Rash of penalties stunts Tampa Bay’s offense
Eduardo Encina, Tampa Bay Times, published 10 December 2018

The 10 penalties that the Bucs committed in their 28-14 loss to the Saints on Sunday weren't their most this season, but they played a major role in the Tampa Bay offense's struggles to move the ball. In fact, over one eight-play span in the second quarter, the Bucs committed five penalties that cost them a total of 40 yards. "We had way too many holding penalties," Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said. "That killed us. We went through a stretch there were we had a bunch of penalties in a row."

Three of those penalties were called on offensive linemen — tackle Donovan Smith was flagged for a false start, and center Ryan Jensen was called for holding and unnecessary roughness. Linebacker Kevin Minter was then called for a false start on a punt play, creating a fourth-and-31 play. And after the punt, defensive tackle Vita Vea was called for offsides.

That kind of stretch can kill momentum on any team, and that sequence allowed the Saints to start their drive at their own 39 until the Bucs were bailed out by linebacker Adarius Taylor's interception. A subsequent touchdown allowed Tampa Bay to take a 14-3 halftime lead.

Smith also was called for two holding penalties, and tackle Demar Dotson was flagged for a face mask and a false start on consecutive plays. Linebacker Cameron Lynch received an illegal block penalty that negated an Adam Humphries punt return to near midfield, a penalty that cost the team 21 yards in starting field position. The 10 penalties cost the Bucs a total of 84 yards. Still they've had more, committing 11 twice this season, during losses at Chicago and Cincinnati.