Videos by OutKick
The Buccaneers are headed back to the playoffs after beating the Panthers at home on Sunday and clinching the NFC South. However, it may not have happened without punter Jake Camarda.
He saved utter disaster with the punt of the year that did not count.
With 42 seconds remaining in the game, Camarda lined up at his own 41-yard-line on 4th-and-10. Tampa Bay held a six-point lead over Carolina, which did not have any timeouts remaining.
All Camarda needed to do was pin the Panthers offense deep in its own territory so that the Bucs defense could close out the win. But the snap was low.
Long snapper Zach Triner hurled the ball at his punter’s feet and it landed on the ground just in front of Camarda, who went into panic mode. The 23-year-old rookie had trouble securing the ball at first.
Camarda eventually got ahold of the loose ball as Carolina was closing in.
If he was to take a sack, it would have given the Panthers great field position with about 30 seconds left. They would have had a chance to score and win the game with an extra point.
Camarda was not going to let that happen and pulled off one of the most athletic feats of the year.
He rolled to his left — as a right-footed punter — and scrambled up the sideline and booted the ball away before getting crushed. Camarda’s punt not only got off cleanly, it rolled to the two-yard-line, where it was ruled dead.
As if it couldn’t have been any crazier, the punt didn’t count. An ineligible Buccaneers player was downfield and the play was called back.
The five-yard penalty gave Camarda even more room to work and he pinned Carolina back to all-but seal the game. Hero!