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Blooper: Tampa Bay botches a trick kickoff return, giving San Francisco a TD

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

If you're going to run a trick play, you should probably practice it a few times.

Otherwise, it ends up looking like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' feeble attempt at trickery.

In the fourth quarter against the 49ers, the Buccaneers needed a spark, as they trailed 23-14. If you're going to have the trick plays in the game plan, that's a decent time to try them out.

So Eric Page took a kickoff return, and went to hand it to Russell Shepard on a reverse. Most handoffs look very easy because they're practiced a lot. But receivers usually don't practice handing off to other receivers. So Page tried to hand it to Shepard and it never got there. Even if you want to claim that Page's handoff itself was where it should be, it bounced off Shepard immediately. The ball bounced on the ground, and 49ers running back Kendall Hunter scooped up the fumble for the easiest touchdown of his life. Ballgame over.

The Buccaneers had played a lot better after an embarrassing 0-8 start this season. The botched trick play is a reminder of Tampa Bay's worst days this season.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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