Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 9/18/12

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 27: Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs to pass the ball during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on December 27, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Giants and others in the media are complaining about the Buccaneers’ behavior on the last play of Sunday’s game, and I’m not really sure why.

The Bucs were down 41-34 and had just given the ball to the Giants after an interception by Josh Freeman. Sure they were upset about blowing a 27-13 lead and then turning the ball over in the final minute, but the game wasn’t over when they supposedly breached an unwritten rule by leveling Eli Manning and some offensive linemen while trying to cause a fumble in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.

Now this may be a dumb question, but … please tell me why, after competing for 59 minutes and 55 seconds, should the Buccaneers have stopped trying with five seconds left? The game was not over. The whistles hadn’t blown. There were still five seconds left and the Giants still needed to run one more play.

You think it’s that simple to snap a ball and take a knee before the defense gets to you? I suppose you’re the kind of person who doesn’t find it necessary to putt from three feet away. Why should NFL teams give their opponents gimme putts without making them hole-out? They shouldn’t because getting off a snap and kneel down still requires some blocking and a clean exchange from the center to the quarterback. And that’s why the Bucs were still trying hard on the last snap.

In fact, Ian Rapoport tweeted that Greg Schiano’s Rutgers teams forced four bobbled snaps.

Do we criticize teams for running trick plays because they are supposed to be doing only what the other team saw on film for previous games? Is it also classless when a team runs a fake spike play at the end of a half or game because that’s not what they were expected to do? How and why is it a problem that the Buccaneers were still trying to win the game when there was still time left on the clock?

I’ve heard some try to downplay the Buccaneers’ actions by saying first-year head coach Greg Schiano is trying to send his team a message. Uh, no. You’re totally missing the point. He’s not trying to send a message — he’s trying to win. And if you can’t see that the game was not over when the Giants took the final snap, then you’re a quitter.

I’ve also seen people rail against Schiano and the Bucs by saying they could have hurt someone on the final play. That’s a joke. First of all, this is the NFL where they play TACKLE football. You have no problem with players exposing themselves to life-threatening injury for 150 plays or 59 minutes, but all of a sudden you’re worried about injury on the last play of the game? Why are you watching football if you’re worried about players getting hurt?

The only people who were wrong in this situation were the Giants, Tom Coughlin, and anyone who stuck up for them. The Buccaneers just taught everyone in the NFL a lesson that you must try and focus on every play. They have no obligation to take it easy on anyone at any time.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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