Bruce Arians Says He Purposely Took Delay-Of-Game Penalty Before Matt Gay Miss

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IISeptember 23, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches his team warm up before their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 12, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians thought his team losing yards was a good thing.

The Bucs trailed the New York Giants 32-31 with 13 seconds left and had the ball at the Giants' 9-yard line. Tampa took a five-yard penalty for delay of game. Arians told reporters after the game he did so on purpose because he felt rookie kicker Matt Gay was "better back there" and noted "that field goal is easier back five yards":

Gay proved Arians wrong by missing a 34-yarder as time expired. The 25-year-old fifth-round pick had missed an extra point earlier in the contest and had another blocked, which may have played into Arians' logic.

Gay's shank negated quarterback Jameis Winston's putting the Bucs in position to win their second game of the season by finding receiver Mike Evans for 44 yards:

The two missed extra points aside, Arians had reason to believe in Gay from any distance, as the Utah product won the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation's best collegiate kicker, in 2017. He finished his two collegiate seasons having never missed an extra point and having gone 56-of-65 on field goals.

In Gay's defense, Tampa Bay shouldn't have been in such a bind to begin with. The Bucs held a 28-10 lead at halftime. However, Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones led a second-half comeback in his first NFL start—throwing two touchdown passes and running for another.

The sixth overall pick finished the game with 336 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 23-of-36 passing as well as two rushing touchdowns.

While Arians, Gay and the Buccaneers will regret how the final moments played out Sunday, the Giants celebrated—even star running back Saquon Barkley, who had left the game earlier with an ankle injury:

Moving forward, Tampa Bay has to hope Gay is not just the latest in a long line of failed Bucs kickers that includes 2016 second-round pick Roberto Aguayo, who was cut one season later.

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