The Tampa Bay air was thick with irony Sunday afternoon on the pivotal play that resulted in the Buccaneers being flagged for having 12 men on the field:
Trailing by one and driving for a possible game-winning field goal, Tampa Bay had the ball on the Bengals 41. The Buccaneers ran an extra offensive lineman on to the field for extra pass protection, but they didn’t take out a wide receiver.
So their excitement over a 21-yard completion to the Cincinnati 20 was wiped out by a penalty, which is where the irony comes in.
It was eight years ago when the Bengals made their last visit to Tampa Bay and were victimized by a penalty on the Buccaneers final drive, a penalty that still drives many Cincinnati fans crazy.
Clinging to a 13-7 lead, Bengals defensive end Justin Smith sacked Tampa Bay quarterback Bruce Gradkowski for an 8-yard loss. But Smith was called for unnecessary roughness, giving the Buccaneers a first down, and a few plays later Gradkowski hit Mark Clayton for a game-winning touchdown pass.
The penalty led to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis’ famous quote, “I guess we’re supposed to just cuddle the quarterback to the ground.”
What made the situation more ironic is that both penalties were called at almost the exact same spot on the field. Smith’s sack happened at the 40-yard line on the north end of the field, while the 12-men call happened with the Buccaneers on the 41 on the north end.
Want more irony?
The referee who flagged Smith for sacking Gradkowski was Mike Carey, who is now paid by CBS to discuss controversial calls during the broadcasts. So sure enough, when the officials were reviewing the call Sunday, Carey’s was on the screen again:
And then for the ultimate irony. That 2006 game ended with Tampa Bay winning 14-13. Sunday the Bengals won 14-13.
Let’s let Alanis Morissette takes us out: