Bruce Arians, Mike Evans Frustrated by Blown Call
It's hard to blame officiating when you lose by three scores, especially when there are potential fines on the table for publicly criticizing the officials.
That's why Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and wide receiver Mike Evans tried their best to avoid specifically calling out officials after Sunday's loss, after a pass interference call was upheld upon review, costing the Bucs a huge fourth-down conversion.
Still, their frustration was palpable after the game, with Arians already expecting a fine.
"I've got no comments on officiating," Arians said in his postgame press conference. "They already wrote up the letter for my fine. S**t, you guys saw it. Write what you saw. I'm not saying s**t about the officials."
Evans believed he had executed a legal release at the line of scrimmage, and was completely dumbfounded that the penalty was not only called in the first place, but upheld upon review.
"It was one yard, one-yard rule," Evans said after the game. "Just a simple release. I was trying to make up for my third-down drop in the previous quarter. I wanted the ball on fourth down, I got it, Jameis threw a good ball. Good, physical release. He said I pushed off, but the ball wasn't even in the air yet."
"Every receiver does that move," Evans continued. "That ref's a human being, he made an error. Obviously, I don't think it was a good call."
At that point in the game, the Bucs were down 10 points to the Saints, but were driving in New Orleans territory with more than 12 minutes left in the game. Instead of getting a key first down to keep the drive going and potentially cut the lead to one score, the Bucs were forced to punt following the penalty. The Saints then ran nearly six minutes off the clock on the ensuing drive.
To add insult to injury, further examination of the play in question revealed that Saints cornerback P.J. Williams, who was covering Evans on fourth down, was lined up in the neutral zone. No penalty was called.
Evans finished the game with 69 yards on four receptions, but there were more than a few extra yards he should have had.