- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- If you think the officials were the reason for the Buccaneers’’ overtime loss to the Saints on Sunday, you’re looking in the wrong place.
Cornerback Johnthan Banks, who was called for the most crucial penalty of the day, isn’t blaming the officials. Give Banks credit for being a stand-up guy in a situation that put him in a bad light.
“I did it,’’ Banks said Tuesday. “It was a penalty. I saw I was walking up and moving as the ball was being snapped. I just wasn’t ready.’’
Banks was called for hands to the face on New Orleans receiver Robert Meachem. The incident took place on the other side of the field from where the play went. Quarterback Drew Brees threw an incompletion to the other side of the field. The play came on third down, and it looked like the Saints were going to be forced to punt in overtime.
Instead, they were given a first down as the result of Banks’ penalty. That kept the drive alive and the Saints eventually scored the game- winning touchdown.
Banks also had his first interception of the season, but he wasn’t taking any consolation in that.
“There were so many plays that we didn’t make out there,’’ Banks said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better and move forward to the future.’’
Banks’ penalty was just one of a season-high 15 for the Bucs. Banks said that many penalties were uncharacteristic and cost the Bucs the game.
“I know what this team can be with a clean game,’’ Banks said. “I know what this team can be. Take those 15 penalties, that’s crazy. We don’t have 15 penalties, who knows how bad we could have beat those guys? We were up 11 points in the fourth quarter, and we had 15 penalties. We were just shooting ourselves in the foot every time.’’
If you think the officials were the reason for the Buccaneersâ