Game-Changer: Puzzling Goal-To-Go Play-Calling Costs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rob Gronkowski

Welcome to my weekly post-game column, where I’ll take a look at the moment(s) the game turned either in favor or against the Buccaneers. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at all the reasons the Bucs won or lost, but instead the key moment or two where things went north or south for the team.

The Game-Changer

Despite a horrendous first half, the Bucs found themselves down “just” 20-7 entering the second half. Clearly Tampa Bay couldn’t afford to waste any more possessions, especially when getting the ball to start the third quarter.

A huge 48-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski on an over route off of play-action brought the ball to the five-yard line for the Bucs, giving them a first-and-goal. With a chance to cut the deficit to six points and seize momentum to start the second half, there wouldn’t be a bigger series in in the game. So when offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich offered up two baffling play calls on first and second down, it was the turning point in the game.

For reasons that cannot be explained, Leonard Fournette, he of 16 carries for 36 yards over the past three games, was the weapon of choice on the first-and-goal series. Not Mike Evans. Not Chris Godwin. Not Antonio Brown. Not Rob Gronkowski. Heck, not even Ronald Jones.


Photo Courtesy Of Getty Images

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