Ira’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints

December 11th, 2016



The Bucs just showed their fans what they mean by complementary football. On a day Tampa Bay struggled against one of the NFL’s most porous defenses, the Bucs kept the Saints out of the end zone en route to a fifth consecutive victory. Now the Bucs are proving they can win when they don’t play their best football — another step on the road to becoming playoff worthy.

The opposition’s turnovers keep coming, so try these 10 takeaways on for size:

* I don’t care that he shanked a kickoff after the Saints registered a safety … Bryan Anger has emerged as Tampa Bay’s secret weapon. A savvy free agent pickup from Jacksonville, Anger averaged 46.3 yards on his four punts, placing two inside the 5-yard line in the final quarter. For the season, Anger has dropped 28 of his 58 punts inside the 20.

“He’s awesome,” said Jameis Winston. “Our punter’s awesome.”

* It was nice to see rookie Vernon Hargreaves grab his first NFL interception, but don’t forget about the role Kwon Alexander played on the theft. It was Alexander who dropped back deep down the middle and deflected a Drew Brees pass intended for tight end Coby Fleener. Not many middle linebackers could have made that deep of a drop so quickly — even fewer would have read the play so well.

* The Bucs are getting a lot of hands on a lot of passes, and it’s paying off big. A week after Hargreaves tipped a Philip Rivers throw to Lavonte David for a pick-6, Alexander deflected a Brees pass to Hargreaves and Keith Tandy’s tip led to a Brent Grimes pick. Hands to the ball is the mantra around One Buc Place these days, and it shows.

* The defense bailed Tampa Bay out Sunday because it’s very rare to beat Brees by scoring only 16 points. The Bucs averaged just 4.3 yards per snap against the league’s 26th-ranked defense and the ground game averaged a mere 3.0 yards per carry. Not a particularly good day for the offensive line.

* Doug Martin ran hard, but his burst has disappeared. His longest run in 23 carries Sunday was for eight yards. On the season, he has 128 carries without posting a 20-yard gain. That’s a major concern for a Dirk Koetter attack that stresses balance.

* The Saints had almost as many penalties (13) as rushing attempts (16) and they lost the turnover battle 3-0. That’s bad football, but typical of a 5-8 team going nowhere.The Bucs are now 11-1 with a positive turnover ratio when Winston is under center.

* The Bucs continue to play inspired defense in the fourth quarter, despite facing Russell Wilson, Rivers and Brees in the past three weeks. During the five-game winning streak, Tampa Bay has outscored opponents 28-7 in the final 15 minutes. The Saints had three possessions in the fourth quarter, ending in a punt and two interceptions.

* If the Saints had rallied to win, the biggest Buc goat would have been Josh Huff, making his Tampa Bay debut. It was Huff who mishandled a kickoff with New Orleans trailing 13-3. The ball bounced out of bounds at the 1-yard line and Martin was buried for a safety on the next play. Suddenly, the Saints had all the momentum. No one in the Tampa Bay locker room was more grateful for the victory than Mr. Huff.

* The Bucs remain in prime position for a playoff spot, even though they didn’t get much help Sunday as the Redskins, Vikings and Packers all won. While a setback at Dallas wouldn’t be fatal, an upset next Sunday evening would shock the league and match the franchise record set in 1999 for the longest winning streak within a season.

* Mike Evans was relatively quiet for the second consecutive week, but all four of his catches generated a first down and he also drew a pass interference flag that set up the game’s only touchdown. I expect a big game from Evans under the bright lights in Big D.

39 Responses to “Ira’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints”

  1. Warthog Says:

    Oh man. Getting Ira was a coup for this site. Great article as always.

  2. Ben the GA Buc Says:

    The Saints D couldn’t keep their hands off Evans today. Clearly interference was a goal of theirs. Good thing the D and special teams came through today.

    Always love your Ten Takeaways column, Ira. Good stuff.

  3. Buc1987 Says:

    Rained for a bit…

    Could that have made both o’s sloppy?

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    How about the playcalling IRA?

    Koetter is getting away with very conservative playcalling because our defense has been so stout.
    That 3rd & 7 pass to Evans was a good example… was a low percentage route ….we should have had a short pass instead.
    Going to the well a bit too much with the run against a team that’s secondary was weak.
    Our offensive line play was poor today.
    I agree on Anger…..I think he has won us a couple of games…..

  5. Doctor Stroud Says:

    This was a nasty, gritty game in the trenches with so many penalties. Once again, the defense followed a bend-don’t-break strategy and controlled a high-powered offense by playing take away. Let’s hope that this game convinces Drew Brees to retire this year. I have hopes against the Cowboys next week in prime time. Congratulations to the Bucs for toughing out a win!

  6. Artemis Rand Says:

    Here is another takeaway:

    Louder and more “into it” crowd today.

    Very few Saints fans it appeared.

    Had a very 97′-08′ vibe to it…

  7. R.O. Says:

    Our Oline needs to snap out of the funk they’re in and we need to match their running game yard for yard.

  8. Artemis Rand Says:

    Bobby Rainey plays for the Giants ?

    How is this guy still playing ? He is a fumbling machine.

  9. BuccaneerByBirth Says:

    Always love to hear/read Ira’s stuff!

  10. OFF AND NOW ON FAN Says:

    If Martin is not getting it done, why only give J. Rodgers 2 carries? Or is it the O-line, the play calling or what? Ira, what is your take?

  11. Tampa Tony Says:

    Someone in the media has gotta take Koetter to task for coaching scared

  12. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Tandy is playing like the good Dexter Jackson!

  13. Artemis Rand Says:

    @ Doctor Stroud: Dirty Jack!

  14. Artemis Rand Says:

    I just got an email from the Bucs trying to get me to buy playoff tickets. First time for that in almost 10 years. I don’t even think this happened back in 2010, did it ?

  15. Artemis Rand Says:

    Dumb question for Bucs fans in the Tamp area:

    Who will be the first eeyore DJ on the radio in the morning tomorrow to lament that JW did not account for a TD running or throwing today ?

    Maybe the big schmuck ?

  16. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Bucnut2, Mariota: 6-20, 88 yards! lol

  17. Buc1987 Says:

    Yes Tampa Tony….it needs to be PRIORITY 1 for the media to complain about this 8-5 coach and his stupidity of playing scared.

    WTF was he thinking anyways???

    Dude… are you mentally challenged?

    Or do you need meds? Or maybe you need to up them?

  18. cometowin2 Says:

    Hey coach? On that game ball for the fans? Want to really make it memorable? Trot it around during the week on the coach and player’s radio shows if they’re at a public place. Have all the players, coaches and owners sign it. Let the fans touch it and then auction it off for charity. There was a perfect opportunity last week on an auction to benefit a children’s cancer hospital. Let a fan end up with the ball and benefit a good cause. Win win!!!

    Make it happen Ira, Steve and Lee!!! You guys are the best!!! Go Bucs!!!

  19. Erik w/ Clean Athletics 'The Kwon Alexander of Bucs Fans' Says:

    Great article, Ira; but I agree with Tampabaybucfan that Dirk’s bad playcalling (multiple times per game at this point) should have been one of the 10 takeaways.

    He goes into funks at different points each game for whatever reason…

    Great win, though.


  20. SB with Jameis Says:

    Any one……………Anyone who thinks Mariota would have us at 8 and 5 right now should just turn in your fan card and move to Nashville. Jameis is the Only one that could turn around the mentality of this team.

  21. Buc1987 Says:

    I really never even think about that guy in Tenn anymore until someone on here brings him up.

    Please stop bringing him up.

    BucEric or jackass Butnut1.


  22. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I can’t help it, 87. It’s too funny.

  23. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    You nailed it, SB! It’s all about mindset!

  24. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Cowboys gotta win tonight! Come on.

  25. DB55 Says:

    so try these 10 takeaways on for size:
    Thought I’d find the Keith Tandy paragraph at the end of the article as to “save the best for last” but it never came.

    Sure the tip drill is an excellent way to generate turnovers but Mr. Tandy has provided 2 game-clinching interceptions in consecutive weeks. He also set the pace early on destroying the RB in the hole for a tfl.

    Are reporters going to try to save Conte’s job by unreporting Tandy’s achievements? I think Tandy is earning his time on the field and a few more props.

  26. SB with Jameis Says:

    If we win next week it will be the first 6 game win streak in our 40 yr history of which I sat through 26 straight losses. GO BUCS!!!!!!

  27. SB with Jameis Says:

    Dude………….Conte lost his job this past two weeks DB.

  28. Tampa Tony Says:

    1987- When his predictable play calling gifts the Saints 2 points and a possession it’s only logical to question how conservative he’s become. He doesn’t go for the kill with a lead he goes all Lovie

    It’s working and I’m happy it is but there comes a time when you gotta go for the throat and not rely on your d to bail you out week after week

  29. SB with Jameis Says:

    Tony and 87……….Let’s get honest here. Defense won this game. Offense limped in enough points to help the Defense win the game. Does this sound reminiscent of any other Bucs team?

  30. DB55 Says:


    Not running the ball well enough.

  31. SB with Jameis Says:

    Damn Janoris Jenkins again fuking Dez

  32. Jerry Says:

    Ultimately….it looks like the Bucs have to win out to get to the playoffs. If we lose 1 game, our tie-breaker situation is bleak.

    That loss to the Rams is absolutely killing us.

  33. SB with Jameis Says:

    I agree DB………This is why I think Koetter should just say ” Jameis, you have 10 straight passes. Fuk with the Defense’s head As Much as Possible. Then we run 4 str8

  34. Pete Mitchell Says:

    Nooooo…. don’t say Evans and brights lights together. I still remember a certain indoor game (or two) where he lost a sure touchdown in those bright lights.

  35. TheShaz Says:

    I will not 2nd guess Kotter and his play calling. I am just happy that they are still winning. Teams are figuring out how to take Evans out as a threat because we do not have a legitimate #2 WR.

    The Saints have had some bad breaks this season and I do not care what their record is, division opponents are supposed to put up a fight.

    The Bucs found a way to get the job done. But make no mistake the lack of a #2 WR will eventually catch up to them. Our 2nd, 3rd, 4th string and dudes walking off the street have done pretty damn well considering the situation. But the ability to to pull a win out of your arse when having a bad day is a mark of a winning team.

  36. Trubucfan22 Says:

    One poster says” the play calling is too conservative. For example, the 3rd and 7 pass to evans.”

    How the flying flock is a 3rd and 7 deep shot a conservative play call? I loved the call! Evans was man to man against a 3rd string CB. I would take that every day and twice on sundays. It sucks it didnt work out, but that exact scenario is usually money for Evans.

  37. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Conservative, for those who don’t know what it means, would be running a draw play on 3rd and 7. Not throwing a 40 yard fade route. Idiots!

  38. Lunchbox Says:

    Just got back home from my first Bucs game in 5 years (I live on the East coast of FL) and what a game! Extended our winning streak to 5 games, even with an ugly win, but against the Aints, was awesome! There were quite a few Saints fans there and to shut them up after years of their success against us was sweet. It’s truly a great time to be a Bucs fan again.

  39. Stevek Says:

    I would agree with Ira, Doug is running hard, but appears to have lost his burst.