TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' hopes of holding the New York Jets without a touchdown were dashed Sunday when defensive tackle Chris Baker was slapped with a roughing the passer call late in the fourth quarter, when the Bucs were leading 15-3.
Instead of getting off the field on third-and-17, with 1:22 left, the Jets got new life at their 46-yard line, setting up a 38-yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown to Robby Anderson to make it 15-10. It resulted in a bit of an altercation on the sideline that the cameras caught, with defensive end Robert Ayers seen coming after Baker.
"When that penalty happened, pretty much everyone wanted to get in a fight with Chris Baker, including me," head coach Dirk Koetter joked Monday. "But he'd beat me up, so I didn't."
The Bucs only allowed three third-down conversions all game, but this wound up being a costly one. In fact, had rookie wide receiver Chris Godwin not recovered the Jets' attempt at an onside kick, things could have gotten really interesting.
After the game, Ayers tweeted, "It's hilarious to me how far off people are about this 'fight' on the sideline. People really have no idea." He also joked that the exchange was over Baker drinking all the Gatorade.
— Robert Ayers Jr (@1_900_ayersjr) November 13, 2017
Baker said Monday that it was a "dumb penalty" and made it clear that there was absolutely no bad blood. Having more player-to-player accountability was one of their goals last week.
"Everything was fine, Baker said. "We just wanted to shut them out in the second half and I made that dumb penalty. I didn't think it was a penalty but I guess we'll see once they turn it in or whatever. But guys were just passionate and wanted to win. We got into a little argument just because it was a dumb play, but that's football. We hugged and kissed after it and we're straight. ... It was just two passionate players wanting to be great and wanting to make a play."