Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints

December 9th, 2018


According to the old clock on the wall, Tampa Bay’s 2018 season effectively ended at approximately 4:15 Sunday afternoon.

That’s when the Saints completed a 25-0 blitz in the second half en route to a 28-14 triumph that left the Bucs out of the playoff chase at 5-8.

By my watch, the season ended an hour earlier, when a reserve quarterback by the name of Taysom Hill smothered a Bryan Anger punt.

Before that mid-third quarter block, the Saints looked dead in the water … and there was plenty of water to go around at soggy Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay’s run defense had been stout and Drew Brees couldn’t find much rhythm as the Bucs nursed a 14-3 advantage.

That’s when Hill burst through the middle — a cardinal sin even in Pop Warner. You could feel the momentum drain from the home team and sense a surge of energy by the visitors.

The Bucs never recovered and now it’s on to Baltimore and Dallas before the season finale against the reeling Falcons, who look like they’ve packed it in for the year.

Here’s how Tampa Bay lost its bearings, and its playoff aspirations after building a 14-3 halftime lead:

* Jameis Winston wasn’t very good, period. He threw a pair of short TD passes to Cameron Brate in the opening half and the Saints applied considerable pressure, but that 71.5 passer rating simply won’t do. In the second half, Winston completed only 6-of-17 for 83 yards. Blame it on poor line play, blame it on the rain, blame it on Rio if you must, but Winston wasn’t good enough Sunday.

* This was also a bad day for the offensive line. Pass protection was spotty as Winston was sacked four times and hit on 10 other occasions. Run-blocking was subpar, as usual. Take away Winston’s 47 yards on scrambles and the Bucs would have averaged 3.2 yards per carry.

* Brate continues to flourish while Winston is under center. This guy knows how to get open and rarely drops a pass. He is Winston’s go-to target in the red zone for good reason and he now leads the Bucs with six touchdowns.

* Adarius Taylor played a nice game for a defense that was worn out by game’s end. Taylor posted six tackles, picked off a Brees pass and demonstrated a physical presence that had to please Mark Duffner.

* The punt block was inexcusable. It turned the game around and you can’t allow a second-year QB to race in virtually untouched. “Both the tackle and the wing set on Alex Okafor and my whole thing was just don’t miss the ball because I got there really early,” Hill said.

* Give the Saints their due. They clinched their second consecutive NFC South title, and this one tested their resilience. They were the dominant club after intermission on both sides of the ball — and on special teams.

* Speaking of special teams, this won’t be a good week for assistant coach Nate Kaczor. Besides the blocked punt, the Bucs missed two FG tries after Cairo Santos entered the game 3-for-3. Santos hit the right upright from 46 yards out and pushed a 40-yard attempt wide right. In a tight game against a division leader, those misses were critical.

* Duffner’s defense has nothing to be ashamed about. The Saints boast a dynamic ground game with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, yet New Orleans had three rushing yards on nine first-half carries. One of the NFL’s best offenses featured a long gain of only 20 yards.

* Michael Thomas is officially a Buc-killer. In Week 1, Thomas grabbed 16 of the 17 passes Brees sent his way for 180 yards. On Sunday, he caught 11 of 13 targets for 98 yards. This guy’s a stud, plain and simple, on pace for 125 receptions this season.

* With three games remaining, all the Bucs have left to play for is their personal pride. They had an opportunity to sweep the Saints and improve to 5-2 at home, but now they must deal with a loss that cuts deeply. “We’re all professionals and we’re paid to do a job,” Demar Dotson said. “Keep your head up and keep competing.” columnist Ira Kaufman is in his 40th year covering the NFL. “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” is also a TV star, seen weekly on the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, and on Bay News 9. Also, Ira goes national every Wednesday at 5 p.m. on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio with iconic host Chris Russo. The Ira Kaufman Podcast pops here every Tuesday and Thursday, and Ira fires away with Derrick Brooks on TAMPA TWO, a production of The Identity Tampa Bay and

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

  1. Season Is Over Says:

    If you close your eyes and forget everything you know he is better than Manning and Marino if you look at the numbers.

  2. Season Is Over Says:

    How was that rushing game, Sage? Are we there yet?

  3. BrianBucs Says:

    Sorry Ira, but a blocked punt does not cause you to get outscored 25-0 in the 2nd half. Being outplayed and outcoached does

  4. Ndog Says:

    I am just amazed that people are blaming Jameis for this game. He out played Brees period. He did not turn the ball over, whereas Brees did twice inside his own 40, and Jameis lead us in rushing while getting beat to a pulp. Meanwhile we missed two FGs had a punt blocked, can’t run at all and could not block any one on the Saints dline. I know people in this town are stupid but when I see It’s write this I just get sick to my stomach cause these mouth breathers read this garbage and think they are right. You should be ashamed It’s.

  5. Season Is Over Says:

    The season is on the line. Winston had the lead going into the second half. The script writes itself. It is a real enigma why people are blaming Winston for the loss today. Just imagine if he had not sank the season before it began.

  6. Destinjohnny Says:

    We need a proper gm

  7. Jim Says:

    Ira, would you sign a $105 million contract for Winston? I didn’t think so…

  8. ElioT Says:

    Jameis outplayed Brees?

    18/38 216 yards 2 TDs & 1 INT


    24/31 201 yards 1 & 1

    Better how?

    I’m not saying this loss was on Winston, but no, he didn’t outplay Brees.

  9. Season Is Over Says:

    When is it our time again?

  10. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Bucs are a 6-10 franchise w a 6-10 QB

  11. Frank Pillow Says:

    Ira, no mention of that impressive sequence where our Buccos ripped off a half dozen penalties in as many plays? Truly impressive stuff and the exact point in the game when the momentum shifted. Sure, Jameis was rattled…the OL was horrid today. Donovan Smith again proved he has no business as a top tier LT.

  12. Waterboy Says:

    Special teams and O- line cost this game. I’d have to go back a rewatch the game but there were way too many 1st and 20’s and 1st and 25’s on drives in the 2nd half along with spotty blocking whenever they weren’t getting penalized.

  13. Waterboy Says:

    Jameis looked like his eyes dropped down to watch for the pass rush the 2nd half because the O- line was getting beat so much.

  14. Mike Johnson Says:

    Say ira, I’m sitting here having my evening medication (scotch on the rocks), and I see one more Win for us. Our Bucs will finish at 6-10. We won’t beat the Ravens or the Cowgirls. I do think we really at Ray Jay and beat the Falcons in the curtain closer..for Dirk. If I were the Glazers, I hope they have already had a sevret meeting with Green Bays Fired HC. He will not stay on the market long. I see about 4 or 5 HC’s being fired so we’d better act swiftly. But..we won’t.

  15. Loyaltotheend Says:

    If you don’t think Jameis played poorly you just aren’t being honest with yourself or he’s probably related to you and gives awesome Xmas gifts

  16. Ndog Says:

    ElioT Says:
    December 9th, 2018 at 7:53 pm
    Jameis outplayed Brees?

    18/38 216 yards 2 TDs & 1 INT


    24/31 201 yards 1 & 1

    Better how?

    I’m not saying this loss was on Winston, but no, he didn’t outplay Brees.

    All I’ve heard is turning the ball over is the be all end all stat for QB’s and Brees had two and Jameis had zero. So all of a sudden now that stat doesn’t matter?

  17. Ndog Says:

    So last week when Brees was getting beat to a pulp and the Saints couldn’t run the ball I guess he sucked right cause they only scored 10 points?

    People you just don’t get it! If you missed 2 FGs, have a punt blocked and commit 10 penalties you are not going to win. This game had nothing to do with the QB regardless of his name.

  18. Season Is Over Says:

    Vegas saw right through the Winston charade. They had it exactly correct again this year.

  19. Not there yet Says:

    People who don’t think we have enough talent on this team are the ones who apparently can’t look at the history of coaching hires since trading for Gruden and accept that coaching matters. Dirk apparently has one job and one job only which is to score points because he sure as hell doesn’t do anything else and he can’t even get that right in critical moments he can’t get his players to step up. Get rid of Koetter and problems are solved

  20. Wausa Says:

    No run game and the worst special teams in the NFL four years running

  21. Loyaltotheend Says:

    Was Jameis the reason they lost? No

    But he didn’t do anything to help them win. Slow decision making holding the ball not throwing it away inaccurate passes and bad ball placement hurt when he needed to elevate his play when his line and special teams failed him

  22. Ndog Says:

    Loyaltotheend Says:
    December 9th, 2018 at 9:09 pm
    Was Jameis the reason they lost? No

    But he didn’t do anything to help them win. Slow decision making holding the ball not throwing it away inaccurate passes and bad ball placement hurt when he needed to elevate his play when his line and special teams failed him

    Other than accounting for all 14 points and leading the team in rushing. Yeah he is such a problem, we gotta get that fixed.

  23. NPRSageBoy Says:

    Let’s be realistic; JayMiss is the fourth best QB in a four team division. He’s nowhere near as good as Brees, Ryan or Newton. In fact, there may be a backup in the NFC South that’s better than him, too.
    Face it, JayMiss is in the bottom quarter of the league below guys like Case Keenum, Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott.
    Let’s hope that the new coach can help him connect the dots.

  24. Loyaltotheend Says:


    Great over reaction

    Instead of seeing his faults you automatically think valid criticism means I want him replaced. If you were at the game you’d have seen all the open guys he missed as he locks into one option and if that guys not open he doesn’t go through the progressions and hit the open guy

    O line didn’t help him I agree but his areas of struggle show he’s not a franchise qb, yet

  25. Ndog Says:

    Loyaltotheend Says:
    December 9th, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Great over reaction

    Instead of seeing his faults you automatically think valid criticism means I want him replaced. If you were at the game you’d have seen all the open guys he missed as he locks into one option and if that guys not open he doesn’t go through the progressions and hit the open guy

    O line didn’t help him I agree but his areas of struggle show he’s not a franchise qb, yet

    Ok smart guy problem is I was at the game like I always am. Also it doesn’t matter if people are open if your running for your life. But I guess that’s his fault as well right?

    All but one high throw today was a result of pressure right in his face and that’s what happens when your oline is weak and they know we’re going to throw every play.

  26. BrianBucs Says:

    Even though the O – Line looked bad today, Winston held the ball too long because he was confused by coverages and made them look worse

  27. Loyaltotheend Says:


    There you go assuming…let’s use logic and reason like educated fans. Why would it be his fault if the blocking sucks? Well QBs in year 4 should be able to audible when they recognize coverages. Yet Jameis doesn’t do this regularly. If he made better decisions he could audible to plays with different route combos quicker decisions also help a struggling line.

    Either Dirk doesn’t trust Jameis to audible or Jameis has so much confidence that he feels every play is gonna work

    Either way their are options to help a bad line but neither the QB nor coaches used those options

  28. westernbuc Says:

    Saints played dirty. They played well past the whistle on every run. Adam Humphries had the catch of the year with the shot that knocked his helmet clean off. Extend him please

  29. Clembo83 Says:

    This is sooo dumb – Jameis wasn’t great but his O Line contributed to it – also the coaching is lousy- there is no change of plan when things don’t work and Koetter is incapable of making difficult decisions to fire guys who aren’t coaching well. On another note these bash Jameis moan about everything fans the bucs seem not to realise if this team doesn’t start getting fans behind the team that the team may leave to find better ones.

  30. D1QB Says:


    If you’re looking at today’s game, Winston did audible and did change protection.
    I don’t know how many, but I recall 5 audibles and 3 protection adj.

    You’re right about their ability to help the line, but to do so the proper call must be made. I know that a few were the exact opposite direction for the situation. Results , you can imagine.

    (A note, The Pirate ship has a 100 holes that are leaking and ship is sinking. NDog and you are fixated on a single hole. Meanwhile, 99 others are looking just as bad and a few holes is all that’s needed to sink the ship.)

  31. FairMinded Says:

    I haven’t defended Jameis this season at all but this game isn’t on him. Koetter seems to have taken over playcalling again and the results show. If guys aren’t open…ever…it’s play design and predictability of the play calling. What is the QB supposed to do when he gets almost no time to throw plus no one is open? Chuck it up and get picked off? Koetter didn’t want Monken to outshine him and it almost cost us the last game and definitely cost us this one.

  32. FairMinded Says:

    Also in defense of Jameis – Godwin had 10 targets with one reception. He had at least one big drop and a fumble (we recovered) on the one reception. Not a good day at all for the supposed No. 2 receiver.

  33. Bucsfanman Says:

    LOL! As we continue to excuse or beat up the QB. The most glaring takeaway from this game is that we got out-coached…….AGAIN!
    You can’t kick FGs against the Saints, PERIOD! AND, if your o-line is struggling, you might try some shorter routes if you’re going to keep hurling the rock.

  34. Ed Says:

    Once again I ask why to the Bucs not:

    Run slants and crossing routes
    Run screens and draws
    Run read option and have designed roll out passes
    Quarterback draws as Winston has proven he can run

    The passing game is way too simple, the design of these plays is very basic and how many times this season have we seen second half adjustments by defensive quarterbacks to take away our one great receiver, Mike Evans.

    The Bucs really need to update their playbook and get the young physical linemen you need in the NFL to be competitive. Dotson and Smith have both played this season like average to below average linemen.

    And by the way, how about Michael Bennett vs Cowboys yesterday, 5 years later he still makes Pro Bowl plays while McCoy posts 0 tackle games.

  35. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Blame it on Rio? Let’s don’t start any inappropriate relationships rumors LOL

  36. MHBuc25 Says:

    The “Joe Bucs Fan” is making the city look bad. Fortunately we have the TB Lightning and the Rays fan to raise the collective IQ. In 2013 and 2014 not a soul on this site or a writer on this site blamed the OL, it was the QB then. Now it’s the OL huh? Laughable. Peace be with you.
    Why make things up? Joe wrote over and over again about how bad the offensive line was in 2014. The O’neil Cousins/Jamon Meredith decisions were common chatter, and then Logan Mankins and his barbecue excuse, along with signing Evan Smith when you wanted to be a run-first team. And Joe wrote plenty about the inexcusable trading of Jeremy Zuttah and the release of Donald Penn in favor of worthless Anthony Collins. –Joe

  37. donuts Says:

    This one is on the OL and coaching. The ST play was Sean Payton or one of his film minions noticing bad alignment in Buc all-22 film.

    Montana could not do anything with the amount of pressure Winston was under in the 2nd half and that falls squarely on the OL. This OL stinks. I see one guy (Marpet) who is out of position that is playing average. Jensen plays post whistle and is not playing steller before the whistle. I’ve always said they were average but after this season they simply stink and are a big reason for the Ls. Early on the Ls were on DEF scheme with Mike Smith running the same D for 10 years + and never making a single change.

    Since Koetter took back play calling, Bucs have not scored as easily or as much. Koetter should be fired for letting his ego get best of him with both Smith issue (not firing in off season) and play calling fiasco. The offense hums under Monken.