Trailing by eight with 3:04 left in the contest, Tom Brady did his usual late-game heroics and marched the Bucs’ offense downfield for a clutch touchdown within the final minute. After getting backed up by a delay of game penalty on the initial two-point conversion attempt, Brady’s subsequent pass to Russell Gage went incomplete, allowing for the Packers to escape with a 14-12 victory.
But wait, what was the deal with that delay of game penalty?
According to Greg Auman of The Athletic and Bucs fans on social media with a watchful eye, the clock operator at Raymond James Stadium may have screwed this up by putting five less seconds on the play clock.
Bucs fans here and on Reddit have pointed out that play clock before Tampa Bay's initial two-point conversion attempt was only 20 seconds, not the 25 listed in the NFL rule book for before a two-point conversion. Only 20 seconds elapse from whistle to clock hitting zero.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 26, 2022
If valid, that’s a really tough break for the Bucs, especially considering that Leonard Fournette appeared to have been able to simply walk in the game-tying score before the whistles blew for the penalty. Adding to the controversy is that the Bucs appeared to have gotten away with one on the touchdown play right before the conversion as the play clock appeared to have expired right before the ball was snapped. After the game, Aaron Rodgers explained the situation on the Fox broadcast with a slight smirk.
Brady himself opted to not dwell on the penalty in his post-game press conference, instead blaming the lack of execution for why they lost. The Bucs have struggled on offense early in the season as receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Julio Jones have all missed action for various reasons. The defense has been what’s carried the 2-1 ball club so far, harkening back to the late-90’s Tampa teams during the Tony Dungy era.