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Bruce Arians: I took late delay of game on purpose to move our kicker back

New York Giants v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 22: Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians watches the action on the field in the fourth quarter during the game against the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

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When Jameis Winston hit Mike Evans for a 44-yard pass to the Giants’ 9-yard line with 30 seconds left in today’s game, it appeared that the Buccaneers were about to pull out a last-second win. But things did not go according to plan.

After spiking the ball to stop the clock, the Bucs took a delay of game penalty, then lost two yards on a play to center the ball. That’s when they tried the field goal and missed.

We’ll never know what would have happened if the Buccaneers had tried to score a touchdown, or tried to gain a few yards to make the field goal easier. But what we do know is that delay of game was no accident: Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told his team to take it.

“I just took it on purpose. He’s better back there. That field goal is easier back five yards,” Arians said. “We wanted to move the ball, put it in the middle and make it easier.”

That explanation doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s not easier to kick a football farther. Buccaneers kicker Matt Gay had already missed two extra points in the game, so he was no sure thing to make a field goal from any distance, but the closer he was the easier it would be. Arians made an unwise choice to take a penalty on purpose.