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Monday, Oct 15, 2018
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Bucs’ Gerald McCoy heard apologizing to Ben Roethlisberger mid-hit

For all of his accomplishments on the field, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has been dogged by unfair criticism throughout his career that he's too nice.

One moment during Monday's 30-27 loss to the Steelers isn't going to help him in that regard.

Still, it was a refreshing show of sportsmanship during a situation that has become highly controversial this season: how to legally hit a quarterback.

McCoy was mic'ed up for the  Monday Night Football game, and ESPN's microphones caught him saying, "My fault, Ben," even before his helmet made contact with Roethlisberger's chest after the Steelers quarterback released a pass from his own end zone late in the first quarter.

As Pittsburgh lineman B.J. Finney reached down after the play to help Roethlisberger to his feet, McCoy turned back to the quarterback and repeated, "My fault, Ben."

Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster pulled in the pass for a 43-yard completion. McCoy was penalized for roughing the passer, giving Pittsburgh an additional 15 yards.

As it turned out, there might have been no need for McCoy to apologize.

Asked after the game about the two roughing-the-passer penalties (Jason Pierre-Paul also was penalized after hitting Roethlisberger on the helmet in the second quarter) called against the Bucs, Roethlisberger didn't sound enamored of the new rules designed to protect quarterbacks.

"I don't want to criticize the officiating, especially when you're talking about a penalty that helps the quarterback out," he said. "I was surprised at the first (penalty).

"The second one I thought was legit. He hit me in the helmet. It was kind of like hearing that loud ring when your helmet gets hit. There are sure a lot of them. I can't imagine the fans at home are enjoying it too much."

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