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Horrible rule costs the Buccaneers a game

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just lost their second consecutive game. They shouldn't have. And the Joe Nash rule is part of why they shouldn't have.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just lost a way in the worst way possible: a ten-second runoff at the end of a close game, in field goal range.

Here's the play: with 20 seconds left, Josh McCown hits Mike Evans for 29 yards over the middle to get the Bucs well into field goal range at the Rams' 32-yard line. That would have given them a 49-yard field goal attempt. However, they had no timeouts, so they had to run down to spike the ball.

Before they could do that, but well after Mike Evans was down, the referees ended the game. Because Mike Evans was injured, the refs let ten seconds run off the clock for an "excess team timeout". That occurs any time within the final two minutes of the game, when a team suffers an injury and has no remaining timeouts. In those cases, ten seconds are run off the clock to discourage faking injuries to stop the clock.

This Joe Nash rule (instituted after that time Joe Nash screwed over the Bengals) makes perfect sense in isolation. But it was a ridiculous way to end the game, and it genuinely screwed over the Bucs in a way that is utter bullcrap.

Let's list all the ways in which this was insane.

1) Mike Evans was down and injured with about 14 seconds remaining in the game. It took the refs six seconds to call the rule, after which they ran off another ten seconds. Had they immediately called it, the Bucs would have had four seconds remaining. So basically, sluggish refs lost the game for the Bucs.

2) Mike Evans was genuinely injured. Why should the Bucs be punished for that?

3) Had the refs not called this rule there would have been plenty of time for Evans to line up and the Bucs to spike the ball, giving them another chance at a first down.

4) Mike Evans seemed to be a defenseless receiver and while we didn't get any replays, it sure looked like that was a hit to the head. Which should have paused the game, and given the Bucs a chip-shot field goal instead of ending the game with a Rams win.

5) That sure sounds like the whistle comes at 11 seconds.

None of this means the Bucs deserved to win. They didn't play well enough for that. They were too conservative in managing the game, gave up two blocks on special teams and turned the ball over in the red zone. But this was one ridiculous way to lose.