On the final play of the game, after New York had stopped Tampa Bay's last-gasp effort to tie or win, Eli Manning lined up to take a knee out of the "victory formation." But as Manning took the snap, he was knocked to the ground as several Buccaneers linemen appeared to dive forward toward the ball. There was a brief scuffle on the ground between the two teams' lines as the clock ran out.
In his postgame press conference, Coughlin accused the Bucs of trying to injure the Giants' players, including Manning, on that final play.
"I don’t think you do that," said Coughlin, who appeared to have words for Schiano when the two shook hands after the game. "I don’t think you jeopardize the offensive line, I don’t think you jeopardize the quarterback. Thank God nobody got hurt."
Several Giants players expressed their displeasure with the incident, as well.
Chris Snee called the Bucs' late attack on Eli Manning a "bush league play." #NYG
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) September 16, 2012
Tuck said what happened on the last play "won't be forgotten." #nyg
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) September 16, 2012
Players upset after they say Bucs line dove at Giants center, guards' knees. Locklear said one of Bucs said it was coach's orders. #nyg
— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) September 16, 2012
Schiano, however, coaching just his second NFL game, said that his players were merely trying to knock the ball loose at the snap:
Bucs coach Greg Schiano did not apologize for directing his team to try to dislodge the football during the kneel down at end of the game
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) September 16, 2012
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy offered up this comment:
Bucs' McCoy on last play: "We do what we're coached. I'll leave it at that."So, is this a case of the Bucs' violating one of football's unwritten rules -- that you don't go hard in a kneel-down situation? Or was it a dirty play? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 16, 2012