As if it wasn’t already a wild, record-breaking fourth quarter comeback for Big Blue in their week two matchup against the Buccaneers, things got even more interesting at the end. With just seconds remaining in the game after the Giants rallied to take a 41-34 lead, their offense simply decided to knee the ball — this is common sense in any football game.
But with it being a one-score game, the Buccaneers coaching staff told their defensive players to play the snap as if it was a regular play. Who cares, they thought, that kneeing the ball always indicates that the team is conceding the play and peacefully running out the clock. Let’s . . . dive at their knees?
While it wasn’t a big deal that the players were told to play to the last second — that is fine, as pointless as it was in this case, though — the thing I have an issue with is how the Buccaneers defense dove at the knees of the offensive lineman across from them. This was clearly a cheap shot, and even the Buccaneers defensive players said after the game that they would not have done this if they weren’t ordered to by the coaches.
What with all of the coverage and bad press this play caused, the question has to be raised of whether this Buccaneers play call was even worth it. This goes without even mentioning the dirty way in which it was carried out, which was definitely not worth it and should be reviewed by the National Football League.
If Schiano was asked whether he would want players on opposing team diving at the knees of his players on pointless, late game plays, I can assume his answer would be no. A bad mistake by a rookie NFL head coach came back to bite him, and boy, talk about a bad time and place. With his hometown New Jersey crowd sitting behind him, this couldn’t be the way he pictured it to turn out.