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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Officials rule late catch by Bucs' Williams wasn't

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 01:09 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -

Mike Williams had already made one huge play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he walked off the field wondering why he hadn't been credited with another.

It was Williams who ran down the left sideline and leaped over cornerback Justin Tryon for a spectacular 41-yard catch in the end zone with 1:58 remaining, forging a 34-34 tie against the Giants.

After New York went ahead on a 2-yard run by Andre Brown, the Bucs took possession at their 36-yard line with only 31 seconds left. Tampa Bay crossed midfield on a 19-yard catch by Vincent Jackson before Josh Freeman fired a pass down the same left sideline toward Williams.

Williams was credited with a 29-yard catch to the Giants 16-yard line by officials on the field, only to see the call reversed after a replay review.

"I guess I've got to get three feet down the next time,'' said Williams, who got both feet down in bounds. "I didn't bobble it at all and while they were reviewing it, one official told me, 'That's a catch.' ''

By NFL rule, a receiver must get both feet down in bounds, then make a routine football move to prove possession. After a lengthy delay, replay officials ruled Williams did not maintain possession long enough before he lost control of the ball out of bounds after a jarring hit by safety Antrel Rolle.

With 12 seconds left, the Bucs faced second-and-10 from the New York 45.

Under pressure, Freeman threw over the middle and was intercepted by linebacker Michael Boley to end Tampa Bay's late comeback bid.

"I've got to hold onto the ball and go to the ground with it,'' said Williams, who is off to a quick start with a touchdown reception in each of Tampa Bay's two games. "I think we fought hard today and we lose as a team. We're going to fight, no matter what the situation is.''

Williams finished with three catches for 59 yards, but it was the one that got away that he'll stew on for a while.

"It's one of those situations that I have to learn from,'' Williams said. "He (Rolle) kind of popped into my view real late. I couldn't get it all the way up to my chin and it bobbled out. I would have loved to see the play that was going to be called next.''

Bucs left tackle Donald Penn thought Williams got a raw deal.

"I can't talk about the referees too much, but it seemed like it was a lopsided game,'' Penn said. "They came and bit us in the end. Mike caught the ball, got two feet down, got hit out of bounds and the ball came loose. It's a fumble out of bounds. I knew there was no doubt we were going to score.''


ikaufman@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7833 Twitter: IKaufmanTrib

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