Sit Back And Enjoy The Show

December 13th, 2019

Ira’s award-winning column pops three times a week. Click through here to shop the great end-of-year deals at


There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.

For what it’s worth, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have themselves quite an offense. In case you haven’t noticed, this team scores points – lots of ’em.

Since the inaugural 1976 season, this franchise has not featured a Top 5 scoring offense. Ever. The best showing came in 2000, when Warrick Dunn ran for 1,133 yards and Warren Sapp set a club record with 16.5 sacks.

That team ranked No. 6 in scoring with an average of 24.3 points per game. Despite a pedestrian ground attack, this current edition averages 29.1 points and ranks third, led by dazzling red-zone efficiency since that Week 3 collapse against the Giants.

Eye-opening times for Byron Leftwich, writes Ira Kaufman.

In the past 10 games, Tampa Bay has scored touchdowns on 28 of 38 ventures into the red zone. That’s a 74 percent success rate and all you need to know is Tennessee’s overall 73 percent TD clip currently ranks No. 1.

When the field constricts and the going gets tough, the Bucs are walking out with seven points instead of settling for three.

Need proof?

Matt Gay attempted 11 field goals in the first four games. In the past nine games, he has stood over only 16 FG tries.

“Well, that was a major emphasis,” Bruce Arians says of Tampa Bay’s effectiveness inside the 20. “When I looked at the team last year, they gained a ton of yards, but not a lot of points because of red-zone inefficiency. So, we spent a lot of time in the red zone, a lot of walk-throughs, a lot of extra time because it is so valuable.

“When you’re scoring touchdowns and they’re kicking field goals, that’s usually the deciding factor in the game. Jameis has played well and we’ve run the ball much better down there than we did last year.”

Buc fans aren’t exactly used to prolific offense.

In the glory days, Sapp and Derrick Brooks would ask for 17 points, figuring a marauding defense would take care of the rest. It usually did.

But things have flipped here in Tampa. Now Winston and company are telling Todd Bowles to hold the other team to 24 points and we’ll take our chances. The only teams ahead of the Bucs in the scoring race are the Ravens and the 49ers. By some crazy coincidence, those clubs also rank 1-2 in rushing yards, where Tampa Bay stands a wobbly 24th.

Baltimore and San Francisco have also combined for nine runs of at least 40 yards. After 13 games and 338 carries, the Bucs are still looking out for No. 1, so chunk yards remain a major concern in the ground game.

What’s even more startling is Tampa Bay’s prolific scoring rate, despite a minus-10 turnover ratio and an NFL-high 32 giveaways.

Of the eight teams buried at the bottom of the NFL turnover differential table — the Dolphins, Giants, Bengals, Bucs, Chargers, Falcons, Eagles and Panthers — only Tampa Bay boasts a scoring offense ranked higher than 14th.

Efficient Jameis

Besides marked improvement in the red zone, the Bucs are moving up the charts in third-down efficiency. In the past seven games, the Bucs have converted at a 45 percent clip while opponents have been limited to 32 percent on the money down.

This offense is executing Byron Leftwich’s game plans in a dynamic manner. Now the league’s 29th defense awaits the Bucs on their trip to Motown, where Detroit’s defense has been particularly porous in the red zone.

Look for Winston to shop around in the red zone before someone breaks open.

‘I think, one, Coach Leftwich has been doing a great job with scheming things up and I think our guys have been doing an excellent job buying in,” Winston says. “We’ve been running the ball down there – we’ve got a couple of rushing touchdowns in the red zone. That’s always important when you can get on the 15-yard line and run the ball in, that’s huge. And when you’ve got guys that know how to get open, that’s huge.”

What’s huge are the numbers this offense has been putting up virtually all season.

Buc fans have proven they love stifling defense, but until that day arrives, sit back and enjoy the show.

Click through here for the best savings of 2019! All 2019 vehicles must go! Prices have been slashed at Bill Currie Ford. Your trade-in will be a full year older in January. Get the most for it now!!

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.

24 Responses to “Sit Back And Enjoy The Show”

  1. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Give me an awsome offense and an above average defense any day! I wanna see points on the board baby!

  2. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    STATS ARE FOR LOSERS!!!!!!……. (thanks Raheem)

    This team will never be successful in the post season or even get to the post season with Jameis Winston as your QB.

    This team can be a 500 team easily if you take away alot of the stupid decisions or turnovers by Wnston.

    Smart players wins football games cause everyone at the NFL level has elite physical skills.

    Jameis relies more on his physical gifts than his brain.

  3. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Nice Buffalo Springfield reference, Ira.

  4. Doctor Stroud Says:

    As I recall, Les Steckel was the offensive coordinator in 2000 and holding the offense accountable, but the Bucs fired him after that record setting year because he wasn’t a “good fit”.

  5. Ndog Says:

    I love how a noted member of the” Jameis should be gone crowd” dances around the fact in this entire article that without excellent QB play there is no way a team can be in the top 5 in scoring when that same team has a bottom 10 running game. He talks about the coordinator, the efficient nature in the redzone but somehow never points out the QBs role. Oh also keep in mind that this same author often notes how bad our oline is as well, yet somehow with a basically non-existent running game and per him a below average oline we will still score with the best of them, I wonder how?

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I could be wrong but I think we may just see a stifling defense Sunday……

    Couple that with our offense and it could be a blowout.

    If it weren’t for extra points, Matt Gay’s leg may go to sleep on the sidelines because he doesn’t have kickoff duties….Pinion is second in the league in touchbacks.

  7. Buccnbeliever Says:

    We’ve been a top ten offense yards-wise for a few years now. Jameis definitely has something to do with that. Keep him for a few more years.

    Can you imagine him in a Panthers uniform? Ugh.

  8. Licht Headed Says:

    TheBucsAnthem is one of the four bigoted JBF regulars. If he had only one-fourth of Jameis’ gray matter, he would refrain from posting his transparent, incessant racism.

  9. Lunchbox Says:

    I’ve been very up and down on Winston. It’s not just the interceptions that drive me nuts, it’s the fumbles. When people report on the fumbles, I’ve only ever seen the fumbles LOST as a statistic. It’s all the more glaring when you look at total fumbles.

    HOWEVER, I believe that both of these issues are at least somewhat fixable. Passing plays called can be called in such a way to minimize his mistakes. Quick slants, short curl routes, maybe a wheel route. He MUST stop keying on one read (the one he thinks needs to get his numbers up like we’ve seen many times) and go through his progressions if the initial read is covered. As far as the fumbles, blindside hits go to pocket awareness, but aside from that, maybe his mechanics could be tweaked to give him some better ball security.

    Off field issues (hassles) aside, on the field my only problem are the turnovers. If they could coach and scheme to minimize those mistakes, he could stay here his whole career IMO.

  10. Barbosa Says:

    Stop baby what’s that sound?
    Another pick six is coming around!

  11. miken Says:

    @drstroud… too much offense for Dungy’s liking.

  12. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Most prolific QB in franchise history, and whoever is second, he’s nowhere close. Fix the team around Jameis and we have a playoff team every year. With even a mediocre defense we could be a legitimate contender. I don’t have another four decades to wait for the next great Buccaneer QB. My slogan applies to sports and politics. Lock him up. If I see one more Buccaneer QB win a league championship for another franchise, I’m canceling DirecTv. I’ll watch whatever college games that can reach my rabbit ears.

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    where all the, “BA should take over play calling” crowd…….

    BL has made the nonbelievers look foolish!!!!!!…..

    this is the best offense we’ve ever had and BL is doing it with no run game and a QB that leads the league in turnovers…..

    imagine what BL and the offense could do with a QB that was in the middle of the pack in TO’s and a average run game…..

    GO BUCS!!!!!!!

  14. BrianBucs Says:

    The offense is now fun to watch, but you have to keep in mind that the Bucs have been playing against bad bottom dwelling teams or teams on a skid.When they start playing against really good teams (not until next season) only then will we get to see how much they have improved.
    But for now we will enjoy the show as the Lions have a horrible defense with the league’s worst secondary. Bucs offense should have a field day. It will be another chance for Winston to put up big numbers to help his cause.

  15. Hodad Says:

    Can’t really compare what our defense did in the glory years to now. Football is a different game now. The 49ers, and N.O., have pretty good defenses, and both gave up over 40 points to each other. The rules make it much harder to play defense then they did back in 2000. Give props to the Bucs for having an offense, but it seems everyone is scoring a lot these days.

  16. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    Maybe, they can fire Leftwich and hire Dirk?

    Not too shabby for a beginner OC!

    Saw the Ravens play last night. They are a totally dominant team. The Patriot’s and Tom Brady’s reign is over!

  17. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Lamar Jackson makes Mike Vick look pedestrian.

  18. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Anthem is such a tool. The article goes into detail about the amazing stats the offense is putting up despite no running game and a bad defense. He reads all that and immediately slams Jameis. You fool take Jameis out of here and replace with Foles, Bridgewater, Hurts, Fromm and watch just how little this offense does. Jameis is carrying that offense. We have won four out of the last five and he was a key part in all of them.

    Brian, the Bucs have been some bad teams but that is fine. The defense is improving but is still bad so we are not an elite team yet. We are winning the games we should and these young players are getting much needed experience and showing some improvement. I think this may bode very well for next year and hopefully they will be at a point where they can help us win games against good teams.

  19. TouchDownTampaBay Says:


  20. Cgmaster27 Says:

    @bucsanthem youre once again showing you didnt even read the article. Reading comprehension is your friend. But hey thanks for once again making the rest of us dumber with your every post.

  21. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    “The Bucs need a good game manager like Brad Johnson.” Do remember that Brad Johnson threw a pick in the first quarter in the super bowl…

  22. #1bucfan Says:

    Lamar Jackson does make Vick look pedestrian. Let that sink in for a min. I will say tho that wen Vick faced our glory days defense he didn’t manage much. Teams should be looking at those tapes to see how to stop LJ. We had the great DB55 to spy on Vick but he did have rice an sapp to help contain Vick. LJ is incredible I hope he keeps getting better an learns to not take to many hits I feel like 1 hit like from Hohn lynch an this kid might just fold up lol if you can hit him

  23. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    LJ took a good lick last night.

    That’s like being in 20 car wrecks a year. That sh!t gets old real quick.

  24. orlbucfan Says:

    A Buffalo Springfield anti-war tune?? Ira, you’re showing your age. 🙂