Wrong Time To Punt

December 13th, 2015
Punting late was right said Lovie.

Punting late was right, said Lovie.

It was late in the game. Saints led 24-17. The Bucs’ offense was, well, uneven (Joe is trying to be polite).

Tampa Bay’s defense was starting to wear down and through much of the game couldn’t stop Drew Brees.

The Bucs had a drive that stalled on their own-44 with 4:13 left. Instead of going for it on fourth down, Lovie Smith elected to punt.

The Bucs never got another chance. The Saints ran the clock out and secured the win.

After the game, a defiant Lovie said he always would punt in that situation.

“I thought we could back them up there and stop them,” Lovie said. “That’s why I did that. [You] can second guessing it right now. I would make the same decision 10 out of 10 times on that.”

What exactly was his defense doing that gave Lovie any shred of confidence it could have forced a three-and-out?

Through much of the game, the only time the Saints were stopped was when they stopped themselves.

Lovie must have been the only guy in the Den of Depression who believed his defense could force a quick punt. Or maybe Lovie wanted to go for it, which would have been a very public confession his defense was getting shredded all game?

59 Responses to “Wrong Time To Punt”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    You’re misguided at best….and an idiot at worst…. if you think we should go for it on 4th…. down seven in our own territory….if we don’t make it the get a FG and it’s a two-score game…..game over.

    The punt was the right call….we simply didn’t execute on Defense……also, the FG was the right call…..but again…missed….we didn’t execute.

    This has happened to us many times this year.

  2. ne fl buc Says:

    You must not be a regular reader around here with that ludicrous, wiseguy question. –Joe

  3. Elle Says:

    The refs, now wrong time to punt. This is all off track, imho. Again, we were playing against one of the worst defensive units in the NFL. The Aints’ defense has been ridiculed time and time again this season. The truth is that the Bucs shouldn’t have been in that position. I’m not saying that I was expecting a grand spectacle, with Winston throwing TDs aplenty and Martin running all over for multiple TDs as well. But still… I think it’s fair to say that we could have done more. Of course, it’s never easy to win an NFL game and nothing should be taken for granted. However, this loss left a bad taste in my mouth. I thought we were far too timid in the first half. We needed to be more aggressive. We needed to take more chances. It was a do or die situation, and sadly the team didn’t deliver this time.

  4. Johnny "America's Commenter" Dejay Says:

    I agree with Lovie, the only call is to punt in that situation. There was plenty of time left and the Bucs had all 3 timeouts plus the 2:00 warning. They just couldn’t stop the Saints, kudos to them for excellent execution.

  5. rufus du bucs Says:

    Wrong tampabaybucfan. The fg was not the right call, however, the punt was.

  6. Lovieiswrong Says:

    All of Ray Jay knew the game was over at that point. Sad to see another game wasted away. Thanks for that Lovie.

  7. Lovie Is Dog Poo Says:

    Point is Tampabaybucfan, his defense really sucked all day. Should have trusted his lord and savior Jameis Christ. We all trust Jameis waaaay more than the POS defense, Lovie probably should too.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Down by 7 points with less than 7 mins to go. Bucs have 4th and 10 on about the 50 yd line. Lovie says he’d punt 10 out of 10 times? YGBSM.

    Soon as Lovie punted so did I … was so P.O’d we got up and left. Had zero faith in the Bucs defense being able to stop Drew Brees by that point. Offense didn’t look much better, but had more faith in Jameis at that point than I did in the whole Bucs defense.

  9. what? Says:

    Defense gave up 12-17 3rd down conversions.

    Never adjust, Lovie. Adjustments are for losers.

  10. WalkdaPlank Says:

    What about the decision to not use the healthy, 2nd in the league in rushing, Pro Bowl running back?

  11. Rrsrq Says:

    Bucs did stop on third down, twice, but bad penalties from a defense that can’t overcome penalties, no chance.

  12. Rrsrq Says:

    Lovie’s watching his receivers drop balls as if that’s what their supposed to do, yeah punt

  13. jb Says:

    This team is never going anywhere with Lovie as our head coach! It doesn’t matter what the talent level is…he’ll do his best to screw things up on game day.
    We’ll have to put up with him next season, but if and when we miss the playoffs in 2016, the Glazers will realize it, and make the necessary change.
    I just hope Licht and Koetter are still here.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I can only imagine…..Joe….and anyone else thinking he should “go for it”…..if it failed and the Saints ended up with a field goal and a 2 score lead….

    You would have been calling for his head!!!

    Typical Sunday Evening Quarterbacking…..

  15. orlbucfan Says:

    What do or die scenario? Playoff noise which is mercifully ended. Bucs are not quite there yet. HOF-quality QB got hot vs. rookie QB. Bucs were flat, and they looked it. We always get into these dogfights with the Aints. Next year, they’ll still be the Aints. We will take the division. Stinkcats can go 15-1. This is their year. It won’t be next year. There’s a lot of posters on here with either short-term memories or budding dementia. We were 2-14 last year. This year has been a relief! 8-8. We’ll get there, 3 games left. Go Bucs! Joe has to keep things stirred so the ads will keep paying. Har-har! Go Bucs!!

  16. Always sidelined jenkins Says:

    We’re a mediocre team. But improved. Overall the league is full of mediocre teams. We need to add 3 good starters on defense and another good wr plus resign all our guys. At that point we should be decent/competitive for awhile. We’re not real far though.

  17. Buccfan37 Says:

    Lovie should have gone for it on that 4th down, I fully expected the go on 4th. When they wimped out I knew the game was over. Stubborn Lovie.

  18. Espo Says:

    That punt was a no brainer unless you’re playing a video game. Of all the reasons we lost today, this was not one.

  19. softastissueMcCoy93 Says:

    It was a good decision we had just forced them to punt, but I would have went for it. I blame the players for this loss. Drops and not getting off the filed in 3rd and long. We dailed up pressure but DBs have been exposed last couple of weeks. Now lovie needs to start Banks and put Jude on bench. I believe that Banks has gotten his wake-up call. Now cut the BS.

  20. Tampa Tony Says:

    Lovie’s over reliance on the worst unit on the team has cost this team multiple games during his tenure.

    Good coaches have a feel for the game, he does not

  21. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Agree with 1st comment here.

    Too bad Dye dropped that ball

  22. BucFan20 Says:

    Short term memory? A lot of games last year were LOST by LOVIE’s defense even tho they were blamed on Fraizer. The same is happening NOW. Diffrent players almost the same result. The Hell with short term memory. The good thing is we got Winston. The can’t stop or cover or tackle anybody defense.

  23. Tnew Says:

    I was 50:50 about that decision. I was not about the 47 yard field goal. I feel the biggest thing was that the defense HAS to get off of the field on that last possession even the last first down, I don’t know how they let that run to occur. If gmc is as hurt as he appears it’s time to just shut him down. He was a real liability today. Lc I agree. Dye catches tHat ball it’s a different game. I’ll go as far as saying if smith isn’t called for holding on the first play its a different game.

  24. loviehasgottago Says:

    i have said it before and i will say it again, this tampa two is too damn soft, how many times do we see opposing QBs on third and forever, light up that soft ass zone, and usually its for twice the yardage needed after the catch. maybe it would have been different with kwon out there, i do not know, but i do know this, whether lovie or frazier is calling this defense makes no difference, it is the system thats flawed or we just do not have the people to execute it.

  25. Buccfan37 Says:

    Heck yeah you go for it in that situation. It’s not like the Bucs had anything to lose by going for the 1st down. Poor play calling decision to not go for the win. Lovie made that call, the wrong one.

  26. destro44 Says:

    Can I say one thing. Look at this game and the Indy film. I like Jude what’s his name but the kid cannot cover an NFL reciever on a crossing route. There is a reason he wasn’t drafted and it appears the other teams know it.

  27. Bucs5520 Says:

    Bottom line…. Season over. See u next uear. What a choke today

  28. Buc2015 Says:

    I agree with others who say the punt was the right call ….. would add that the odds of a stop in that situation SHOULD be better because the opponent will call more conservatively, to get the team to use its timeouts. Plus they were deep in their own territory. The full playbook was not open for NO.

    Additionally, there was enough time w/3 TOs plus 2 minute warning to allow one first down, but not two. Had them stopped on second series but got the defensive holding …. game over.

  29. Elle Says:


    I beg to differ. The final four games of the season were all winnable. There was a real chance of sneaking into the playoff and surprise quite a lot of people, Bucs fans included. I’m using the past tense now because after today that opportunity is gone.

  30. grafikdetail Says:

    i see we are still blaming everybody except Koeter for another awfully called game!

  31. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … “Typical Sunday Evening Quarterbacking”. That’s kinda what JBF site is all about, isn’t it?

    Going for it on 4th-and-10 is a long shot, no question. But as much as I love watching a great defense in action, today’s Bucs defense was mediocre at best, especially our secondary. Brees whooped up on them and stole their lunch money, converting 3rd-and-longs all afternoon. The only thing that kept the score close was that the Saints committed tons of dumb penalties at critical times. When the Bucs punted with 6-plus minutes left, I had no doubt that the Bucs would be hard-pressed to ever get the ball back.

  32. mike10 Says:

    Joe, couldn’t have worded it better myself. Our D couldn’t put pressure on Brees and the secondary couldn’t stop a receiver all day.

    Everyone gets high on Lovie after a win, but he hasn’t won us a game. This is at least the third game he’s lost us: Washington and Houston.

    He can’t make adjustments and doesn’t seem to have a pulse on his team throughout a game.

    The steps we’ve made forward have been absolutely in spite of Lovie.

  33. ndog Says:

    I for one am getting sick of the NFL as a whole. I mean these refs can turn the tide of any game they want to. I mean really in this game alone look how they changed the game. That first call of the game, the hands to the face on that HUGE 3rd down sack, the OPI on Evans that put us in 3rd and forever. It is the same crap week after week, year after year. I mean they could have been penalties but heck I am watching the Patriots hold Watt every 4th or 5th play and they have not been called for holding once. They just call what they want when they want. It is ridiculous and to be honest ruining the game. Also while I don’t think the games are fixed they certainly lean towards certain teams when it comes to the calls, which effects the games.

  34. mike10 Says:

    Agree ndog – have been watching the same thing tonight against Watt. They treat some players like LeBron, then call the rest of the game on egg shells.

  35. Buccfan37 Says:

    As Lovie pulls his teflon cover tighter.

  36. ndog Says:

    I love you people talking about adjustments. So you people want to go man 2 man but you say our corners suck. You want to blitz but complain people are wide open. You say we should play a tight zone but complain that we get beat deep. Dont you MORONS understand that we dont have talent to do anything well on defense. Your all world DT McCoy sucks and cant beat a one on one and our best defensive player is suspended the rest of the year. When you have short slow DB’s nothing works on defense. When your “best defensive” lineman does nothing the entire game you suck. If Lovie is to blame for anything it is the guy he puts on the field not the scheme or playcall. Sit McCoy down as he is useless, as I am at a point now that we should just try to trade him for a 1st round pick and let Licht draft someone with some freaking heart. I swear on one 3rd and 9 he just stood up with a 1 on 1 and played patty cake while Drew Brees just picked his teammates apart. Pathetic!

  37. mike10 Says:

    Leonard Johnson w a pass defended tonight lol

  38. ndog Says:

    We need to use every pick in the draft next year of DL and CBs! Oh yeah we need a #1 receiver as well as Evans would be a hell of a #2 cause he clearly is not a #1.

  39. Joe Cool Says:

    NDog holy cow man, you nailed it. Great post. Couldn’t agree with you more. I was at the game and anytime 93 was ok the field I literally only watched him. Didn’t do much today. I love how the free handout today at the game was a Gerald McCoy flag! That was cute. Mine’s already in the trash.

  40. what? Says:

    “I love you people talking about adjustments. So you people want to go man 2 man but you say our corners suck. You want to blitz but complain people are wide open. You say we should play a tight zone but complain that we get beat deep. Dont you MORONS understand that we dont have talent to do anything well on defense.”

    Uh, yeah. The defense sucks. Like I said, gave up 12/17 3rd down conversions.

    For Lovie to put his faith in that defense to get a stop against a HOF QB is dim.

    But he’d do it 10/10 times because he can’t ADJUST his mindset to fit the talent on his team. He doesn’t have to restrain Rex Grossman and he can’t rely on Urlacher and Briggs.

    And — punting from the 44 does no good. If you fail 4th and 10 from the 44 and your defense forces a three and out, you’ve lost nothing other than 15-25 yards of field position which aren’t that big a deal when you get the ball back with over 2 minutes to go.

    All the punt could gain you is the field position, IF the defense does it’s job.

    And you’re taking the ball out of your QBs hands, your QB who’s 5/9 on 4th down this year who got you out of 2nd and 29 on his last drive.

    Loser call.

  41. mike10 Says:

    Well said – what?

  42. meat Says:

    Stoneage lovie smith decisions. Peyton would have gone for it, Belichek would have gone for it. At least hurry up to the line and make the defense scramble and call a timeout. Lovie coaches 1990 football. Dirk and Jameis are the only good things about the Bucs. Lovie sucks so bad. I hate him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. meat Says:

    his kids need to get him on the madden sticks in the offseason to learn real clock management lol

  44. meat Says:

    he has lucked him way into a football career by being hit in the face with HOF’ers from day 1. he simply road their coattails.

  45. godzilla13 Says:

    @ aJoeBucsFan – “We need to add 3 good starters on defense and another good wr”. Are you delusional? Try two CB’s, two Safeties, two defensive ends, two WR’s, two tackles, one kick return man and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

  46. meat Says:

    @ godzilla13- LOLOLOL

  47. DallasBuc Says:

    Not sure what the vibe was from the couch but from the stands it was real desperation. A football coach with a set would have called a play to move the sticks. This is why we hired incompetent Lovie Smith, right?
    Play it safe and never win

  48. meat Says:

    Lets not forget how bad our schedule has been this year. If we play a good team they destroy us. Jameis and Dirk and our RBs are the only thing from making this look like a full on dumpster fire. Lovie is such a tard. I do not think he has EVER outcoached the opposition. His staff, has, rarely. But never, ever him. He never gives his dudes an edge like some of the best- Wade Phillips, Belichek, etc…..

  49. meat Says:

    the worst part is that he said ten of ten would do it again the same way….. makes me lose a little bit of my soul every game i watch.

  50. meat Says:

    @ what?- couldnt have said it any better myself. It was a call to maybe not lose. Not to try to fu%&ING win!!!!!

  51. rayjay1122 Says:

    I predicted 6-10, 3-3 division and 3rd in division. Feeling pretty good about winning a free lunch except the 3rd in division part. Hopefully the falcons keep losing. Since the playoffs are not in the cards, maybe lunch is. 😁

  52. FortMyersDave Says:

    The whole team was sleeping today! Yes the defense was soft and it was amazing that the Aints only put up 24 but what to me was even more mind boggling was that the Bucs could only put up 17 points versus one of the worst defenses in the NFL! This team simply started to believe the headlines they were reading about the Bucs becoming a dark horse in the playoff race and they laid an egg. This team is not nearly as good as some of us thought after they beat up Philly and got by the ATL but they are not as bad as most of us thought after the loss at DC or after the opener to the Titans; this is a very mediocre team that probably will finish 7-9 or 8-8 depending if Carolina sits its starters in week 17. If someone told me the Bucs could win 7 or 8 after the Bucs were 2-4 after losing to DC I would ask them if they meant by the end of the 2016 season not this one as I was certain this club was going 3-13 or 4-12 after the Skin loss. I was wrong but so were the pundits who though the Bucs had enough to sneak into the playoffs. I just hope they do not get embarrassed by the Lambs on Thursday night, I have a bad feeling about that game but at least the boys will get 10 days to get ready for what IMHO is their last really winnable game: the Bears who like the Bucs tend to not show up on certain days…

  53. Bryce Says:

    I think Conner Barth needs to practice a little harder on his kicking im not saying the miss field goal made a difference but it was a deflator

  54. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    6-10 teams should go for it….. 7-9 next year lovie dovie

  55. Jerry Says:

    So if we went for it on 4th and Evans dropped that pass, Lovie would still get the blame for going for it on 4th instead of punting.

    He can’t win.

    Every coach in this league would have punted in that situation. You want to blame someone…blame Dye for dropping the pass. Or blame Jameis who overthrew a dozen wide open receivers.

  56. Clint Says:

    I want to like Lovie; but he can be such a squid

  57. JMicSoundsNice Says:

    The “easiest” thing to do in that situation is for the offense not to put the head coach in a position to have to make the decision to go for it on 4th under those circumstances (i.e. 4th and short in any pivotal position). The game involves strategic thinking, true, but it’s more about making plays on the field. While I’ve been as excited as anyone about the team looking more competent (more often than not) this season, these kind of games show what the DNA of our team is.

    We can put as much of this on Coach Smith as we want, but if we want to be great long term the players have to exceed expectations and win games like this (and the colts game). The secondary, which I expected to be terrible against Brees, has to be great. Jameis has to learn to not believe his own hype so much, which is what I think lead to yesterday’s performance. I expected a lot of drops today. That happened. All in all, I’m excited about the improvement, but our team has a long way to go before we can say it’s a viable playoff candidate a la Seattle.

  58. orlbucfan Says:

    Elle: Nobody was more frustrated than moi last season. We had more than 4 winnable games. We could have won 8, but McClown was a disaster!! I’ve followed the Bucs for so long that their creative losing ways don’t surprise me. Some of the losers on here aren’t Bucs fans. Calling them demented or senile is just being polite. LOL. mt one beef with Lovie is he’s got an ego that screws up his judgment at times. He really has a thing about players he didn’t choose personally. The punt call didn’t make any difference. Bucs were flat, and Brees was red hot and on a mission. We need the off-season to patch up the defense. We will. 8-8 (I stand by it). Go Bucs!!

  59. 813bucboi Says:

    lovie cant win for losing….lovie is damned if he does and damned if he don’t…jameis was off for the most part of the afternoon and wrs are still dropping passes…the drop by dye made his decision easier…I had no problem with the fg attempt or the punt…players have to know the situation and execute the plays…if dye catches that pass im pretty sure we score but we may have still left too much time on the clock for drew…until this team gets up to par with the current talent level in the nfl theres nothing much lovie can do but put this team in position to win…lovie has put this team in position to win numerous times this year but drop passed and missed fg have killed this team this year…GO BUCS!!!