Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Falcons

November 24th, 2019

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Call it complementary football if you wish. Yes, the offense and defense of the Bucs meshed together Sunday to generate yet another road win against a division foe.

But in my mind, the Bucs played so well and so hard, that effort should be lauded and savored. Let’s call that complimentary football.

Let’s also call it Tampa Bay’s most impressive road win in three years, dating back to a 19-17 victory at Arrowhead against the Chiefs, who had been 7-2.

The Falcons won’t make the playoffs this season and Dan Quinn could be toast in five weeks, but Atlanta had been playing good football, knocking off the Saints and Panthers on the road.

In a matchup that could have landed the Bucs back in familiar surroundings, the NFC South basement, Tampa Bay looked better prepared and more hungry. In the process, the Bucs gave their suffering fans a glimpse at how successful they can be when they play smart, physical football.

Jameis Winston shook off early travails and kept finding Chris Godwin — who will soon be a very rich young man. The ground game was effective and the protection was outstanding, but I’m giving the collective game ball to a defense that hounded Matt Ryan relentlessly and contested every pass.

Here’s how the Bucs flew the coop with a resounding victory against the Dirty Birds:

* This defense is developing into a stout unit in the red zone, where an early giveaway by Winston resulted in a a FG instead of a touchdown. That set the tone for the afternoon, letting Ryan and Dirk Koetter know they were in for a long day. A week ago, two long first-quarter New Orleans drives stalled in the red zone, creating some momentum before O.J. Howard’s gaffe led to a quick 13-0 advantage.

* Devin White registered two of Tampa Bay’s six sacks and the young man from LSU is coming on strong. White is feeling good and playing fast, adding 8 tackles, including two for loss. He is still feeling his way in pass coverage, but White is developing into the disruptive force Todd Bowles envisioned when he endorsed White as a top prospect.

* What can you say about Godwin at this point, except to acknowledge that he is on track for a big payday? Hey, that’s the price of doing business in the NFL. If the Bucs want to retain Godwin past his rookie contract, and they most certainly do, they will have to pony up the cash. I can already hear the chants from Buc Nation: pay the man. I second that emotion.

* Just when Buc fans were starting to applaud Matt Gay for a solid rookie season, he misses two extra points and has another PAT blocked. That makes five PAT tries this season that went awry. Without doubt, Gay has a big-league leg. What he needs is more focus.

* The scoreboard says the Falcons scored 22 points, but I’m not buying it. Atlanta’s garbage-time TD shouldn’t diminish what this pass defense just put on tape. Helped by constant pressure against Ryan, this young secondary was rarely caught out of position. Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean and crew took turns frustrating a very good WR tandem. The Bucs were around the ball all day and the only lament for Bruce Arians was “We dropped five interceptions right in our hands.”

* Winston didn’t allow two early picks to ruin his day. His guardians up front did their job to give him time to find his man time and again. The usual suspect was Godwin, who caught 7 of the 8 passes sent his way for 184 yards and two TDs. Winston also made key plays with his feet, contributing to a 133-yard day on the ground for the visitors.

* After going 1-7 on the road in each of the past two seasons, Tampa Bay is suddenly 3-3 away from home, with winnable games remaining at Jacksonville and at Detroit. If Arians finishes 5-3 on the road, he’ll have something tangible to build on in what promises to be an intriguing offseason.

* Vita Vea is making it very difficult for his remaining skeptics to carp about passing up Derwin James. This guy is a freak athlete – and he is proving it every week. Sunday’s resume included a sack and a scoring catch that undoubtedly made Warren Sapp proud. He’ll never be a go-to guy for a sound bite, but No. 50 is making a lot of noise on the football field.

* Winston was under siege last week against the Saints, but his offensive line offered sound protection against an Atlanta pass rush that was coming off two impressive efforts. While Ryan was running for his life, Winston enjoyed a comfortable pocket. And when the Falcons applied some pressure, Winston made smart decisions, either throwing the ball away or running for first downs.

* A 4-7 record isn’t anything to be proud of, but the Bucs just proved they haven’t checked out. That’s a big deal. We’ve seen Tampa Bay teams in recent years who looked like they were going through the motions once the leaves begin to fall. On Sunday, in a game that didn’t cause much of a ripple in the overall NFL landscape, Tampa Bay played with energy, emotion and purpose. For Buc fans desperate for a reason to believe, it was a glorious 3-hour reprieve from their concerns.

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Ira Kaufman launched his professional NFL coverage in 1979, back when Earl Campbell was the toast of the league and Lee Roy Selmon was defensive player of the year. After a lifetime at The Tampa Tribune, “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” joined in July of 2016. His twice-weekly podcast and three columns per week appear here year-round and are presented by Bill Currie Ford. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter is a regular on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio and a part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, in addition to his other appearances. You can hang out with Ira during every Bucs road games at Buffalo Wild Wings. His schedule is linked here.

34 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Falcons”

  1. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    Godwin is a beast.

  2. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Firm and fair…I vote Kaufman in 2020.

  3. 813bucboi Says:

    Great win….

    That’ll keep realist in the closet for a week….


  4. Miller5252 Says:

    As always another great read. Simple, honest and the truth. Great article Ira!

  5. BucAllNight Says:

    Lets keep STACKIN em Fellas!!

  6. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Vita’s eyes got so big!

  7. DB55 Says:

    What can you say about Godwin at this point, except to acknowledge that he is on track for a big payday?
    For being the third best WR in the league? Agreed!

    So what that say about the #1 quarterback in the league, according to the NFL leader board, certainly the same place Godwin will be pointing to when its time to negotiate?

    #LetHimWalk you can’t afford JayMiss WinsNot

  8. DB55 Says:

    I say you let him walk, you need all the money you can get to sign bum free agents and worthless 1st rounders. #Itsabucslife

  9. MadMax Says:

    My Guys, Big V and D. White showing out!!!!!!

    Wheres that poster who dogged me for being proud I promoted them so much before we drafted them? Yeah, pound sand dude!!! They’re showing why they were drafted in the first!!!!

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    So much for “playing for the draft”…….this feels better…….screw the pick….win more games……
    Let’s take a winning culture into next year.

  11. MadMax Says:

    Big Derrick Brown or Isaiah Simmons is coming next in my promoting…according to where we are picking…probably around 7-10.

  12. Sport Says:

    Ira – extremely well written article.

    Damn was today fun and enjoyable!

    Hoping todays effort and result starts become the new normal.

    Go Bucs!

    In BA I Trust!

  13. Im tired and 87 is right Says:

    All of us fans just want our team to WIN! WIN some
    more and keep WINNING! We do not want our team to be the doormat of the NFL anymore. Bucs when you go out on the field remember all of us are a part of you. We are the underdogs that came up from beneath to concur with passion and grit. Never give up. Keep pounding the rock! Go Bucs!

  14. Waterboy Says:

    Vita also had those 2 batted passes 1 of which should’ve been intercepted by Suh. Big man is beast.

  15. MadMax Says:


  16. Waterboy Says:

    Don’t forget Shaq Barrett either he was harassing Ryan all day.

  17. DB55 Says:

    Ira, probably just a oversight by you, I’m sure you meant to mention that JayMiss ATM WinsNot is second in TDs behind Russell Wilson and has 1000 more pass yards than Wilson, the leading league mvp in some circles.

  18. MadMax Says:

    If Barret will be affordable, high affordable though, we def need to bring him back….especially now that we’re out of the hunt for drafting Chase.

  19. BUC CHEEKS Says:

    In the words of KENNY MOFO POWERS episode 1 of EASTBOUND AND DOWN… “FINALLY MUTHAF***ER”!!!!

  20. spicoli Says:

    I hear that Alex Smith is on the market next season…

  21. BrianBucs Says:

    Can’t believe that Atlanta got so bad so quickly. Buy hey, wins around here have been so scarce for years that we will take what we can get.
    I would like to say a big Congratulations to Winston for committing his 100th turnover today in less than 5 seasons.

  22. dmatt Says:

    Let’s be done with OJ Howard n trade him for whatever we can get for him now. This guy is a worthless 1st round pick. For the second week in a row he’s proven to me he’s passive as a blocker n when the balls in his hand. I believe he’s afraid of contact. Can’t see him sacrificing to get a half yard when the game is on the line.

  23. #1bucfan Says:

    If the defense plays the way they did in every game it doesn’t matter how many times Winston will give the ball away he moves the ball an scores with ease wen the offense is clicking.

  24. TampaTown Says:

    Thank you Ira for continuing to pick the Bucs to lose and bringing us good luck! Remember you promised to pick them to lose the rest of the season. Don’t jinx us again please!

  25. SappAttack Says:

    We should be 5-6. BA and staff are doing their job, the team is learning how to win and what i takes on all three phases. A lot of work to do, but we should improve upon last year’s record and that’s the goal every season, right?

  26. Christos Says:

    Good solid performance, one of the best defensive games the last 3 years. I am a bucs fan since 1998 and i am from Greece i was able to see the bucs first time in London this year. I watch all the games and follow many media outlets including joe and reading many articles and comments but i never post.
    As i am watching you all from afar i just want to say something. Dont overreact from a bad game or for a good game you got to look the complete picture in my opinion. As a fellow fan mentions above, yes Winston is 2nd behind Wilson in TDs and has more yards but and is a big BUT he has 20+ more turnovers you cant compare him to Wilson and you cant look at only a couple of stats to make a point. Winston is inconsistent, i dont see him making progress in limiting turnovers and is in his 5th year. He should have been better by now

  27. Easy Says:

    This Falcons defense doesn’t have the pass rush like the Saints defense does. Winston had a nice bounce back from the early INTs but he still hasnt proved hes a legit 100 Million dollar quarterback.

  28. orlbucfan Says:

    I notice that the Licht haters have backed off. Wonder why? Who was the GM who signed VV, Brate, Rojo, LVD (yes, him), Whitehead, Dean, White, Hump (unfortunately now with TN and wasted there), Kwonster (injured but going to the playoffs with the 49ers), our punter who is a great kickoff man, Evans, Godwin, etc., etc. Licht brought in Bowles who is building another great Bucs defense, Arians (jury’s still out on him), etc. I am sick of the idiots on here badmouthing Licht. He will make sure Ungodly is rewarded. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  29. orlbucfan Says:

    Licht also signed JW the enigma, and Kyle Griffin who Arians won’t let play (cos he’s stupid).

  30. Kenny Says:

    Jesus Christ guys… The Bucs just beat a 3-7 football team… WTF?

    Why are you guys … ALL of you guys…. Talking like we just beat the Ravens on the road?

    We beat Atlanta… Again, they are 3-7…

    Relax. We’re still picking #8 in the draft…

    Calm down.

    Are we really this used to losing… So used to losing that, when we win, its like we just won a playoff game?

  31. Jmarkbuc Says:


    JLicht is not a good GM. You’re a one man band on that subject.

  32. diggler Says:

    In 1996 bucs when to San Diego and everything clicked. It would be a different team for years to come. I got a feeling yesterday was a turning point. Sign Shaq NOW!!!

  33. firethecannons Says:

    I am thinking we may need to resign everybody on defense–is that even possible? Perhaps trade OJ? or Cam Brate or both? the only two that I can see that are tradeable and expendable. Beef up o-line in draft and beef up secondary in FA.

  34. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    Vita Vea still has issues at home. He’s a dome and cold weather player. He needs to focus on his ability to handle humidity.