O.J. Howard shakes off turnover, bounces back with big play
Thomas Bassinger, Tampa Bay Times, published 16 September 2018

Ryan Fitzpatrick took a step backward Sunday. He threw an interception. Well, technically, it was an interception, but the first-quarter turnover wasn't really his fault. His pass, like most of his 32 others, was on target to tight end O.J. Howard. But as Howard tried to secure the ball, Eagles safety Rodney McLeod popped it loose.

"I should have caught the ball and tried to make a play up the field," Howard said. "When I tried to switch the ball in my arms, it slipped out and (cornerback Ronald Darby) picked it off for an interception."

When he got to the sideline, his teammates told him he had to let it go. Two possessions later, Howard held on to his next target, making the catch at the end of a crossing route and taking it 62 yards down the left sideline for a go-ahead score. The 75-yard touchdown pass was the Bucs' second of the game and broke a 7-7 tie late in the second quarter.

"The great ones got to do it," he said. "The great teams, the great players, you've got to shake things off and move on to the next play. You can't let one play stop you. You can't let one play define your whole team. That's football. It's all about making the next play."

Interceptions like that happen, Fitzpatrick said, and players have to be able to put it away and be ready to make a play. "For O.J. to come back, I think he felt bad about it because of what he did on that touchdown run," he said. "I was like, 'Oh, my gosh. Maybe we should do that more often.' He's a special player. I saw a lot of improvement this offseason in him, and it's nice that we're seeing it carry over into the games."

Overall this season, Howard, the Bucs' first-round draft pick in 2017, has caught five passes for 150 yards.