The Buccaneers gifted the Jets the field position for a game-winning field goal last week when linebacker Lavonte David picked up a personal foul for hitting Jets quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds with seconds left on the clock.
That was one of 13 penalties for the Bucs on the day, but it doesn’t appear anyone has learned the lesson about how much penalties can hurt your chances of winning. The Bucs picked up three personal fouls among seven penalties overall in the first half against the Saints, wiping out a Drew Brees turnover and helping the Saints get a chance to extend their lead in the final minutes of the first half.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was flagged for making helmet-to-helmet contact with Brees while forcing a fumble, a penalty that was unfortunate because Clayborn was a victim of the league’s rules about hitting quarterbacks high regardless of intent. The fouls charged to defensive backs Dashon Goldson and Ahmad Black can’t be explained away as easily, though. Both players went high on defenseless receivers, with Goldson hitting Darren Sproles to extend a Saints drive and Black pasting Jimmy Graham to set the Saints up in Bucs territory near the two-minute warning. Leonard Johnson was then offside on a made Garrett Hartley field goal with 22 seconds left.
The Saints chose to accept the penalty and gave the ball to Mark Ingram, who was stuffed by David, Mason Foster and others despite the fact that the Bucs only had 10 players on the field. It was a good outcome and a reminder of the old adage about the perils of taking points off the board, but the process needs a lot of work in Tampa.
Goldson was fined $30,0000 for a similar play in Week One, was fined more than $77,000 for a variety of violations while with the Niners last year and will likely get another envelope in his locker this week. The Bucs have been penalized seven times overall, including an illegal formation call that wiped out a first down and a delay of game on a first down after a change of possession in the second quarter.
All of the penalties have marred an otherwise strong defensive effort by Tampa as they have forced the Saints to pick up yards by nibbling outside of a 51-yard Brees-to-Graham touchdown in the first quarter.