The NFL is regimentation and order, rules and boundaries enforced at every turn to contain and constrain drama. But every so often, chaos busts loose, and oh, is it glorious.
Down three points to the Buffalo Bills with 14 seconds remaining, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had no choice but to get freaky. And they did, with a classic hook-and-lateral play that looked a whole lot like something you’d draw up at Thanksgiving. For a moment, it looked like it would work … and then it all went straight to hell and Tampa Bay lost. But in what has to be one of the longest plays, time-wise, in NFL history, Tampa Bay at least put a bit of life into the last play of the game.
Check out the play-by-play writeup:
(0:08 – 4th) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short left to A.Humphries to TB 36 for 5 yards. Lateral to C.Sims III to TB 33 for -3 yards. Lateral to M.Evans to TB 25 for -8 yards. FUMBLES, recovered by TB-D.Smith at TB 25. D.Smith to TB 30 for 5 yards. Lateral to C.Brate to TB 23 for -7 yards. FUMBLES, recovered by TB-M.Evans at TB 23. M.Evans to TB 23 for no gain. Lateral to A.Humphries to TB 20 for -3 yards. Lateral to C.Sims III to TB 14 for -6 yards. Lateral to D.Jackson to TB 6 for -8 yards. Lateral to M.Evans to TB 14 for 8 yards. Lateral to D.Jackson to TB 29 for 15 yards (M.Dareus).
Let’s break this mess down by the numbers:
• Total time: 45 seconds
• Total Bucs who touched the ball: 7
• Total exchanges: 11
• Total yardage: 68 yards
• Total net yardage: Minus-2 yards
This might have been the longest play, in real time, in NFL history; most are over in just a handful of seconds, and this one ran for nearly a full minute. It’s a shame Tampa Bay doesn’t have more to show for it than this, but hey, chaos sometimes comes back and bites you, too.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
More NFL coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Jets receiver trolls Dolphins, fans with TD celebration
• Bears rookie proves to be Cam Newton’s kryptonite
• Tom Brady’s mom opens up on cancer battle
• A bird? A plane? No, it’s a QB dressed as Supergirl