You could not have drawn up a more disheartening way to begin the 2013 season for the Buccaneers. Nick Folk capped a wild finish with a 48-yard field goal with 2-seconds left to give the Jets a stunning 18-17 win over the Bucs at Metlife Stadium.
The Bucs’ opening drive of the game started promising. Josh Freeman threw a 20-yard strike to Vincent Jackson for a 1st down. But after that, the team had communication issues and four penalties were called on the Bucs on that initial drive. On their second possession with the Bucs backed up at their own end, Freeman didn’t expect a shotgun snap from center Jeremy Zuttah. The ball was knocked out of the back of the end zone by Freeman, resulting in a safety to give the Jets an early 2-0 lead.
Bucs were able to come right back late in the first quarter. Freeman hit Mike Williams on a 17-yd TD pass with 1:07 left in the opening quarter to give Tampa Bay a 7-2 lead. Jackson had two catches on the drive. The Jets responded in the second quarter with a drive of their own. Rookie Geno Smith hit fullback Tommy Bohannon for a 21-yd play. Smith also used his legs to get another first down. The drive culminated with a 43-yd FG by Nick Folk to make it 7-5 Bucs.
Bucs got a big turnover in the second quarter. Mason Foster came through on a blitz and stripped Smith. Rookie Akeem Spence recovered the fumble at the Jets 5. One play later, Doug Martin took it in to make it a 14-5 Bucs lead. Bucs got another turnover when Smith was picked off LaVonte David. Bucs gave it back when Freeman was picked off by Dawan Landry. Jets got closer before the half when Smith found the former Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow on a 7-yd TD pass to make it 14-12 Tampa heading into halftime. Bucs had nine penalties in the first half.
The defenses clamped down the third quarter with no scoring. The Jets came up with a big drive in the final quarter. It was a 14-play drive resulting in a 30-yard FG by Nick Folk that gave the Jets a 15-14 lead with over 5-minutes left.
The game came down to the final two minutes. The Bucs’ final drive began at the 20. Martin had a big 17 yard run on a draw play. Then on 3rd and 10, Freeman with a huge completion to Jackson for a 37-yard play into Jets’ territory. Rian Lindell booted a 37-yard FG to give the Bucs a 17-15 lead with 34 seconds left. The Jets took over at their own 20 with 30 seconds left. Smith hit Winslow on a 25-yard pass play. Then, Smith scrambling out of bounds was hit late out of bounds by LaVonte David. The 15-yard penalty set up Folk’s 48-yd FG with 2-seconds left to give the Jets a stunning victory. And for the Bucs, it was a stunning loss.
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