Bucs, Mike Williams lament what could have been in first meeting with Saints

Published: December 14th, 2012
By Bucs Beat Feed

Mike Williams could have chosen to burn the tape and forget that it ever happened.

But the Bucs’ third-year receiver instead is more than willing to look back at that fateful play at the end of Tampa Bay’s loss to the Saints on Oct. 21.

With the Bucs down seven and looking to tie the score, Williams caught what appeared to be a touchdown with time expiring in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the catch was nullified by an illegal touching penalty because Williams had first gone out of bounds and then re-entered the field of play, handing the Bucs a devastating loss.

“It’s a play I’ve definitely learned from,” Williams said. “I just have to stay in bounds. If I do that, we tie that game and keep playing.”

It’s a particularly painful game to look back on for other reasons, too. The Bucs had 513 total yards that day, their second-most of the season, with WR Vincent Jackson (216 receiving yards) and QB Josh Freeman (420 passing yards) setting career highs.

Yet, Tampa Bay lost the game, blowing a 21-7 advantage.

“Everything was executed – except me going out of bounds on the last play,” Williams said. “Everything went the way it was supposed to. Everything was so perfect. So it’s hard when you play like that and you lose.”

Said Jackson: “For me, it’s always about the win first. . . We executed some things well. Josh had time and he was getting the ball out. Our scheme is good. When we don’t hurt ourselves and we’re playing at a high level. . . it allows us to be very dynamic.”

The outcome of the first game was typical of this series. The team’s have split their last eight meetings, with four of them being decided by seven points or fewer.

Williams anticipates the usual on Sunday at the Superdome. And he knows now, more than ever, that one play might be the difference.

“I really think it’s really the definition of a tough division,” Williams said of NFC South matchups. “Anytime we play anyone in our division, it’s going down to the final play. It can always go either way. We always know it’s going to be tough.”