Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Broncos

September 27th, 2020

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Whether it’s major-league baseball or the National Football League, complete games are hard to come by.

So it is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who suffered a second-half offensive lull for the second consecutive week against a pedestrian opponent.

Tampa Bay came out ready to play again on both sides of the ball and only self-inflicted wounds prevented a runaway in Denver.

Last week, it was a flurry of dropped passes that undermined Tom Brady’s unit. On Sunday, it was an array of penalties along the offensive line.

The bigger news is the Bucs are deservedly 2-1 heading into a home game against the Chargers that will feature a sprinkle of fans at Raymond James Stadium.

As expected, the injury-ravaged Broncos couldn’t muster much against this marauding defense. Even with Drew Lock under center and Courtland Sutton on the flank, Denver was going to struggle to score points. Without them, the Broncos had no chance.

That’s the best news of all for Buc fans … this defense is for real. Nine solid games in a row suggests Todd Bowles is orchestrating a scary unit filled with playmakers at all levels.

Complete game? No. Bruce Arians may not like the phrase “killer instinct,” but that’s what Buc fans crave. They want more focus after halftime because you don’t get to play the Panthers and Broncos every week.

Still, there’s a lot to be proud of at One Buc Place. We’re nitpicking wins now instead of bemoaning losses.

That, my friends, is called progress, with a capital P that rhymes with C that stands for championship.

Here’s How the West Was Won:

* At some point in Denver, you have to figure Bruce Arians sauntered over to Bowles with a question: Are you sure Antonio Winfield Jr. is really a rookie? No wonder Buc brass was so impressed with the second-round safety from the first day of training camp. Winfield continued his barnstorming tour Sunday with 6 stops, a sack, a tackle for loss and a pass defended. It wouldn’t be a shock in three months if he’s in the thick of the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

* Until the Broncos drove for a TD late in the second quarter, Tampa Bay had outscored its last two opponents 44-3 in the opening half. That means this coaching staff had these guys ready to play from the jump, a welcome change from the usual sluggish start Buc fans had grown accustomed to.

* Any way you look at it, the second half was tough to watch. Both teams took turns making mistakes and the zebras were way too busy. The 5,700 Denver fans allowed into Empower Field coughed up a lot of cash for their tickets. They deserved more entertainment value in the final two quarters.

* Assistant coach Keith Armstrong was embarrassed by Tampa Bay’s special teams play in New Orleans, so he honed in on the details. The results have been impressive. A week after outplaying Carolina’s special teams, the Bucs blocked a punt and held the Broncos to ZERO return yards. Meanwhile, three of Bradley Pinion’s five punts backed Denver up inside the 20 and Ryan Succop made both of his FG attempts.

* It was a productive day catching the ball for Rob Gronkowski – you know, Tampa Bay’s self-avowed blocking tight end. All kidding aside, Gronkowski and O.J. Howard had nine catches between them on 11 targets. They kept the chains moving and helped the Bucs dominate time of possession.

* No wonder Arians kept talking up this defense all offseason. Last week, the scorecard read five sacks and four takeaways. Against the Broncos, it was six sacks and two takeaways. Lavonte David always seemed to be in the right spot while Shaq Barrett made a triumphant return to Denver with two sacks, three tackles for loss and two QB hits. “I put up our guys against anybody’s,” Arians said of this defense. He just might be right.

* Nine penalties for 71 yards is not acceptable, especially when your ground game generates only 68 yards on 25 carries. The offensive line regressed from a standout effort in Week 2 and this week’s tape session with Joe Gilbert won’t be pleasant.

* Mike Evans may have just turned in the most unusual stat line of the young season. Two catches, two yards, two TDs. Talk about impact. Buc fans aren’t complaining.

* The Bucs, who haven’t started a season 3-1 since 2011, will be favored at home against the 1-2 Chargers and another inexperienced quarterback. They have rebounded nicely from the disappointment in the Superdome and this fast, hungry defense is good enough to keep them competitive every week.

* Brady continues to look more comfortable with his targets and getting the tight ends involved is a good sign. His lack of mobility is a concern, but only if his protection breaks down on a regular basis. Keeping Brady upright remains Job 1 if this franchise is serious about making a January run. The Bucs converted 8-of-16 on third down Sunday, a testament to what this offense can do if No. 12 has time to weave his magic.

Ira Kaufman’s column is presented by Bill Currie Ford, where the stunning offers are waiting for you. Click on Ira to visit, where GM Sean Sullivan will help you personally.

46 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Broncos”

  1. Cainishere Says:

    Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!
    Was a very exciting game and here is what I saw.
    A lot of new stuff. Very confusing offensive scheme using multiple targets.
    Had Denver’s defense scratching their heads all game.
    I asked for 5-7 sacks 2 INT and got everything with the safety.
    SHAQ IS BACK! HOF defense.
    Shady needs ball protection drills badly and moved around more.
    I witnessed several times Gronk changing defensive players minds and cause them to go another route leading to worthless angles at plays.
    I saw the entire team slam on the gas and stay on it the entire game.
    The team is suffocating opponents on both sides of the ball.
    I loved seeing Evans better protected against further injury and how he was used in a more physical manner, now Godwin’s game should shorten up too.
    We more than likely will have to use newer WR on the deep routes for a bit.
    Special teams did better. NICE BLOCK BOYS!!!
    RoJo did a good job rushing for what he was given, allowing the Buccaneers to preserve Fournette.
    Brady looked good and efficient not throwing any picks or fumbling.
    Overall a great game dominated completely by a dominate team.
    GG in the 3rd Super Bowl Dress Rehearsal.
    GO BUCS!!

  2. View from 132 Says:

    Decent effort, but hard to gauge anything from defending Jeff Driskel and some B and C team receivers. Godwin needs to get healthy. Very different offense with him in the game. Good to see TEs get involved.

  3. Steve in Mad Beach Says:

    F”ck Yeah!

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Brady has 297 yards with Evans only getting 2…….that’s encouraging.

    Looks like we are seeing the beginning of another great receiver in Scotty Miller…..the kid has speed and he makes some great catches.

    Good to see our TEs get some action……did Cameron Brate suit up?

    Jamal Dean quietly led the team in tackles.

    Succop’s only misses this year were blocks….

  5. tbbucs3 Says:

    Ive been a long critic of the defense since 2014…..But this defense is the real deal. The Bucs have play makers all around.

    Bucs offense is a work in progress but built on ball control. Run game is an issue. ROJO is average and Fornette looks fat.

  6. Swampbuc Says:

    In 2011 the Bucs finished 4-12. Raheem Morris was fired. And he might be again tomorrow morning after Atlanta swallowed a hairball the size of an apple for the second week in a row.

    Let’s not compare anything to 2011, the beginning of the lost decade.

  7. Craig Says:

    On the offensive side:

    Brady is getting closer, Gronk is getting into better shape, the end of a brutal summer in Florida will help him.

    Hopefully the rest of the offensive will catch up to Brady soon, Wirfs is doing well (offensive Rookie of the year?)

    Defense: Defensive backfield is playing way to soft, they need to tighten up.

    No complaints on defensive front seven. They are scary.

    Two more fairly easy games before the fun starts. Hope they come together soon.

    Yes, Denver’s special teams are worse than that of the Bucs.

  8. TheBradyBunch Says:

    Does this mean the Bucco realistio and all his exclamation
    Points will finally stfu?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Doctor Stroud Says:

    The Bucs are beating teams that they are supposed to beat. The defense is doing well against unknown QBs rather than making them look like All-World, Hall of Famers (although Rypien was doing well until the interception). I like seeing the RBs close out games. Rojo did a great job on that last drive to seal the deal. He was straight up running the ball rather than dancing and juking. The sky’s the limit with this team! Go Bucs!

  10. Robert James Says:

    great win.. denver is a tough place to play. Our 1st 2 draft picks look awesome

  11. Ndog Says:

    Yeah Denver is a tough place to play with fans AND when they actually have players.

    SMH at Denver is a tough place to play.

  12. Bucsalltheway Says:

    @tampabaybucfan brate played he actually was in blocking in the 4th quarter spelling gronk.

  13. Mort Says:

    Once again, who the frack is this ANTONIO Winfield you speak of? Holy crap, his dad played in the league for years with the same damn name and you guys keep flubbing it up. Put some respeck on his name if you’re going to talk about him.

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    And we are learning the Saints D isnt so great like yall claimed week 1.

    They give up over 30 points last week and already 30 tonight.

    Packers leading because they won the turnover battle. We do the same we can beat em easily.

  15. JameisAlmighty Says:

    Very poor game by Brady considering the awful defense he faced. Jameis Winston would’ve shredded the Broncos and put up 600 yards and 6tds. I am not impressed with this washed up Brady and am concerned what happens when the Bucs waste all of the offensive talent when Brady is done next year. Hopefully Licht is out or some other sucker team hires him to get him away from the Bucs. Once again the Bucs show how bad they are in all areas possible. Bad game from the Bucs. Not impressed at all.

  16. Pewter Power Says:

    I don’t like what we’re doing if it does not include mike Evans I’m hoping he gets 1K to beat Randy moss record but it’s been up and down every week.

    Second half wasn’t pretty but prefer this to holding my breath every time last years quarterback threw the ball

  17. Buc4ever Says:

    Poor play calling. Quit trying to run on first down and get the receivers the ball. It’s like Evans doesn’t exist. Also, I’m not impressed with Brady at this stage of his career, he is simply an immobile game manager with a slight grasp of Arians offense and will really struggle against good teams.

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Bucs alone at top of NFC South!!!

  19. Bucfanforever Says:

    The Bucs now have as many wins as the rest of the NFC south combined.

  20. BUC CHEEKS Says:


  21. Dano407 Says:

    Bucs in 1st place in NFC South 🙂

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    1st place.

    Can’t help to think that cheap shot on Godwin by the Saints, followed up by trying to run up the score and getting Micheal Thomas hurt in the process has cause the Saints to lose these last two games.

    Great job dipsticks. Still doesn’t account for targeting Godwin’s head however and that must be accounted for in the next game.

  23. BUC CHEEKS Says:


    When is the last time the Tampa Bay buccaneers were in first place

  24. JimmyJack Says:

    This is so much better then being done before Halloween.

    Next we get the Chargers and dont they got a rookie QB? It might be a long day for that young man.

  25. BUC CHEEKS Says:

    Amen JimmyJack

  26. BUC CHEEKS Says:

    I turned off all alerts and dodge my phone all day to enjoy that victory on gamepass and then to watch the Packers defeat the Saints OMG what a day!

    Go BUCS BABY!!!!!!

  27. Buczilla Says:

    Nice article Ira. Winning ugly is better than losing ugly.

  28. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Who dat in first place in the nfc south?

  29. BigMacAttack Says:

    Penalties hurt the offense today. Denver made adjustments on defense. The Packer game is when the offense needs to rock. Donovan Smith was hurt and it showed. They should’ve pulled him out IMO. I have no problem with how the Bucs played today. They won and game management was excellent except for the challenge. I think each week they’ll get better and Brady will make a star out of Scotty Miller. Hide watch and quit whining Joe.

  30. JimBuc2 Says:

    Raiders crumbling, Falcons imploding(miss you Dirk, NOT), and Slimy Saints are suddenly looking up at the Bucs! True, it is lonely at the top, but damn, the view is impressive. Bring on those faltering Chargers. Our Pewter Pirates be robbin’ some booty.
    Go Bucs!!

  31. adam from ny Says:

    i swear there is so much room for improvement on this team…

    on a scale of 1 to 10 they scored about a 6.5 to a 7 today…

    this team has the potential to get scary come november…

    playing the chargers is almost like playing denver all over again, but at home…

    get thru this next one and the bears and be 4-1 heading into bigger games

  32. Player 1 Says:

    But cheeks. I think we were in first place when Fitzy went on his run during Winston’s suspension.

  33. Player 1 Says:

    Lol, stoopid auto correct. That was meant for Buc Cheeks

  34. Brad Says:

    I would like to stop doing the relaxed zone to end halves. Pass the ball once in a while on first down. Other than that….. I can’t believe that’s all
    Donovan Smith is who we thought he was.

  35. TampaTown Says:

    “We are nitpicking wins now instead of bemoaning losses.”
    Ira- best line ever. Maybe things are changing around here

  36. Swampbuc Says:

    Man Warren Sapp is more right than ever. There are actual fans who are calling this a terrible Bucs game, acting worse than if it were a loss, when it was a dominant victory?

    Stupid is as stupid does, Forrest.

    This Denver team was one play from beating the Steelers last week. Today? Not so much. Newsflash — the Steelers are a good football team. Second newsflash — this Broncos team is a tough bunch of scrappers.

    Bucs dominated a game in all phases, who cares if it wasn’t 45-10 instead of 28-10? Wow. Just, wow.

  37. ItzOK Says:

    How about some credit to Licht. I have been critical of him and his drafts. His free agent finds have been spot on though.

    Itz early but Winfield and Wirfs are solid and have already proven themselves. 4th rd pick to pull in Gronk

    Stacking draft picks in consecutive years along with the free agent hits I mean I must give Licht all the credit here. Godwin, Vita, Davis, Dean, Bunting, White, Winfield and Wirfs. That’s How you Draft.

  38. Bucsfanman Says:

    Great win! The scary part to me is that I don’t think we’re firing on all cylinders yet.
    Defense is FUN again in Tampa Bay. Say it with me Realist(o): DE-FENSE!

    Love the blocked punt!

  39. Defense Rules Says:

    Thanks Ira for a great analysis & telling it like it is. Being honest in evaluating each game’s performance is critical. You don’t win the war by beating your chest after each battle victory; I think that’s where BA is coming from when he gets critical of various units for less-than-acceptable performances.

    I love this defense, mostly because of the way that Todd Bowles employs it. To the man, these guys are fast, aggressive & great tacklers, and Todd isn’t afraid to turn ’em loose. They set the tone for the game (2 TOs, 6 sacks, & Lord nows how many QB Hits) and IMO our defense is the reason we’ve built commanding leads in the last 2 games. That’s just such a joy to watch.

    Our offense is still a work in progress IMO. Starts off great, but seems to lose focus in the 2nd half. Too many penalties (9) & too many 3-and-outs (we were 7-for-11 on 3rd down conversions at one point, but ended up being 8-for-16 by game’s end). Brady seems to be consistently hitting at 65% which is very good IMO, but there’s no excuse for our running game only running 38% of the plays (once again) to help take the pressure off him. And it all comes back to the OLine not stepping up & kicking ass.

    S/Ts were awesome yesterday. Blocking that punt was a HUGE play & had to demoralize the Broncos right off the bat. And Succop is proving to be worth his weight in gold thus far; gutsy decision to keep him instead of our 2nd-year kicker Gay.

  40. Phred Says:

    As usual, Ira’s analysis is spot-on. And who else has the chops to work in a “Music Man” reference in a Bucs article? Brilliant writing.

  41. Jmarkbuc Says:

    It’s all about the OLine…

    We go as far as they go. A glaring spotlight is on them.

  42. mark2001 Says:

    Poor Dog… since the blog said Brad would work his “magic”, he had to find something to negatively, and he was left with the Denver team. After all, Brady can’t be better than Mr. American football excitement, could he? And BTW…seems I remember our Bucs being notorious for rolling over for young replacement QB’s, emboldened by their teams getting early leads as a result of slow starts and miscues by our previous offensive leaders.

  43. gotbbucs Says:

    The image of Arians sums up one of my major gripes from yesterday’s game. Why send Brady out there on 4th down to try and draw Denver offsides, call a timeout,…….and then throw the challenge flag? Just throw the damn challenge flag with 5 seconds left on the play clock.

    Its like Arians wants to pick out blatantly obvious times in games to make stupid decisions. Two timeouts on one play, SMH! You almost have to try to do something that idiotic on purpose.

    On a positive note, yes, the defense is legit. On a negative note, the offense still looks out of balance. Any pass play that doesn’t have Scotty Miller running underneath routes as a security blanket for Brady is inexcusable. A combination of Miller and Gronk underneath Evans and Godwin deep should be uncoverable. Brady should be throwing at an 85% clip with what is available on this roster.

  44. JameisAlmighty Says:

    The highlight of the team is the kicker. Gay was terrible and undermined a record setting year for Jameis and a playoff run with a potential Super Bowl last year. Now Succop comes in and makes extra points and field goals. Plus the refs aren’t making game changing calls. Licht let the kicker ruin Jameis for all these years.

  45. JameisAlmighty Says:

    It’s really nice to see that Buc fans don’t have on Brady blinders. Even the casual fan can see that he’s not an upgrade over Famous Jameis. This is a pleasant surprise and shows that the joebuccers are a great group of fans and consistent with the criticism Of the QB.

  46. Cainishere Says:

    If Jameass Winsnone is so great then why is he not starting in Tampa Bay or New Orleans? Here, let’s define Jameass Winsnone’s career shall we?
    The play that sealed the fate of FSU in the championship vs Oregon.
    That fumble defines Winsnone’s career.
    Jameass would lose all his games for the season fast so there was no pressure then got his crap yards when it didn’t matter. Funny how some say Jameis would be doing better than Brady and the defense sabotaged Jameass but Brady has that same defense. You are STUPID look it up you probably see your puss in the illustration.