The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't benefit from the refs against the New Orleans Saints, with 15 penalties for 113 yards and 90 more yards nullified, that lack of discipline and the uneven eye of the officiating crew played a large in a close and unnecessary loss.
While the refs spotted many minor infractions on the Bucs' side, they missed blatant defensive pass interference on an interception, refused to review what appeared to a clear fumble, ruled as an incomplete pass, and had seemingly forgotten that they could call the New Orleans guards for holding.
One penalty can't be blamed on the refs, though: Johnthan Banks told Greg Auman today that the illegal-use-of-hands penalty that sustained the Saints' overtime drive was the right call. Tom Krasniqi notes that it was caused by Banks not being ready at the snap of the ball.
That penalty was crippling: it occurred on third-and-10, when the Bucs had the Saints stopped in overtime. Had that stop held, they only needed a field goal to win. Instead, that seemed to break the defense's back and the Saints went on to score a fairly easy touchdown.
What makes this more aggravating is that it was sloppy and unnecessary. Banks was late with his jam, which led to his one-handed stab landing just a little too high. It's a minor thing that didn't really affect the play in a meaningful way -- and it happened to a side of the field where Brees never looked.
Victory, and defeat, are in the details in the NFL. And the Bucs have messed up a few of those details in every game. Whether it be a stale, passive offense, special teams blocking, or now an overabundance of penalties, there's always something new ailing these Buccaneers.