AROUND THE SHIELD — Matt Gay is now part of the curse he was drafted to help reverse.
With four seconds remaining and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down by a point, the former Utah kicker trotted out onto the field with a chance to win the game.
At that point, Gay had rebounded from his two missed extra points to start the game by making his next five kicks (four fields — including a 52-yarder — and a PAT).
“I bounced back,” Gay said. “I felt very good. I made my field goals, made my extra points. I was really confident going into that kick.”
But he didn’t hit it the potential game-winner clean enough and pushed the ball right.
Game over. New York Giants 32, Tampa Bay 31.
“That’s 100% on me,” Gay said. “Gotta make it.”
The kick was preceded by a strange decision by Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians. The Bucs coach opted to take a delay of game penalty in order to push the kick back a little, believing that it would aid Gay.
"I just took it on purpose. He’s better back there,” Arians said. “That field goal is easier back five yards. We wanted to move the ball, put it in the middle and make it easier."
Would things have been different from 29-yards out? That’s the question many Bucs fans — and maybe even Gay himself — are now asking.
Video: Here’s Bruce Arians explaining that he took a delay of game penalty “on purpose” before final field goal to back up rookie Matt Gay, who had already missed one extra point and had another blocked in the same game. pic.twitter.com/h4WIwaVdq7— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 23, 2019
To their credit, Gay’s teammates weren’t willing to put the loss on Gay’s shoulders. The Bucs held an 18-point halftime lead and scored just three points in the second half, allowing the Giants to make the comeback.
“He’s a really good kicker with a really strong leg,” Bucs receiver Mike Evans said. “It’s football; those things happen. It’s happened to every kicker at least once. We are not upset with him by any means.”
That was echoed by Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston.
“We all have to do our part,” Winston said. “We shouldn’t have put him in that situation. He’s going to have another chance and he’s gonna make more game-winning field goals.”
For Gay, who was drafted in the fifth round of this year’s NFL draft, it’s now about making sure he’s ready for that next opportunity.
“I gotta put it behind me and go forward,” Gay said. “It’s not going to help to look about on this one.”
New Orleans Saints 33, Seattle Seahawks 27
There was plenty of mystery regarding how the Saints would use former BYU QB Taysom Hill following the thumb injury to Drew Brees. Turns out, the answer was not much at all.
Hill didn’t attempt a pass and had just one carry for five yards in a very limited role in the Saints’ win.
For Seattle, Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner had a game-high 18 tackle, former Utah and Brighton High linebacker Cody Barton had a fumble recovery and former Utah safety Marquise Blair had a tackle.
Green Bay Packers 27, Denver Broncos 16
Aaron Jones might have got the glory, but it was former BYU running back Jamaal Williams the clinched the win. Leading into Sunday’s game, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said he wanted to “even up” the carries between Jones and Williams. The Packers did just that with Williams getting 12 carries and Jones getting 10.
Jamaal Williams is FIRED UP after this grown man run. 👊😤pic.twitter.com/SwCnxEjefq— GBP Daily (@GBPdaily) September 22, 2019
How did Williams do in his increased role? He had 59 yards on the ground and added two catches for 27 yards in the passing game. And it was Williams who was the back getting the key third-down conversions in the fourth quarter to help Green Bay ice the game.
Jones finished with 19 yards — but did have two touchdowns.
New England Patriots 30, New York Jets 14
Logan High alum Luke Falk faced a tough task in his first career NFL start: the New England Patriots defense that hadn’t allowed a touchdown in the first two games of the season.
Falk couldn’t break that streak. Yes, the Jets scored 14 points, but one was a special teams touchdown and the other was a pick-six.
Falk was 12-for-22 for 98 yards and one interception in the Jets’ loss.
Former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy was responsible for one of those incompletions. Van Noy finished the game with three tackles — including a 0.5 sack — and a pass break up.
Detroit Lions 27, Minnesota Vikings 24
Former Southern Utah safety Miles Killebrew had two special teams tackles in the Lions’ win. One of them went viral for the wrong reason.
NO FLAG?!! Okay NFL refs... pic.twitter.com/21OB2tkr0T— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 22, 2019
Killebrew, playing on the Lions coverage team, stopped Miles Sanders by reaching and grabbing his facemask so strongly that it caused Sanders’ head to spin around. The scary ripped Sanders’ helmet off and, somehow, didn’t result in a penalty being called.
San Francisco 49ers 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 20
Former BYU linebacker Fred Warner and former Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky played roles in the 49ers win over the Steelers. Warner had three tackles and Wishnowsky averaged 50 yards per kick on three punts.
Los Angles Rams 20, Cleveland Browns 13
Eric Weddle had six tackles to help the Rams to the win on Sunday Night Football and none were bigger than the one he made with 9:15 left in the game.
With LA holding onto a four-point lead, Weddle came up from his safety position to deliver a big hit on Nick Chubb to stop the Browns on fourth down.