It was an ugly game in Week 13 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers found themselves in a slugfest with a team that had just one win on the season.
NFC South games are always frisky, but things boiled over late in the second half of Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. For once, it wasn't the Bucs making a boneheaded mistake that cost their team, as the shoe was finally on the other foot.
Brian Burns, arguably the best player on the Panthers roster, got himself kicked out of the game in the third quarter after he decided to punch guard Cody Mauch in the head. There were a few stupid things about this, not the least of his is the fact that he hit a guy who was wearing protective head gear with his bare hand.
While it made no logical sense, it also made no legal sense within the confines of the rules. Officially flagged Burns for a personal foul and promptly ejected him from the game.
Keep in mind, this was the Panthers best player getting kicked out of the game during the dead ball time following an extra point attempt. There's no truer mark of a 1-10 team than that.
Brian Burns ejected for punching Cody Mauch on an extra point attempt
It's impossible to tell what was going through Burns' head when he decided to punch Mauch in the head, but it probably had something to do with what had just happened in the game. Carolina finally found the endzone a drive earlier, only to allow Mike Evans to score a 75-yard touchdown on the very next offensive play.
Couple this with how bad the Panthers have been all season and Burns' likely desire to play elsewhere and you arrive at a moment where hitting Mauch might have seemed like a good idea to him. It was anything but, however it bailed the Bucs out by getting the best player on the other side of the field out of the game.
It was one of the few spicy moments in an otherwise brutal game to watch, which has become a bit of a theme for the Bucs this season. Bad decisions have dominated games, dictating their flow and oftentimes putting Tampa Bay in an imposisble position to try and win.
For the first time, though, it was the other team that stepped on its own toes and cost itself. There wasn't a lot to love about what happened on Sunday but the Bucs being on the other side of another team's bad luck was a nice surprise.