Ira’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Cowboys

December 19th, 2016



Exposed, not embarrassed.

Vegas oddsmakers had it about right, establishing the Cowboys as 7-point favorites. Tampa Bay played hard Sunday night at Jerry’s World, but the Bucs didn’t play particularly smart and the Cowboys deserved to win.

Now it’s on to the Superdome, where all the Bucs want for Christmas is a tw-game winning streak, coupled with an Atlanta loss to either Carolina or New Orleans.

Takeaways proved to be Tampa Bay’s undoing in Big D, so here are 10 more to digest before the holidays:

* Dak Prescott was so sharp and poised. I can’t remember the four passes he missed in closing the door permanently on Tony Romo. When the Bucs didn’t dial up a blitz, Prescott had plenty of time to go through his progressions as the four-man rush proved futile against a dominating offensive line.

* Gerald McCoy sure appeared animated during a pregame speech, but once the whistle blew he looked spent. Although Dallas had the ball for more than 36 minutes, McCoy failed to show up on the post-game stat sheet. Zero. Nada. Bupkis. In Week 2, Lavonte David failed to register a tackle at Arizona. Any coincidence those are the only two road losses of the season?

* Even in defeat, middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and cornerback Brent Grimes were outstanding. Alexander hit everything in sight and was responsible for Tampa Bay’s only takeaway when he jarred the ball loose from sure-handed Jason Witten. Grimes was stout on coverage and played the run well, continuing a solid season.

* The Doug Martin chatter isn’t going away. Martin’s lack of production is hurting this offense and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Jacquizz Rodgers playing a big role in the Big Easy. With few exceptions, the Bucs have run the ball poorly in 2016 — a big reason why Dirk Koetter’s offense has been awful on first down.

* The elephant in the room looked like a dinosaur Sunday evening. Tampa Bay’s veteran right tackle made Cowboys hulking defensive end David Irving look like Julius Peppers in his prime, coming off the left edge to post two sacks, a deflection and five hits against Jameis Winston. Former Buc Anthony “Booger” McFarland offered his take Monday on Twitter: “Gosder Cherilus is still terrible this morning just in case u guys didn’t notice.” …Everyone noticed. Here’s hoping Demar Dotson passes the NFL’s concussion protocol this week.

* Winston was under siege much of the evening, but even when he had time to throw he wasn’t on target. He was picked off three times, dropped four times and fumbled once. His most crucial misfire came in the final minutes when he overthrew Mike Evans down the left sidelines on a potential big third-down gain. Even Winston’s touchdown pass to Adam Humphries, which admittedly came under duress, was badly underthrown.

* The setback hurt Tampa Bay’s postseason chances to be sure, but the Bucs are still in decent shape if they can rebound at New Orleans and at home against Carolina. A 10-6 mark could be good enough for an NFC wild-card spot or a division title if Atlanta stumbles. A loss against the Saints and the Bucs are toast.

* Mike Smith’s defense took a step back after an impressive five-week run. Job 1 was containing Ezekiel Elliott, and the Bucs get an “F” on that score. Elliott reeled off seven runs of 10 yards or more and gained 78 yards in the fourth quarter alone. It was a big comeback game for a proud Dallas offensive line that had underachieved in the previous two weeks.

* Lack of discipline proved costly. Winston’s head butt against linebacker Justin Durant contributed to a ridiculous 2nd-and-goal situation from the Dallas 28 and the defensive line showed poor gap control. Elliott kept capitalizing with cutback runs that led him to the second level. “Guys were trying to do too much, instead of what we’ve been doing,” McCoy admitted. “We’re a good team and we played another good team. Hopefully, we see them (Cowboys) down the line.”

* The key sequence came after Alexander forced a fumble at the Dallas 45 midway through the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys clinging to a 23-20 advantage. The Bucs went 3-and-out but punter Bryan Anger did it again, pinning Dallas at the 4-yard line. Instead of turning conservative, Prescott found Dez Bryant for a 19-yard completion and the Cowboys drove for a field goal. That’s not exactly the kind of complementary football Koetter and his staff have been stressing.

30 Responses to “Ira’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Cowboys”

  1. Patrick in VA Says:

    The more I think about this game, the more I see that this team is only maybe slightly ahead of where I thought they’d be at the beginning of the season. The 5 game run was awesome. It was great to be excited about this team again, but we’re truly probably an off season away from real contention. We’re not built for a run right now.

    What I am excited about is that this stretch of games has re-energized the fan base. We can be hopeful for things to come and folks will be eating up the season tickets for next year and we can build off of the momentum of this year.

    That part, I think, is the biggest take away from this year. Knowing that we’ll walk in to the first game of next year with a rocking home field advantage that sets the tone for the whole season.

  2. tdtb2015 Says:

    Dotson and Rodgers will makes us dangerous again!

  3. tdtb2015 Says:

    @ Patrick…only if Winston gets a hold of his emotions. His collapse emotionally yesterday will put this fan base in doubt mode again. And hopefully DC Smith will not go to the Jaguars as predicted.

    I’m hoping the team makes adjustments and regain its momentum. As of today, I feel we are letting go of a golden moment. Jameis walking his talk can only help us get a second wind.

    Dotson and Rodgers can help against the Saints.

  4. Patrick in VA Says:

    @tdtb – I’m wondering if Coughlin wouldn’t be a more likely fit there. He already made the team respectable before he went to NY, so I’d say he’d be well received in Jax.

    Honestly, the antics are just something that’s going to be there with a young guy. I don’t think it’ll drive the fan base away. We weathered the same thing with #13. He just needs to get some more time under his belt. This will be his 3rd off season in Koetter’s offense. He won’t need nearly as much time getting it down and will have much more time to focus on his own mechanics and doing some introspection on how he’s approaching the game. Whether he does it, I can’t say of course, but the focus of this off-season won’t be simply mastering the offensive playbook.

  5. DB55 Says:

    McCoy is a joke but please keep on defending him.

  6. Mike Johnson Says:

    Bucs fans got a chance to see what a real contender looks like last night. Both offensive and Defensive lines of the Cowboys were bigger, faster, nastier, and more physical than ours. don’t need a 1st round QB to win in this league. But you’d sure better have the Beef to block and plug holes. Dallas has that. Their QB was well protected for the most part. And they had a much better pass rush than we did. Jameis took some Hellva shots to his ribs. I think we will finish 9-7. Lets beef up next year. We are not that far away.

  7. unbelievable Says:

    Great article as usual Ira! No more pregame speeches from McCoy. They are soft, and the defense plays poorly every time. He need to shut up and worry about doing his job.

    And where was LVD yesterday? 3 yards behind the play, that where.

    This team needs more OL and DL. Priority #1 for the offseason. They got pushed around like rag dolls.

  8. Doctor Stroud Says:

    The Bucs were not expected to win this one, and I was amazed that the they were actually winning in the fourth quarter with a chance to pull off an ugly win. The offense had two chances at the end of the fourth quarter but couldn’t advance the ball in crunch time. As many have already written, a more stout o-line will be needed. A lot of people have commented that JW is only 22 years old, but can you believe that he is younger than Prescott? Some of his throws were way off, and yes, he often lets his emotions get the best of him. The bend-don’t-break Bucs defense was helped by a few penalties on the Cowboys, along with two missed field goals. This game will be an attitude adjustment, but I hope that players don’t dwell on it. Winning out is the only option. I have a sinking feeling that this might be another season, like 2010 under Coach Raheem Morris, where the Bucs have a decent record but the math doesn’t help. Still, this year’s team continues to amaze me, and I won’t count them out yet.

  9. tmaxcon Says:


    Dotson has been a drive killing penalty machine who gets beat regularly. Your confidence in Dotson is adorable but misplaced. Dotson is garbage

  10. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    What I take from this game was that Dallas is about a year ahead of the Bucs. They are SB contenders we are not.

    That’s OK. We are now definitely playoff contenders and if we make it it’s not a fluke but because we are now a good team trying to become very good.

    IMHO we need one more home run draft to move from very good to great and true SB contenders.

  11. DB55 Says:

    And where was LVD yesterday? 3 yards behind the play, that where.
    9 tackles, 5 solo, 1 sack and a fumble recovery. Come on bro, stop with the foolishness.

  12. unbelievable Says:

    The fumble recovery was just luck, and most of his tackles were in the 2nd half after Zeke had already gashed us badly. Sorry bro but I didn’t see anyone playing well consistently on defense last night.

  13. unbelievable Says:

    Also why was zeke not penalized after jumping into the Salvation Army bucket with the football? Oh cuz he’s the NFLs darling. Imagine if a buc player did that? Flags galore.

  14. unbelievable Says:

    Actually I’ll amend that statement db, I did think kwon played pretty solid outside of getting tossed around by a few offensive lineman.

  15. orlbucfan Says:

    DB55 Says:
    December 19th, 2016 at 12:24 pm
    McCoy is a joke but please keep on defending him.
    Yer a joke, but I have to keep tolerating you. Smith throttled the LBackers (Bucs). He wouldn’t let them loose. No blitzes called throughout most of the game? Why not? Dungy had no problems doing it 20 years ago. I listen to these games on Bucs Radio. DK is the real deal. Smith…..whatever. Go Bucs–Bring some serious mojo home Xmas Eve!!

  16. BrooklynBucsFan Says:

    The defense didn’t play great, but they played well enough for us to win this game. The offense is what let us down. We scored zero points in the 4th quarter and had 4 turn overs, but the defense gave us two chances to win at the end. For me, this game is on the offense.

  17. buddha Says:

    How about a little perspective? Dallas Players get paid too. They won 11 games before last night. We fought hard and had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. This team has heart, more heart than talent. It’s brutally difficult to win close games week after week. Tampa and Detroit have been living on the edge. Licht will fix the offensive line in the off season, guaranteed. Forget this game. Let’s go into New Orleans with pride and class and have some think to play for in the final game.

  18. ElioT Says:

    They learned how to win, now they need to learn how to come back after defeat.

    Do or die boys!

    Let’s f**king go!!

    Go to New Orleans and show everyone what you’re made of!

    Go Bucs!

  19. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “The defense didn’t play great, but they played well enough for us to win this game.”

    Meh I’d say it had more to do with Cowboys penalties and missed FGs. They put up 26 and it could have been 40+ with better execution.

    I would say the entire team did well enough to be in position to win a game that they shouldn’t have been in position to win – if that makes any sense lol.

    Dallas’ roster should beat the Bucs’ roster 4/5 times.

    On offense they have 6 recent 1st round picks or graded as an obvious round 1 talent if you include Collins (4/5 of their lineman, zeke elliot, & dez bryant) and a HOF TE. They have 7 studs on offense plus a top QB this year (who is performing well because he has the best supporting cast in recent memory for any rookie QB).

    Our offense? Winston & Mike Evans. Those are the only guys with the talent pedigree of 7 of the 11 Dallas starters. Ali Marpet is the only lineman we have that’s on their level. So 3 maybe.

    Our defense is a little more debatable – but the Cowboys D’line manhandled our O-line. I’d say we’re a better defense talent wise but it’s pretty close.

    Dallas has built a team that should contend for super bowls every year that line is healthy. If not then they are really doing a terrible coaching job or the QB is just f*cking up left and right

  20. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Lord – I’d have to agree. Their offense was pretty much imposing their will and only stopped when they got in their own way.

  21. mike Says:

    man, that 3 and out after the fumble was a killer

  22. McBuc Says:

    Unbelievable… They were penalized for using a prop after that touchdown.

  23. Destinjohnny Says:

    We can be like Dallas.
    Draft fournette and then wideout then o line.
    Then we have to sign a free agent guard.
    Then the Nazareth song Aplies.
    Now your messing with a sob

  24. JPeriod Says:

    We’d be WAY better off with Dalvin Cook that Fournette. He is always dealing with some sort of injury.

  25. Ant Says:

    I will take my chances with a Dotson hold if Winston stay upright.

  26. Lord Cornelius Says:

    lol if you guys really want Dallas’ O-line; then prepare to spend at least the next 2 years of first round picks on the O-line; plus probably at least another premium pick.

    That line is the best in the last decade easily

  27. Pelbuc Says:

    Winston lost his cool early and was off target. McCoy did his typical disappearing act in a big game and Doug Martin is done!

  28. BuckyLove Says:

    How can you say our running game is bad? NE will go to the Superbowl with a back that could not cut it with the Bucs. Makes me sick.

  29. Buccfan37 Says:

    Dallas is just an evil demonic place. JFK proof enough. The US government is scheduled to release records of his murder in Dallas that have been withheld for fifty

  30. MegaDaveUK Says:

    Where is the podcast?! getting damn lazy with getting content out on time <_<
    Dude, you posted this at 4:55 a.m. EST. Calm down. Podcast was up at 7:25 am.–Joe