which is good on its face. But, he makes a critical error in judgement. I’ll explain.
See where Sims is looking? He’s got the first down marker in his bullseye. Normally that is a good thing, but late in the game, the priorities have to change. He is right on the sidelines in this shot. There is :45 left. He could go out of bounds right here with around 44 or 43 seconds left, stopping the clock there.
He picks up the first down, but does not get out of bounds. Time is of the essence on the final drive of the game when your team is losing. Period. Third and short from the 23 with :44 left is actually better than first and ten from the 15 with less time on the clock, and Sims has to know that.
But, he could have been saved if Koetter had taken a timeout. When he sees that signal that the clock is running, he has to take a timeout. HE HAS TWO LEFT! If you aren’t going to take the timeout, when are you?? This is by far Koetter’s biggest blunder of the drive. Big mistake.
The next snap doesn’t come until there are just 26 seconds left. From the end of the previous play, the Bucs allowed 18 seconds to just disappear. They just cannot manage the clock this poorly. Everyone is guilty.
The next five plays include three incomplete passes and two penalties, one for each team. Koetter takes a timeout while the clock isn’t running, which is an interesting choice but not really a big deal. By forgetting to use them earlier he still had one left after taking this one with :04 left.
Now we get to the final play. You all know where this is going.