The Buccaneers easily dispatched the Eagles in their NFC wild card matchup, defeating Philadelphia 31-15 to advance to the divisional round. But Tampa Bay’s strong overall performance didn’t mean coach Bruce Arians walked away from the game uncritically.
Early in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, the Buccaneers were forced to punt from deep in their own territory, but Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor couldn’t catch the ball cleanly. Tampa Bay recovered its fumble near midfield, a huge blow to Philadelphia’s comeback chances.
The focus of the play quickly shifted from the Bucs’ recovery to Arians’ reaction. One of Fox’s replay angles showed Arians walking onto the field and hitting Bucs safety Andrew Adams’ helmet.
“Bruce Arians walks in. He’s very excited,” Fox analyst Troy Aikman said during the broadcast. “He hits Adams. I don’t know if he’s… I’m not exactly sure what it is.”
The NFL and the NFL Players Association did not release a statement about Arians’ actions, but a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk the situation is “being handled”. Asked during his Monday news conference if he regretted coming into contact with Adams’s helmet, Arians offered a fairly blunt response.
“No, and I’ve seen enough fools already,” arians said. “You can’t get guys out of a pile. We just got a big play, great field position, and he’s trying to get a guy out of a pile. And I was trying to knock him down so he wouldn’t.” get a penalty”.
This incident came just two weeks after Arians got into a brawl on the bench with former Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was released following his unceremonious exit from the team’s Week 17 game. Brown took to social media to argue that he was dealing with an ankle injury and physically unable to perform, leading to an outburst in which he took off his gear, walked to the locker room and never returned. The Buccaneers said Brown was cleared to play, adding that he never told medical staff he couldn’t play.
“It’s pretty obvious what happened. He left the field and that was it,” Arians said earlier this month. “We had a conversation and he walked off the field.”
For now, it appears that Arians will not face any kind of discipline from the NFL for the Adams incident. The Buccaneers will face the Rams on Sunday with a trip to the NFC championship game on the line.