The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the Atlanta Falcons with the oldest trick in the book. It's probably not the oldest trick, but it's the simplest: pretend like you're going to play football, but don't play any football and see if the other guy tries to play too much football.
With fewer than two minutes left, the Bucs needed only one yard to seal a victory against their NFC South rivals. They lined up, motioned all over the place, and Josh Freeman unfurled his best hard count. Corey Peters bit, and the Bucs won. Some Falcons players feebly lobbied for a false start penalty, and some pushing and shoving occurred.
But defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder delivered a skull-clenching rant that I think sums up how pretty much everybody felt at that moment:
I'm no professional lipreader, but that sure looks like, "Oh my f------ God," and the part that followed looked like, "You f------ idiot." I hope Falcons fans don't think of Peters in those terms for long, and certainly look forward to him proving that description never really fit.
And it should be pointed out that the defense as a whole played well enough to win -- most of the blame for this loss goes to the offensive line, which couldn't open holes and couldn't keep Matt Ryan clean in non-no-huddle (just "huddle?") sets.
But, my Lord, that was a bad play. A defensive player has to know the offense is just aiming for a penalty in that situation, especially once offensive players start making a show of darting across the backfield before the non-snap.
This team has a lot to work on. If you want to see just one example, there you go.
For discussion, head to Falcons blog The Falcoholic and Buccaneers blog Bucs Nation, plus SB Nation Tampa Bay.