TAMPA, Fla. — Linebacker Lavonte David’s late hit on New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith on Sunday contributed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ loss, and it hurt David in the wallet as well.
David was fined $7,875 for the play. David pushed Smith near the sidelines at MetLife Stadium, which led to a personal foul and allowed kicker Nick Folk to make a 48-yard field goal with two seconds left to give New York an 18-17 victory. He will appeal the fine.
The play overshadowed an otherwise strong day for David, a promising second-year player. He had eight tackles with one sack and an interception.
When asked Monday about David, teammates came to his defense.
“A lot of people want to sit here and point fingers and say, ‘Oh, he did this, he did that and he lost the game,'” Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson said. “Come on. He messed up one time. … Did anybody forget that he got an interception? Did anybody forget that he got a sack?”
Said Bucs defensive tackle Akeem Spence: “I can’t really say he made a mistake, because I didn’t see it as a mistake. But he looks fine. He looks like he’s ready for our next game next week. We’re all backing him hard. Nobody is saying anything negative about it, so that’s big. He’s a great player, so we can’t make one bad thing that he did reflect on the game he had.”
That one bad thing, however, cost David more than a chance to start 1-0.