For most of the season, he has been a target. If not of opposing quarterbacks, then of his team’s own fans.
Chris Conte has played too much chase, critics will tell you. He needs to be replaced.
But Conte made the play of the game Sunday, as the Tampa Bay Bucs upset the Kansas City Chiefs 19-17. With the Chiefs on the verge of taking a lead in the fourth quarter, Conte stepped in front of Chiefs’ receiver Chris Conley, intercepted the pass and returned it 53 yards. The Bucs then converted the winning drive to end a 10-game home winning streak by Kansas City.
“I was just doing my job,” Conte said. “We’re getting better every week.”
The Bucs had several good performances in their victory. Maligned kicker Roberto Aguayo kicked four field goals, and now has hit 10 of his last 11. Quarterback Jameis Winston was terrific again, throwing for 331 yards. Receiver Mike Evans caught six passes for 105 yards. And the Bucs evened their record at 5-5.
“Today, we were a good football team,” said Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter.
The Bucs preserved their win with a late drive that ate up most of the clock. Taking over with 2:37 to play, Tampa Bay gave the ball back with only eight seconds to play. The key play was a third-and-three at their own 30, when Winston hit Evans for 14 yards. That allowed the Bucs to run 2:03 off of the clock.
Tampa Bay is home next week against Seattle.