Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints

December 31st, 2017


With one glorious throw by Jameis Winston, a pass that both surprised and thrilled Dirk Koetter, the Bucs changed the narrative.

When that 39-yard strike landed in the reliable arms of Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay gave its long-suffering fans a taste of what might have been. The Saints played hard with an NFC South title at stake – but the Bucs played harder.

They were rewarded for their efforts with a 31-24 triumph that ended the second 5-game losing streak of a bitterly disappointing season.

In the aftermath, Buc players were proud they never quit, even if they lost some of the fan base along the way in a 5-11 season. New Orleans ended up backing into the division crown, but it was a heck of a win, avoiding an 0-6 slate within the NFC South.

Here’s how they knocked out an NFC heavyweight:

* Godwin is looking like one of Jason Licht’s best picks in his four years running the draft. Dirk Koetter compares him to a young Vincent Jackson and it seems like all the hype surrounding Godwin in training camp was justified. He makes the tough catches in traffic and he averaged 15.4 yards per reception. He has earned Winston’s trust and big things are in store for the third-round steal out of Penn State.

* The Saints have played solid defense this season, but the Bucs had their way most of the game. Tampa Bay converted 13-of-18 on third down and reeled off 81 snaps. New Orleans defenders were gassed during what Sean Payton described as “an impressive 2-minute drive.”

* Peyton Barber isn’t going to rush for 1,500 yards like vintage Doug Martin, but you can win with him. The guy pushes the pile, doesn’t dance and always seems to fall forward. If he turns out to be another Earnest Graham, so be it. Doug Martin? Three carries for minus-3 yards. Let’s wish him well with his next team.

* Winston gouged the Saints for 363 yards, but he threw some ill-advised balls that ended up in the wrong hands. His second pick was a floater intended for Barber and his third interception was a poor decision. The face of the franchise has so much promise, but he’s not quite there yet.

* Another week and another long kickoff return for a touchdown against the Bucs. That’s simply unacceptable at a high school level. Rookie Alvin Kamara went 106 yards and wasn’t touched … not even close. Kamara is a special rookie, but that’s no excuse for another special teams meltdown.

* Patrick Murray provided an upgrade at kicker, but he should face some serious competition in training camp. Murray made only 2-of-5 FG tries from the 50 or beyond and his errant extra-point attempt on Sunday could have been disastrous.

* Give it up for Kwon Alexander, the heart and soul of Mike Smith’s defense. Alexander led all players with 11 stops and he made a critical first hit against Will Lutz on a fake FG try, stopping him one yard short of a first down late in the opening half.

* Clinton McDonald’s fifth sack of the season forced a punt that gave Winston one more chance to work some magic. It was an effort sack by McDonald, who never gave up on the play as Drew Brees was dropped for only the 20th time all year. Despite sharing time with Chris Baker, McDonald finished second on the Bucs, one sack behind Gerald McCoy.

* In case you haven’t noticed, Koetter’s offense finished the year on a high note. Tampa Bay topped the 17-point mark only four times in the first nine games. The Bucs scored at least 19 points in each of the final seven games, helped by a more balanced attack.

* The decision to keep Koetter for a third season looks smarter after Sunday’s upset. The Bucs beat a highly motivated New Orleans team, outplaying the favored Saints by a wide margin. One win doesn’t remove the stench of a 5-11 season, but Buc fans feel a little better about this franchise after a lost decade.

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

  1. BrianBucs Says:

    The offense looks better and runs smoother with Godwin wide instead of Jackson

  2. FR Says:

    Damn we win 1 game and we forget everything else. We will be crying this same song next season.

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    I think Barber is more like another Mike James, just another Mike James that fumbles a lot. I really liked Mike James and thought he could have a long NFL career but he kept getting hurt, so that comparison isn’t really an insult – other than the fumbling part.

    Anywho if the Bucs go into next year with Barber firmly in place as the starter… ugh. He certainly deserves a spot on the team, but I don’t believe he’s a 16-game starter. He’s a basic north/south runner with some good power – but his average plummeted once he got the lead job and he was no longer a chance of pace back. Not saying you need to draft someone highly, but a FA signing who has been a starter should be on the shopping list, and if Barber turns out to be an every week guy then fantastic.

  4. Buc believer Says:

    Wow one meaningless win and everyone is falling over themselves to congratulate this team…, what the puck ever!!! I have had enough of this season and this crappy team.

  5. Waterboy Says:

    I agree the offense does look better with Godwin and Evans. Godwin is a more precise route runner than Jackson and will make contested catches. Hump has also stepped up his game and seems much more in sync with Winston this year.

  6. Season Is Over Says:

    America’s Present Laughingstock, Investigated, Losing, Fumbling, Captain of Immaturity and Sportsmanship, Only Seen in Local Markets, Backed into Pro Bowler Because Three Others Backed Out and Never Returned, Rarely Hits a Receiver In Stride, Prayer Throwing, Peyton Manning or Dan Marino this week, W eating, Mr. Magoo aka Jameis Winston is a national embarrassment. The Bucs are one of the worst ran organizations in the league with zero accountability. Dirk “We were done by Halloween” Koetter did nothing to show good sportsmanship by turning a blind eye to all situations this year. This will not be forgotten.

    The fans and media are so desperate they cheer for pointless wins from a 5-11 team on a decade-long run of futility. Momentum going into next year? How many times have we been fed that nonsense? The enabling media hyping these perennial losers only feed the inexorable losing. I would have thought they would have figured that out by now.

  7. Waterboy Says:

    It was a meaningless win in terms of making the playoffs but the Saints were fighting for a division title and a home wildcard game so it was a meaningful win. BTW it only dropped them from drafting 5 to 7 so well worth it.

  8. Rod Munch Says:

    Some other stats… the Bucs were last in the NFL in punt attempts – but also they’re tied for last in 4th down attempts. What an odd number… and I know the Winston haters will be quick to say it’s all the turnovers. Nope, the Bucs were +1 in the turnover department.

    I’m guessing that stat I made up, that the Bucs lead the NFL in punting from the opponents 40, that might actually be true since the Bucs didn’t punt much, yet didn’t score many points and weren’t even that bad at turning the ball over (they’re middle of the pack). So in my theory the Bucs move the ball to the opponents 40, then Dirk punts, so you use up clock, get yards, but no points. Typical Dirk.

  9. Waterboy Says:

    Only 1 team wins the Superbowl each season so unless you’re that team you can say all wins are pointless that season. Either you’re the champ or you’re 1 of the other 31 teams that didn’t.

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    Yeah Waterboy, it’s why the season means the same to say a Steelers fan (they will of course lose at NE) and a Browns fan, right? LOL! Cut it out with the cliches, they’re so obnoxious.

  11. Waterboy Says:

    Yep just like the Falcons fans last year. They were able to hold on to hope longer than other team’s fans but in the end they were heart broken like everyone else.

  12. Waterboy Says:

    Only difference is Steelers fans are allowed to hold on to hope longer than Browns fans each season.

  13. Blackmagic00 Says:

    Wow. Cry a phuk!ng river losers. This fan base sucks out loud!

  14. Blackmagic00 Says:

    Go bucs!!!!! Next year will be much better!!!!!!!!!!

  15. James Walker Says:

    I Just want to remind everyone that only one team a year is remembered, the team that wins the Superbowl. If you 0-16 or 16-0 if you are not a Superbowl winner it is all the same in the history books. Loser.

  16. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Thank you Blackmagic! This was not a meaningless win. It means they still want to win. We get rid of the loser mentalities, get more competent coaching and reduce all the mistakes the heart of this team going forward was shown today. The Saints needed/ wanted this win and our Bucs took it away from them!

    FR and so called Buc believer please go root for another team. True fans are happy when their team wins no matter the record or circumstances. Like some morons up here cry about when they whine about Jameis is all that matters are wins! Since you’re so salty about us happy with this win the Bucs don’t want you as fans.

  17. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    Jameis haters = flat earthers

  18. Joe Says:

    Jameis haters = flat earthers


  19. Buc believer Says:

    @David….. I put my money on the TABLE every year by buying season tickets since 1999! How about you?? If you say you do PM me your seat location and I will do the same so we can see who is telling the truth. I KNOW i will be in my seat!

  20. IsrBuc Says:

    Only someone who says “one bad season” can claim the narrative was changed by one drive/play.

  21. Nick Says:

    some of you, like FR, and “Season is Over”, a nice name probably made up after “o3Jameis_MVP” no longer was cool, don’t get the BIG PICTURE. I wonder if they watched the games this season, or payed attention to the QB himself.. calling him immature because he’s not acting like a seasoned veteran before his 24th birthday. e also not aware that during that time Winston amassed more Touchdowns than DAN MARINO and more yards than all but a few. Only a biased person would not see the positive potential in Jameis Winston.