Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Panthers

December 2nd, 2018


There’s no asterisk on this one.

This wasn’t the Browns or the 49ers coming to town, bad teams ready to roll over on the road. This time, it was a Panthers team saddled with a 3-game losing streak, fighting for their Wild Card lives.

And guess what? The Bucs outplayed them en route to Tampa Bay’s most impressive effort since a Week 2 victory against the Eagles.

Once again, complementary football was on display as Jameis Winston turned in another clean sheet. The Bucs were the more aggressive team — and Cam Newton has the bruises to prove it.

Tampa Bay started fast and never trailed in emerging from the NFC South cellar. In improving to 4-2 at home, the Bucs pulled within one game of the reeling Panthers as their attention turns to Drew Brees and the Saints.

Even Dirk Koetter allowed himself a smile, albeit a brief one, on the way to the post-game locker room. That kind of says it all for a franchise that hasn’t had a lot to smile about during this lost decade.

Here’s how the Bucs beat up on Carolina and advanced to the fringes of the NFC Wild Card chase:

* Lavonte David made a loud return after missing two games with a knee injury, leading all tacklers with 12 stops and shaking up Cam Newton with a big-time sack on the final play of the opening quarter. On days like this, we are reminded that David has it in him to be one of the league’s premier 4-3 outside linebackers.

* Winston is no speedster, but he has outstanding pocket presence and quick feet. He continually buys himself time and he scampered for 48 yards on five carries, outgaining Newton on the ground. Without Winston, the Bucs would have averaged only 2.3 yards per rushing attempt.

* Tampa Bay’s third-down defense has enjoyed a stellar two weeks. The 49ers converted only 1-of-8 and on Sunday, the Panthers were 1-for-5 through three quarters before finishing 3-for-8. The difference? A more aggressive mindset instilled by Mark Duffner that forces quicker decisions by opposing quarterbacks.

* The Bucs had an opportunity to build a 10-point lead early in the second quarter when officials ruled Peyton Barber fumbled at the goal-line. Replays from various angles appeared to show Barber extended the ball across the plane for a TD before losing possession. Poor job by the zebras, but good job by the Bucs overcoming the adversity.

* Even before the opening quarter was in the books, I saw Jason Pierre-Paul lined up at three different positions — defensive tackle, left end and right end. That’s smart football by Duffner and defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, capitalizing on the big man’s versatility. Why let Carolina’s offensive front know where JPP will start his engines from?

* Mike McCarthy was asked to turn in his key card Sunday and Ron Rivera may not be far behind. The Panthers haven’t been the same since improving to 6-2 by beating the Bucs 42-28 in Charlotte. With two games remaining against New Orleans, Carolina could end up falling short of a postseason berth. Let’s remember that new owner David Tepper has no history with Rivera.

* The Duffner effect wasn’t evident in the first three games after he replaced Mike Smith, but the Bucs have allowed an average of 20 points in the past month. In the same span, this defense has been ravaged with injuries to the back 7. A secondary that lacks experience is suddenly teeming with youthful enthusiasm.

* As if the Bucs needed another reason to move on from DeSean Jackson in 2019, we witnessed fresh evidence that Chris Godwin is an emerging star. Godwin caught 5 of the 6 passes sent his way for 101 yards, including a 13-yard TD reception on Winston’s play of the day.

* Tampa Bay’s passing game has the kind of enviable balance coordinators dream about. Godwin, Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and O.J. Howard already have 5 TD catches apiece while Jackson and Cameron Brate have scored four times on receptions. Few teams have done a better job spreading the ball around.

* The crowd was disappointing, especially when you consider the Bucs gave away boatloads of tickets for this game, but Tampa Bay’s defense continues to shine at home. This home-away disparity is mind-boggling: Buc opponents average only 19 points at Raymond James Stadium as opposed to 40 points when Tampa Bay is the visiting team. Let’s see what happens to those numbers when Mr. Brees struts into town, seeking revenge for that Week 1 shocker.

Now in his 40th year covering the NFL, Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in the Tampa Bay area. He scored a full-time seat at world headquarters in July of 2016, and Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. His  award-winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Also a TV star, Ira is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday NFL show at 10:30 a.m. “The Sage” enjoys beet salads, Riesling, tennis, Bette Midler, Chiefs victories and needling Joe. …Don’t forget to WATCH IRA AND DERRICK BROOKS on the new TAMPA TWO show from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.

38 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Panthers”

  1. Buc believer Says:

    Like Ira said “as if the Bucs need another reason to move on from Desean Jackson Chris Godwin is emerging as a star” one could also why hasn’t Licht been fired yet for not trading Desean?? Now if he gets cut we have NOTHING!! Hell even a 6th rounder would have been better than nothing!

  2. JimmyJack Says:

    After the blowouts early in the season I decided not to waste my time or money this season.

    So I guess I’m part of that problem. If they win next week I’ll go to the Atlanta game. Otherwise I’d rather get a pole for Xmas. More entertaining.

  3. JimmyJack Says:

    Believer……Mike Evans was shut down today and Godwin prooved how valuable he truely is……….much more valuable the DJ

  4. Buc believer Says:

    Jimmy I TOTALLY agree!! I’m saying in my opinion DJax will get cut next year because he is such a cancer and then we have NOTHING for him. SOMETHING is better than nothing.

  5. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    Adams > Derwin James

  6. Waterboy Says:

    Put MeJax on IR and trade him after the season.

  7. Buc believer Says:

    Waterboy NO ONE would rake him because it is his last year under the contract .

  8. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    I will tell you what happen when Brezz comes to town.

    1. Mimic Dallas D
    2. Blitz the Big Mother Fing Stick Out of Brezz
    3. Beat His azz with said stick
    4. Hit him one more time with that stick for safe meassure!!!


  9. JimmyJack Says:

    Believer……The biggest mistake made this year was not trading D-Jax when he wanted out.

    Very unclear what the plan was but whatever it was obvisous lying has been a utter failure.

  10. JimmyJack Says:

    Djax was part of the #1 offense and cryed.

    Get over yourself dude. If you can’t go get yours in a #1 passing attack then maybe it’s a You problem. They still #1 without you so we obvisous don’t need you nor do we rely on you in any way.

  11. JimmyJack Says:

    Now Godwin……..that’s a guy we rely on. That’s a guy who shows up when needed. Their are undrafted players who mean more to this offense then the $10,000,000 man.

  12. Buc believer Says:

    Jimmy… sounds like we are thinking the same! Djax should have been traded! Sometimes these GMs out think themselves.

  13. Waterboy Says:

    @Buc believer

    It’s happened quite a few times. Brandin Cooks was just traded to the Rams during the last year of his contract, the same with Garapolo and Peters. If I’m not mistaking Alex Smith was also traded to KC for a 2nd rd pick with only 1 yr remaining on his contract.

  14. PSLBob Says:

    Next up, an even wilder cat than the panther we beat today. The Saints were stymied by Dallas on Thursday night and have that bitter taste in their mouths. On top of that, they’re looking to revenge their opening season loss to the Bucs. They are going to come into RayJay ready to roll. If the Bucs are able to pull this one out, I’ll believe that they have truly turned the corner.

  15. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:


    How do we not have an article about Tampa ICON…….

    Wait for It……….

    Wait For It………

    Ok GO!!!!!!!!

    How do we not have an article about Tampa ICON……..




  16. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:




    Can I get a True Dat Joe….

    The Secret Weapon Does Not Flip Flop!!!!


  17. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:


    JL for GM 2019


  18. Rod Munch Says:

    I wasn’t given any tickets, not that I’d take handouts unless they were in the club seat area. But in any case when you lose and lose and lose and you have no shot at the playoffs, and a couple of “cheap” seats will easily set you back triple digits, I can see why people aren’t rushing to be out there. Plus the Bucs got hosed by the idiot weatherman who told us it would be a bad weather day.

    Anywho while I grew up watching the Bucs and have been to close to a 100 games over the years, I’m not paying over $500 for a couple of club seats to see a game against the Panthers when it doesn’t matter. I’ll sit at home and watch it in my theater room.

  19. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    With Monte Kiffen in the house last week againts the 49ers….

    Bucs start an epic run of D and turnovers.

    JPP gets his 10 sack since Kiffen last roamed the Side Lines…

  20. JimmyJack Says:

    LOL Free The Weapon………Not losing a lockerroom is not a flattering standard……….That being said I’ll take Dirk 2019 because that means 3-1 finish minimum……Right?

  21. JimmyJack Says:

    Wasn’t the 49ers game also the end of our place kicking curse?

  22. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    My bad Munch…

    All employees got free tickets this week… I should have put them up for grabs on this site…

    HEY JOE!!!!

    So it looks like this will be an annual ticket event… Maybe consider a fan to fan sharing ticket campaign next year… Would have been cool to give my tickets to some real diwhards…

    I mean if they come on this site they gotta be some real diehards to read and post all these stinky kahhh kahhh post….

    Next year…


  23. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    Game before Jimmy…

    But yeah… The Curses of Gruden have lifted….

    Now we have to get rid of the Curse of Dungy…


    Continuity will experience Failure…

    Failure is the greatest teacher of MANKIND

  24. JimmyJack Says:

    The game before was the Giants game and if I remember right we didn’t kick a FG in that game.

    The curse not officially broken til a FG made!!!!!

    Kiffen domehow fixed the franchise…….again. I bet he touched Winston on his shoulder.

  25. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Buc Believer, Jackson wasn’t traded because Licht was trying to save his job. However, you’d think he gave more faith in Evans, Godwin, Hump, Watson, and now Bobo.

  26. JimmyJack Says:

    Great point Chris. It’s also a great example of why running a team with your Front Office on the hotseat is self destructive.

  27. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:


    Duffner and Monte are birds of a feather. Consider they anointing DONE!!!

    Authors Note: Same TYPE of Bird identified by theyre feathers but different?!?! (Just incase you dont get that analogy?!?!)

  28. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    *”Birds of a feather; Flock Together”

  29. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    *the anointing Done

  30. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    Im gonna go out on this one…

    How much better would we be with OJ on offence?

    BOBO (Jesus) Wilson fights for ball in the EndZone on a bomb and gets a cheap flag…

    DJax could learn a lesson here!!!

    Oh an Barber adds the Balance regardless of Numbers!!! ( He should of had 2 TWO touchdowns!)

    And if you really want to know the truth….

    KOTTER Leveled Up…. He is learning how to EAT W’s with this team!!!

    Good Night Yall


    Cant wait for 6 am fo go to work and throw my balls around like WINSTON!!!!


  31. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Speaking of weak attendance…did anybody see the Raiders game? The entire upper deck was simply shut down and empty. It looked like a USF Bulls game.

    And Joe Maddon made a great point about any new Ray’s stadium. It should not hold over 30,000. Empty seats are a real bummer and honestly given this market and MLB’s lopsided competition I don’t believe we could fill 30,000 with any regularity.

    MLB can bite me. Why should I act like we’re major league when we’re really just at the top of Triple A in talent level. When we get great players of course they are gone the minute their contract is up. And so we get the treat of watching this year’s Cy Young winner secure in the knowledge that he’ll be gone as soon as his contract is up.

  32. martinii Says:

    Thanks Ira, good read. We are in the meat of the season and a lot of factors are in play. Injuries, coaching changes, a lot of film, rule changes, and even the weather is becoming a factor. Some teams are thinking draft, while others are desperately holding on to playoff hopes. Every fan becomes an expert and “Any given Sunday,” rises to the top of multiple axioms we use to describe this amazing phenomena called football.

  33. Wausa Says:

    Bucs need to extend Winston after the season
    They can get him for a lot less than if they wait until the end of next year

  34. On the rise Says:

    Fast starts sure help. Never defer the kickoff. Put your strengh on the field first. Take the ball and set the tone by scoring. Worst case, they go 3 & out then punt. End the madness of always having to play catch up.

  35. orlbucfan Says:

    Bucs also beat the refs today. Nothing new there. Barber scored a TD and refs had to help out the Panthers. Shame Panthers still lost. Refs can shove it along with the hideous unis.

  36. Jmarkbuc Says:


    “Bucs need to extend Winston after the season
    They can get him for a lot less than if they wait until the end of next year”

    IMHO everyone needs to tap the brakes…Bucfans are so quick to get hysterical,,in either direction.

    Jameis has had a couple of good games, he hasn’t set the world on fire. 65% completion, 250 yds, 2 tds no pics..

    That’s what you would expect from any decent NFL QB. Let’s not go all Mike Smith and sign him long term for a couple good games..

    JW is still a wait and see, for me.

  37. Brandon Says:

    Buc believer Says:
    December 2nd, 2018 at 9:08 pm
    Jimmy I TOTALLY agree!! I’m saying in my opinion DJax will get cut next year because he is such a cancer and then we have NOTHING for him. SOMETHING is better than nothing

    Not necessarily true. He can be traded in the offseason. He played well enough during the season that he showed he can still help a receiver needy team… also if he is cut under the designation of being a cap casualty, if he is re-signed during the first round of free agency he would be considered a free agent lost and count towards our plus/minus towards getting compensatory draft picks.

    BTW, he makes $11 million a season, nobody is going to break the bank. He MIGHT be worth what he makes. His contract makes him nearly untradeable.


    To ask the Djax haters you guys weren’t saying those things after the Philly game. But because the bucs have a losing record, now he’s a bad guy.