With 17 seconds to play, the Tampa Bay Bucs’ defense came up with one final stop on their season, and it meant a winning record.
The Bucs stopped a two-point conversion with 17 seconds remaining Sunday after three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olson slipped. Instead, the ball bounded off the facemask of Bradley McDougald, leaving the Bucs 17-16 winners. Tampa Bay finished at 9-7, their first winning season since 2010. The Bucs missed the playoffs, however, due to the tie-breaking formula.
“We didn’t come to do anything but win,” Panthers’ coach Ron Rivera said.
Said Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter: “Please stop them. That was on my mind. Please, please stop them.’”
The Panthers finished 6-10. The Bucs finished 9-7, including a 6-2 record in their second half.
“Overall, it was an extremely frustrating day on offense,” Koetter said. “We just couldn’t get out of our own way. It was one thing after another. We finally put some plays tougher on that last drive.”
Tampa Bay sputtered for most of the day on offense – their first touchdown was an interception return by Brent Grimes. Going into the Bucs’ final legitimate drive, James Winston had a rating of only 49.49. But he hit five of six for 72 yards on a 74-yard scoring drive to win.
Keith Tandy had 12 tackles and two interceptions for the Bucs.