TAMPA, FLA. - The call was wrong. Replays seemed to show as much “conclusively.”
But it didn’t matter.
The Cardinals didn’t have any timeouts left, so they couldn’t challenge a so-called interception by Buccaneers safety Jermaine Phillips as the Cardinals were trying to wipe out a 17-10 deficit in the closing minutes.
And so they were done.
Phillips caught the ball along the sideline, but his second foot came down out of bounds.
The Cardinals already had used all three timeouts. And because the game hadn’t reached the 2-minute mark, the replay couldn’t be ordered from upstairs.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said it seemed apparent that Phillips made the catch out of bounds and that one official ruled this way.
“But one official came in and overruled him. I was well aware I couldn’t challenge it because I didn’t have timeouts.”
The coach said he used a timeout on offense — with his team down 17-3, on third-and-goal at the 3 — because, “I wanted to make sure we had a good play called. That was a critical time for us.”
If the Cardinals hadn’t scored a touchdown on third down, they would have tried again on fourth down.
The Cardinals scored on the first try, a touchdown run by Edgerrin James.
“I don’t think it was a factor,” Whisenhunt said of the timeout, because they got the ball back with plenty of time. But we went three-and-out, which we can’t do.”