Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Dolphins

November 19th, 2017

Insight, observations, quotes and more from the Sage of Tampa Bay sports


The Bucs ended another ugly streak Sunday, and if the game didn’t reach the heights of Masterpiece Theater, so be it.

A week after snapping a 5-game tailspin, Tampa Bay ended its 6-game nightmare on the road. In beating up on the bottom feeders of the AFC East in successive weeks, the Bucs capitalized on mistakes by the Jets and Dolphins.

The Bucs forced some of those errors at Hard Rock Stadium, but they were also the beneficiaries of 17 Miami penalties. If Don Shula was looking on from a suite, he probably tossed up his steak sauce.

Still, as Dirk Koetter proudly pointed out in the locker room, the Bucs are 2-0 in the third quarter of the season, heading into Sunday’s matchup at Atlanta.

The Bucs turned their original bye week into a hunting party, feasting on five Miami turnovers to beat the Dolphins on the road for only the second time in franchise history.

Here’s how they did it:

* The postgame stat sheet credited Gerald McCoy with Tampa Bay’s only sack and three QB hits, but that’s only half the story. McCoy was a force of nature, spinning around or through overmatched Miami linemen to create havoc. It was McCoy who acknowledged last week that the Bucs run defense had been “horrendous” on the road. Then he went out and performed at an All-Pro level, outplaying Ndamukong Suh in the process.

* Chris Godwin enjoyed a breakout game against the Jets and followed up with an equally impressive effort on Sunday. The rookie receiver sparked the winning drive with clutch receptions of 14 and 24 yards before Patrick Murray took care of business. Godwin’s route running is precise and his hands are strong. He’s a Jason Licht keeper.

* That fourth-and-1 stop in the fourth quarter showed the Bucs still had some juice left when the momentum shifted Miami’s way. Chris Baker and Lavonte David teamed up for the critical tackle, with a little help from their friends.

* What’s up with T.J. Ward? It’s starting to look like the Broncos knew what they were doing when they released a former Pro Bowl safety a week before the season opener. Ward hasn’t made a difference in the secondary and on Sunday, he was slapped with an inexcusable personal foul for taunting.

* There’s no way to pretty this up — the running game stinks. Another 19 carries for Doug Martin, another 38 yards. I don’t need college algebra to know that averages out to 2.0 yards per carry. And yes, zero rushing attempts for Peyton Barber. In 10 games this year, the Bucs have rushed for at least 100 yards only twice. Offensive balance, my butt.

* Tampa Bay’s first-half defense was sensational, posting four takeaways and not allowing a single third-down conversion. Then the Dolphins changed quarterbacks and Matt Moore looked like Dan Marino. For the day, Miami registered four plays that gained at least 45 yards. Tampa Bay’s longest gain was a 29-yard catch by Mike Evans.

* Dick Stockton was a heck of an NBA announcer, working some classic playoff games, but he has lost his fastball. He made more mistakes Sunday than the Buc secondary, getting names wrong and sounding confused at other times. Al Michaels, he is not.

* A win is a win, but let’s not forget that many of the breaks went the visitor’s way. I thought Ryan Fitzpatrick was trapped in his own end zone when he was dropped after clumsily colliding with Demar Dotson. Officials ruled otherwise and the replay crew didn’t overturn the call — despite clear evidence that it was a safety.

* Koetter’s play-calling in the opening half was exceptional, springing Fitzpatrick’s targets wide open. In particular, O.J. Howard took advantage of mismatches and confusion to show why the Bucs are convinced their rookie tight end will be a stud.

* Fitzpatrick didn’t have much time to throw in the second half, but he maintained his poise and avoided the killer mistake. Given their two-game winning streak, the Bucs should feel no need to rush Jameis Winston back under center until that right shoulder is completely healed.

Ira Kaufman is the most beloved, revered and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town. He has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also see Ira every football Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on FOX-13, Scott Smith’s Tailgate Sunday.

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

  1. Ken G Says:


    FITZPATRICK (America’s Backup): Plus 27

    AMERICA’S QB: Minus 52

  2. GMC hater Says:

    Fitz will guide the Bucs to the promised land!

  3. lurker Says:

    via greg auman

    “Bucs, picking No. 4 in draft at 2-6 two weeks ago, now picking No. 15.”

    we need to run the table but doubt we win too many/any more.

  4. Mike n Says:

    All great points. I love Dick stockton… nfc east on cbs and lakers vs Celtics … one of the best but he can retire. Don’t feel bad though Dick… no one outside of Tampa knows are guys either bc we are still irrelevant

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There was some terrible officiating in this game on both sides……the announcers stated that Dotson’s hold wasn’t a hold…..and I watched the replay on Smith’s hold…..(not a hold)….but on that play Marpet clearly had a block in the back so it didn’t change the outcome.

    I don’t see how they got the safety wrong unless forward progress includes hitting your own player.

  6. T in Orlando Says:

    With 5 Turnovers, this game shouldn’t have been tied with 2 minutest left to go. I’m glad the team won, and hope they win more, but not too optimistic since this is all this offense could muster against a bad defense that gave up 45 points 6 days ago.

  7. Welcome Back Koetter Says:

    O line blows chimp

  8. BrianBucs Says:

    Dear Jameis,
    Please take your time getting your shoulder healed and ready. Please take your sweet time. Use this time to watch how a seasoned veteren plays and prepares and learn from him, how he acts on and off of the field.
    Oh, and please start staying home after midnight.

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    On to ATL….beat them and we got something…. GO BUCS!!!!

  10. Not there yet Says:

    Well one thing can be said when the bucs cut Doug Martin this off-season they can say they have him every chance to earn his paycheck. There’s no way to get around this teams major need, strong safety, running back defensive ends and a tackle. Donovan Smith is not a good left tackle

  11. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Good takes, Ira! I totally agree with you on Chris Godwin. He had two key catches on that last drive to get the Bucs into field goal range, and it looks like he will be supplanting Humphries on the depth chart.

  12. Trubucfan22 Says:

    I hope Jameis is back for the Green Bay game. I paid top dollar for those tickets. I want to see Jameis! I paid for Rodgers vs Winston, I might get Hundley vs Fitzpatrick. Smh. Shoulda waited to buy tickets. Tickets are half or less than what I paid for them 2 months ago.

  13. Matts17 Says:

    For the love of God, this is not a playoff team. They barely beat two teams circling the drain just a bit faster than the Bucs. Once they play a team of consequence, like Atlanta, reality will set in again for some of the dreamers here.

  14. Bobby M. Says:

    Jackson to the slot…Godwin on the outside is looking attractive. I’ve liked Humphries, he’s a very solid #4, but it’s time to put the best players on the field. I expect more of Godwin and Howard from this point on, they seem very in tune with their roles and the playbook.

  15. JimmyJack Says:

    hahahaha Matt17…………Don’t pee on our parade bro. Hope is all we have as Bucs fans just like always………I will cling to my hope like grim death. We are Buc fans we don’t have to be realistic. Miracles happen man. You just have to be live hard enough…….Spongebobsquarepants taught me that

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    Bobby…….I’m sick of seeing Hump out there. Last year he was clutch which made him valuable. This year he keeps screwing up in key moments…..Big drop today for a key 1st down. He’s played his way out ofthe huddle IMO.

    Call me crazy but I think it has something to do with him not returning punt……Returning kept him involved In the game more which helps and he also had to brace for big hits which may have paid off when he was going across thd middle……..Last year I thought that was a huge reason why they had him Returning punts………maybe an outside the box way of thinking but what’s wrong with that? Heck, why did Bill Parcels used to rip up grass before the game and throw it into the air and watch it fly away……..What the heck was that guy thinking? Whatever it was it worked.

  17. Nole4JabooANDdbucs Says:

    Brianbucs, I hope Jameis does not model himself after 35 year old Fitz especially since Fitz is the backup and you think that a 21 year old single man should be in before 12:00. Ask Fitz if when he was 21 and single did he not go out and stay after 12:00. (You do realize the incident was 20 MONTHS AGO?!)

  18. BrianBucs Says:

    Nole for Jaboo,
    Jameis is not 21, and he is the face of a franchise. Has to conduct himself as such and not het himself in bad situations.
    And yes, he can learn a LOT from a veteren like Fitz

  19. SB Says:

    Fitzpatrick didn’t have much time to throw in the second half, but he maintained his poise and avoided the killer mistake. Given their two-game winning streak, the Bucs should feel no need to rush Jameis Winston back under center until that right shoulder is completely healed.
    ^^^^ This!

  20. '79Defense Says:

    I agree with Ira’s comment about Dick Stockton. I’m glad he still does games, but he had the most bland call of a turnover I’ve ever heard when the Bucs recovered a fumble in the first half.

  21. adam from ny Says:

    did jameis muck up his right shoulder grabbing more uber crotch?…i mean hey we are all big fannies of the lovely poonanies…but jameis please stay focused my dood

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Dick Stockton gave DJax credit for a Mike Evans catch…and Jackson wasn’t even on the field!

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    Lets face it folks, if Fitzy isn’t as mobile, we are looking at the same results. This offense for 2 quarters looked like it had some juice. 3rd quarter? Pack it in boys, we have a lead.
    In other words, if you can’t see that it is the play-calling, then you might as well stop watching.
    The defense? Miami gifted us this game people. Yea, we got turnovers, but what happened when Matt Moore came in? If not for penalties and the early lead, a better team would’ve put us away in the 2nd half. Not pessimism, reality.
    Agreed about Ward. Who the heck is he shaking his finger at after being burnt for 70 yards on the previous play?! And people keep asking why Conte is still on the team?! There’s your reason.
    Bright side- we don’t need to worry about our kicker any more!

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    Good takeaways Ira with 1 exception: Not a single mention of Bucs’ OLine performance, or lack thereof. You beat on Martin (Joe’s proud I’m sure), but not a single mention of the guys who were supposed to be blocking for him. Panthers put up almost 300 yds rushing against the Fins Monday night; Ravens put up another 175 yds 2 weeks ago. Our Bucs? What, 50 yds? Blame it on Martin if you want, but I kept keying on the run-blocking & couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Superman couldn’t have run behind our OLine. Shameful IMO. Even Marpet was starting to look lost out there.

  25. Dlavid Says:

    Great evaluation Ira ! The team has showed some passion the last two weeks . A win over the Falcons will go a long way for the club .

  26. Clw JB Says:

    Reminds me of the 10-6 Raheem season – more luck against woefull teams…

    At least we pulled it out, but that was an ugly, ugly game

  27. orlbucfan Says:

    I don’t feel sorry for Miami giving us this game. It’s usually the other way around. The bad calls by the zebs are legendary in Buc history. So they blew the safety; Miami blew the game. Koetter has GOT to get his act together with this offense. I don’t care if the waterboy starts at QB. DK calls plays like he’s scared. Of what? The other team? He goes into Atlanta next week. He better get his head on straight. This Bucs team deserves that much! Go Bucs!!

  28. Jim Says:

    I wonder how the Patriots would do in the NFC South, and how the Bucs would do playing the Jets, Fins, and Bills twice a year?

  29. Bradinator Says:

    Here is my question about the run game. Why did we juggle up our line tha produced a very good run game in 2015? Leave Marpet at Guard, put Sweezy on the other side and leave Hawley/Evan Smith at Center? Marpet does not look comfortable at Center to me. I’d consider moving Donovan Smith to Guard, since his footwork issues wouldn’t be as evident there and try Pamphile at Left Tackle. Additionally, I don’t know that we have gained a yard all season with those terrible end sweeps we run. None of our RBs are fast enough (or decisive enough) to turn the corner. It’s an auto-loss play for us. Let Barber pound it particularly late in games when the D is softened up.

  30. teacherman777 Says:


    You forgot about the screen game!!

    Finally we are running more screens!!

    DB’s hate seeing o-lineman running at them!

    Sims is great at screens, so is D-Jax, and so is OH Howard!

    Please run more screens!!!