Bruce Arians would like to amend his testimony.
After the loss to the Giants, sealed by a missed 34-yard field goal that likely would have been good from five yards closer, Arians said that he intentionally took a delay of game penalty before the kick.
“I just took it on purpose,” Arian explained to reporters on Sunday, regarding Matt Gay‘s miss. “He’s better back there. That field goal is easier back five yards. We wanted to move the ball, put it in the middle and make it easier.”
On Monday, Arians had a different explanation.
“We didn’t go out there intentionally to take a penalty,” Arians told reporters, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “When I saw the umpire standing over the ball, the thing I didn’t want was a 10-second runoff, confusion. Set it up, put it in the middle of the field and kick an extra point.”
That explanation doesn’t mesh with the actual circumstances. After a long pass to Mike Evans gave the Buccaneers the ball at the New York nine yard line, Tampa Bay spiked the ball, killing the clock with 13 seconds left. The delay-of-game penalty came after the spike. Thus, the clock wasn’t running.
Thus, there would have been no 10-second runoff if, for example, the Bucs had committed an illegal procedure penalty while rushing to get set and snap the ball before the play clock expired.
So the penalty pushed the ball from the nine to the 14. The Bucs then gave up a couple more yards to get the ball in the middle of the field and called their final timeout, resulting in the 34-yard kick.
If the Bucs had simply let the clock run all the way down after the Evans catch, it would have been a 27-yard try — but it would have been from the right hash mark, a spot from which Gay has struggled.
“When you chart him back all the way through, it’s short kicks on the right hash so we moved it over to the middle,” Arians said.
And that’s perhaps the bigger problem than the mishandling of the play clock. These aren’t college hash marks. The NFL version is tighter, and if an NFL kicker can’t make kicks that are placed on one NFL hash mark or the other, maybe he shouldn’t be kicking in the NFL.