San Francisco faced a 4th and 10 from the Tampa Bay 10 with just over 8 minutes left in the game. The 49ers had jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half, but trailed 27-14 by that point. That’s when we learned, from Ronde Barber, that scoring a touchdown does nothing. It would still be a two-score game regardless.
Of course, a touchdown always changes how many scores are necessary. It’s an immutable rule of football scoring. Try it at home. In this case, a touchdown would have had San Francisco down 6, which I guess, technically, is a two-score game by field goals.
That’s not to say that going for it was mandatory. It was probably a futile exercise either way, as Colin Kaepernick showed why he had not been playing football until last week. Just a few plays after Barber revealed that it was going to be a two-score game no matter what, the Buccaneers made it a three-score game and put it away.