Buccaneers didn’t break any NFL kneel-down rules

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“We’ve caused a fumble four times in the last five years with that play, and it’s something that we practice,” he said.

Asked if he would have asked his players to do the same thing against the Giants if it had not been a one-score game, the coach declined to speculate.

“I’m not going to deal in” what ifs, the coach said. “I’m the one who makes the decision to call that. We have that in our play book, and if I choose to call it, then I call it. If I don’t, I don’t.”

The Giants also choose to kneel on the final play of the opening half at their own 8 yard-line, and the Bucs _ leading 24-13 at that point _ did not try to knock the ball loose from Manning.

“Think about the question. At the end of the game, if they throw the ball down and score, we lose anyway,” Schiano said. “At halftime, if they do it they get seven points and the game goes on.”

Dockett said whether he’d go after an opposing team taking a knee “depends on who you’re playing against,” citing NFC West division rivals San Francisco and Seattle as teams that would come after the Cardinals.

Quarterbacks Philip Rivers of San Diego and Christian Ponder of Minnesota said they aren’t sure there’s really any protocol for how defenses should approach kneel-down situations.

“I mean, the ball’s getting snapped. If we’re going to go back there and hand it off, you’d expect them to come back and get it,” Rivers said.

“I know there are times when I’ve kind of held the ball a little bit like when we’re trying to run a little more clock before I take a knee. That kind of gets defenses riled up: `Go down, go down. If you’re going to stand back there, we’re coming,’” Rivers added.

“As a defense, you’d expect them to play until the very last second of the game,” Ponder said. “Also, taking a knee, you want to be careful. As a quarterback, you want to feel safe. I don’t know. It’s a thin line. I see why Tampa Bay did it.”

Miller said he didn’t see future opponents targeting Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman when Tampa Bay finds itself kneeling at the end of a victory.

The Giants “just responded to what they perceived the situation. They didn’t see it the way we saw it,” Miller said. “We had a chance at the end of the game to get the ball back and it just didn’t happen. But if you look at it the way you should, you understand and move on.”

Tampa Bay travels to Dallas Sunday.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he was not concerned about the way Sunday’s game ended.

“I don’t want to speak to that situation. That was between Tampa Bay and the Giants. Certainly, there’s a style of football they’re trying to implement down there in Tampa and feel like that’s in some ways indicative of how they want to play, how they’re going to handle an end-of -the-game situation,” Garrett said. “We’re going to focus on our team and the things that we’ve got to get better at, and preparing for that ball game.”

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