Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Colts-Bucs

December 8th, 2019

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I don’t know about a “culture change” at One Buc Place, but I sure as heck see a scoreboard change.

On a day they were officially eliminated from the postseason, the Bucs gave every indication to their fans that the times they are a-changin. A defense burdened by giveaways stiffened in the second half and Jameis Winston directed a 542-yard assault against an Indianapolis team desperate for a win.

Winston kept coming and coming, despite throwing a pick-6 and two other interceptions. When the final seconds ticked off, Tampa Bay had closed to within one game of the magical .500 mark, matching the Colts at 6-7.

The Bucs were not supposed to win this game. Who says? NFL history, that’s who.

They were penalized 6 times for 104 times and lost the turnover battle 4-1. That’s a losing formula, especially against a decent opponent fighting for its playoff life.

But Tampa Bay found a way to eke out a close victory at home after dominating Atlanta and Jacksonville on the road. The Bucs trailed virtually the entire game, which began with a pair of Tampa Bay giveaways at midfield.

Here’s how the Bucs beat the Colts by the same 38-35 margin that marked the final score of the miracle Indianapolis comeback in the 2003 Monday night meltdown at Raymond James Stadium on Tony Dungy’s birthday:

That crushing setback was the beginning of the end for the defending NFL champion Bucs. Sunday’s stirring win felt like the beginning of a new resolve.

* When a buddy in another town asks you about Winston, show them the tape of this game. It’s all there — the highs, the lows and the fierce determination to keep competing through adversity. Since Week 3, the Bucs are averaging 31 points. When No. 3 isn’t throwing the football to the other guys, this offense is virtually unstoppable.

* For much of the game, the best player on the field was Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018. He intercepted Winston on the second snap of the game, knifing in front of a slant intended for Mike Evans. He dropped Ronald Jones for a 1-yard loss on a swing pass and then registered a pick-6 by faking a blitz and dropping back into coverage against Brett Perriman.

He’s not as disruptive as he was as a rookie, but Leonard’s a heck of a player. “Quarterbacks throw the ball to you at least three times a game and you just have to take every opportunity you can,” Leonard said.

* The Bucs continue their surge as an efficient red-zone offense. In the past 10 games, Tampa Bay has scored 28 touchdowns in 38 trips to the red zone, a healthy 74 percent clip. Byron Leftwich is doing a nice job cashing in close to the end zone, despite a ground game that scares no one.

* After a couple of weeks of stout play, Tampa Bay’s secondary did not have an afternoon to be proud of. There were too many mis-communications and breakdowns. Andrew Adams and Carlton Davis appeared confused on a 46-yard TD pass to Marcus Johnson. Jordan Whitehead, who led the Bucs with 9 tackles, was beaten deep and turned around by Johnson in the final seconds of the opening half.

* Jacoby Brissett threw for 251 yards, but he missed several open receivers. The Colts have to decide whether Brissett is their guy going forward. Based on what I saw, he’s not, although he was missing his top receiver in T.Y. Hilton.

* At precisely 3 o’clock, the following announcement was heard in the press box: “Ryan Griffin is in at quarterback for the Buccaneers.” Nobody was quite sure why Winston wasn’t under center after throwing for 277 yards in the opening half, but Winston was soon seen throwing on the sidelines. He was back quickly, but not before Griffin tossed the first four passes of his NFL career, completing two. Good for Griffin and good for Winston, who wasn’t going to let a little thing like a fractured thumb slow him down. By the way, his winning 12-yard dart to Perriman was his best throw all day.

* Chris Godwin keeps playing like a Pro Bowl receiver, whether or not he makes the team. He caught six passes for 80 yards in the first half to steady a listing ship and Winston has learned to trust Godwin to make the difficult reception in traffic. Unless Mike Evans returns from that hamstring injury, Godwin can be expected to be double-teamed the rest of the way.

* The running game continues its plodding ways. Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber had 11 carries apiece for a combined 70 yards. Move along, nothing to see here.

* The Bucs had been 4-20 in the past five years when attempting at least 40 passes, but Winston turned that statistic around with a prolific day. “How does that happen?” asked Colts coach Frank Reich. “How do you get that many turnovers and score that many points and still get a loss?” Get over it, Frank. It’s just Jameis being Jameis.

* The Bucs have an opportunity to finish 4-3 at Raymond James Stadium and 5-3 on the road. That wouldn’t be good enough to extend the season into January, but it would sure trigger hope among a fan base yearning for relevance.

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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.

35 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Colts-Bucs”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Winston guaranteed the Bucs another loss but the defense again made just enough plays to save the game. Thanks D!

  2. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Jameis Winston is too valuable a player to let walk.

    Turnovers a problem? Yes but you simply do not let a talent like this just walk out the door.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The best this team will ever be with Winston under center is 9-7. That will translate to playoff pushes that fall short in the last quarter of the season. That is not good enough.

  4. Pa bucs fan Says:


  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We are very young and this team needs a taste of winning…..and it’s getting it.

  6. Gettinthebucs Says:

    It still baffles me how Winston can go from Tom Brady mode to Nathan Peterman mode so quickly. I hope he’s back for another year in the offense but the right price.

  7. Jcscycles Says:

    Offer Winston a 3 year incentive laden contract with first year only guaranteed. That way he can be cut after 2020 without affecting the cap. That way everyone gets something.

  8. wantstastayabuc Says:

    let him walk. increase completion percentage and decrease turnovers and this is a winning team.

    A rookie can do this or a FA with less uber/other incidents.

  9. TexBuc Says:

    This offense is so much fun to watch and I believe will only get better.

  10. Tbbucs3 Says:

    “Increase completion % and decrease turnovers and this is a winning team”

    Amazing how you think this.

    Goes to show that Winston haters constantly ignore the Bucs historically bad defense over the years.

  11. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Price is going to be the deciding factor. If we pay him top dollar then we have to sacrifice upgrades at other positions of concern. Is he worth top money? I bet he thinks so.

  12. Buccfan37 Says:

    The ups and downs in this game made it entertaining to mostly suffer through and still come out with a win. Bucs style football is very strange. Like clearing a minefield in a heavily crowded cow pasture. Sh*t and guts everywhere.

  13. TexBuc Says:

    Some seem to think it will be so easy to replace Winston when it is generally understood that the NFL has a shortage of quality QB’s. I remember a year ago some where lobbying for the Bucs to draft Dwayne Haskins, so far he has in 7 games thrown 971 yds, 3 TD, and 7 INT.

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    wantstastayabuc Says:
    “A rookie can do this or a FA…”

    Unlikely. A rookie would most likely let the picks get to him. And a FA could be just as bad or worse.

    Unfortunately, there are not any decent FA QBs these days. A Brian Greese or Jeff Garcia would explode in this offense.

    So far as Griffin, one thing I noticed was that he got the ball out quickly. I’m guess he was a little nervous too.

  15. JimmyJack Says:

    Not a fan of these takeaways…..To have 10 and not one giving any credit to the defense is a brutal oversite in mine opinion.

    Admittely they did have some up and down moments but did have many pivotal stops. No easy task considering all the short fields that had all day…….They also closed out the game for us.

  16. bucsince79 aka bumaneer Says:

    Keep the gun slinger. He can throw that rock. mistakes are going to happen… To much firepower. he will be back next year…

  17. I Got To Get Better Says:

    Den of Depression is in jeopardy.

    Liii will not sleep for the rest of December.

    Go Bucs!!!

    Great job again Ira!!!!!

  18. JP_09 Says:

    I’m just glad this team isn’t mailing it in like some suggest they do. Here’s to finishing strong and getting to 9-7

  19. Anonymous Says:

    If you want a gunslinger with late season antics, and don’t care about actually beating the good teams it takes to make the playoffs, then keep Winston. It’s been five years. We always knew he could throw. From the start, it has been bad decisions and turnovers. He’s not improved there. In fact, he almost threw two more picks today based on TERRIBLE decisions because he was pressing. Two awful throws right to Colts players that they dropped. 14 points off of his turnovers and another one late in the game would have easily meant the game.

    Sorry, not buying this crotch-grabbing embarassment to humanity.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Sage … Some day I’d like to read your take on how important Godwin has been to Jameis’ passing success this year. He continues to amaze me, and frankly I think he’s become more important to this offense than Mike Evans is. Most importantly IMO, he’s a touchdown machine. My suspicion is that he’ll command more than what ME13 makes. Whether the Bucs can afford to pay that is a whole different matter.

  21. JimmyJack Says:

    JP cheers to that baby!! Watching this team grow right before our eyes.

    Others may think growth is done in the office selecting a draft choice. And they would be wrong.

    Enjoy the rest of the season sir. And later enjoy the off-season with real tangible hope…..Which can never be created from a draft choice!!

    GO BUCS!

  22. Dapostman Says:

    3 drives of 75+ yards for TD’s and 2 drives of 60+ yards for TD’s.

    That’s how you lose when you get 4 TO’s and score 35 points.

    And that ain’t just whistling dixie.

  23. Bculaw Says:

    This is not a scheme in which a QB is going to have a high completion percentage and low turnover rate. It’s just not designed like most of the “modern” passing schemes where the QB is given a ton of high percentage short and mid range throws. Winston’s completion percentage is right where one would think it would be in this scheme. The iNTs #s are too high, but, again, history shows that QBs throw picks in this offense. Winston is making a lot of plays and the offense is scoring a lot of points. He needs to reduce the crippling INTs. It can be done. In fact, BA’s last QB had almost the same completion percentage and INTs as Winston in his first year. He was an MVP candidate the next two seasons (albeit one shortened by injury). You have to give Winston the chance to do the same.

  24. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    Jameis Can Thrown7 picks as long as the Bucs win. It’s all about winning. And Jameis is a champion! Famous Jameis!

  25. July Joe Says:

    JAMEIS WINSTON is AMAZING … and he’s going to get PAID$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  26. 813bucboi Says:


    CG is important….

    But BL is the key….

    He’s putting up points with no run game, inconsistent defense and a QB that leads the league in TOs…..


  27. Coburn Says:

    Jameis can certainly sling it but often comes at the cost of turnovers.. Against bad or mediocre teams it depends how he’s feeling that week but it’s almost a guarantee agonist better teams. When you throw a couple picks and lose turnover game you generally lose. And no I don’t think it’s just jameis that we overcame that today. That’s on the colts. Tjey had opportunites to put us away…Good teams don’t lose when then win the turnover game like that and put up points. Try doing the same thing against a winner.

    Can anyone honestly see jameis throwing a couple picks in a playoff game and still winning? I don’t… best you can hope with WIbstone is he somehow goes on a good bough streak against bad defenses to squeak us into thr playoffs and if he can be on top of his game we might be lucky to win wildcard weekend. That’s the furthest I can ever see him going with his inconsistency and ho poorly he plays against better defenses

  28. David Smith Says:

    Wow anonymous! You call him a crotch grabbing embarrassment to humanity??? You should go see the Pope with all that hate you have inside. He hasn’t had any trouble in 4 years and you still bring that up. Hopefully people judge you harshly for being such a stain on humanity that you are!

  29. MirrorMirrowOnTheWall Says:


    If Jacoby Brissett is not the Colts quarterback going forward, 27 teams needs quarterbacks. Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Mitch Trubisky need to be replaced. You sound like Bill Polish. How about we talk about your job? When is Ronde Barber going to get into the Hall of Fame? Ronde not in by now means you need to retire.

  30. MirrorMirrowOnTheWall Says:

    Anonymous as in Kkk?

  31. Nole4JabooANDdBucs Says:

    David Smith👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
    The more Anonymous talk I actually feel sad for him…to harbor so much hate has to be burdensome.
    GO BUCS!

  32. Bucc941 Says:

    Anonymous you shouldn’t talk about our president that way.

  33. DooshLaRue Says:

    3.5 years genius

  34. jmarkbuc Says:


    How should Ronde already be in?

    Two days of your KKK references are ridiculous, as are you.

  35. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome article.