ATLANTA -- On the postgame stat sheet, half a page is devoted to a Tampa Bay drive that lasted 18 plays and 9:06.
Those are the types of numbers that almost always are associated with a drive that ends in a touchdown. But that didn’t happen on this drive in a 31-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Instead, this drive ended in a field goal. A controversial field goal.
Faced with a fourth-and-23 at the Atlanta 23 and trailing 31-17 with five minutes left, coach Greg Schiano didn’t follow the aggressive route and go for a touchdown.
“At that point, we knew we needed to score, so we took the three to make it into a two-possession tie game,’’ Schiano said.
I understand the math, but I think that goes out the window when you’re staring down the barrel at 0-6. You need to take a shot because you’ve got nothing to lose.
But Schiano and the Bucs never should have been in that situation. On that drive, the Bucs were penalized four times.
“We were in a four-down situation and then we got a chunk of it and then we got to the halfway point and we’ve got two plays to get 14 yards and then we self-inflicted,’’ Schiano said.
The Bucs scored an apparent touchdown on a pass from Mike Glennon to Tiquan Underwood. But that was nullified by a penalty on guard Davin Joseph. Even before that, they were down to Atlanta’s 5-yard line, but got pushed back when tackle Donald Penn was called for holding and receiver Vincent Jackson was called for a face-mask penalty.
“When we get in the red zone, we have to score touchdowns, period,’’ Joseph said. “If we plan on being a good team, we have to be efficient in the red zone.’’
Right now, the Bucs aren’t a good team.