Now The Cleat’s On The Other Foot

September 23rd, 2020

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BY IRA KAUFMAN

Let’s not overthink this thing.

While it’s true nothing is assured on Any Given Sunday, the Buccaneers are a much better team than the injury-ravaged Broncos.

They’re expected to win this Week 3 matchup, even though they are on the road, where the air is thin and Tampa Bay is a fat favorite.

There simply are no excuses for the visitors.

It’s a no-excuse Sunday, writes Ira Kaufman.

Unless the Bucs beat themselves, which they are fully capable of doing, they should return from Denver with a 2-game winning streak. That’s it … end of story.

The Broncos weren’t an elite team even before suffering a series of devastating injuries. Denver fans sensed it wasn’t their year when the team’s best player suffered a serious ankle injury in training camp. Linebacker Von Miller, likely to end up with a bust in Canton, may return before the end of the season but he won’t be suiting up on Sunday.

Denver’s best wide receiver, Courtland Sutton, is out for the year with a knee injury. And now the Broncos are turning to a backup quarterback who has exactly one win as an NFL starter.

With Drew Lock sidelined for a month with a bum shoulder, ex-Gator Jeff Driskel will stand behind center at Empower Field. The question? How often will he be left standing against Tampa Bay’s stout pass rush?

The Steelers just ravaged Lock and Driskel during last week’s 26-21 triumph, registering seven sacks and 18 QB hits. Driskel was dropped six times, enhancing his reputation as a human piñata.

Despite starting only eight games as a pro, Driskell has been sacked 33 times. The Bucs just posted five sacks against Teddy Bridgewater and that seems like a reasonable goal against Driskel.

Tampa Bay’s defense has now played eight consecutive solid games — and there’s no reason to think that streak will end Sunday, when a crowd of nearly 6,000 fans will root for Denver to avoid an 0-3 getaway.

Todd Bowles is drawing up a game plan to shut down Melvin Gordon on the ground, then hound Driskel into mistakes. Noah Fant, a 6-foot-4 tight end with 4.5 speed, is Driskel’s primary target. Fant has latched onto 9 of 11 targets and averages 15.3 yards per catch, so he has Tampa Bay’s full attention.

The Saints suddenly look vulnerable because there are real questions about the downfield arm strength of Drew Brees. This is no time to relax and lose to an inferior team.

Critical dropped passes allowed the Panthers to stick around last week, producing tense moments in the fourth quarter. That’s not acceptable — not anymore. Chris Godwin’s return will help.

Keeping Up With The Dream

This is a Buc team with huge ambitions. Tom Brady’s presence has raised the swagger factor exponentially and a 1-2 start shouldn’t be tolerated.

Much has changed since the last Bucs-Broncos meeting

Besides, the Bucs owe these guys some payback. Denver has won seven of nine meetings, including the past four. The last matchup was a real drag.

In 2016, the Broncos routed the Bucs 27-7 at Raymond James Stadium as Aqib Talib picked off a pair of Jameis Winston passes. The game was marred by an 86-minute rain delay in the fourth quarter as Buc fans streamed toward the exits.

That allowed Denver supporters in the upper deck to move down closer to the field, where they cheered as the Broncos sacked Winston into the soggy turf.

It was a dreary, embarrassing day for the home team.

Now the cleat’s on the other foot. Now, it’s the Bucs who boast the better roster. A lot better. If you’re truly all in, you win games like this.

Simple as that.

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

13 Responses to “Now The Cleat’s On The Other Foot”

  1. Bradynumber1fan Says:

    Bucs 31-14 easy

  2. Sumosam Says:

    You are absolutely right about this Ira but one thing is for sure. We will see their best game as this is a must win for them.

  3. ModHairKen Says:

    I hope Suh and JPP and Shaq read this. If so, there will be blood.

  4. zzbuc Says:

    Fully agreed Sage……
    I am very optimistic with this team, although I fully understand that we are far from a great team yet, but I have this feeling I dont have since the early 2000´s….Its a weird feeling, probably is optimism….something as I said before I don´t have since a very, very long time…….
    If we as fans can spread this optimism we can create a nice and interesting atmosphere with our beloved Bucs……

  5. Darin Says:

    Every game’s a must win….unless you lose. Then the next one is a must must.

  6. 813bucboi Says:

    Aqib Talib picked off a pair of Jameis Winston passes.

    *****************************************************************

    so many times Sage wrote this…..lol…

    GO BUCS!!!!!!!

  7. [email protected] Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Yes, they sure as hell dont want to go 0-3, so this is a must win for them, or their season is pretty much down the drain.
    They may be injured, but a wounded animal is always a dangerous animal.
    I am glad we are not looking past them.

  8. 813bucboi Says:

    42-12 BUCS WIN!!!!!

    Bucs have their 1st complete game in a long time….

    Brady is on point….WR/TE/RBs catch the ball…o-line dominates…run game dominates….PLAYCALLING is phenomenal!!!!…

    Defense forces TOs and doesnt let DEN in the endzone….

    SPECIAL TEAMS plays BIG!!!!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  9. SlyPirate541 Says:

    I expect another 100 yard game from Rojo or Fournette or possibly both.

    The OL is fired up about the run game. Rojo is motivated to keep his starting job, and Fournette is loving the positive attention he’s getting from the media.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Time for our offense to get it in gear…..I have no doubts the defense will dominate.

  11. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Again, the mile high altitude is a stupid excuse. I don’t expect us to lose this game.

  12. JimBuc2 Says:

    Damn. How long has it been since a Bucs team put its collective foot on anyones neck and crushed the life out them? Not get less wet in a pissin’ match, no, I mean a jaw-breaking, cruel mean-assed curb stomping? Tampa has been on the wrong end more times than I can endure recalling. A three touchdon lead to end the first half is no reason not to put up four more to closeout. For this fan, jackin’ up the other team real bad would be a welcome change.
    Bust out a giant cauldron of whoopass and hurt someone. Time to let the rest of the league know we ain’t playin’ pattycake, that we are here to claim the crown. Leave the other team busted up lying in the grass, bleeding, writhing in agony and wondering what just happened. Yeah, it’s ok to step on someone’s hand on the way back to the huddle. Why not? This, and much worse has been visited on us(remember Hackksaw Renold’s viscious hit to Doug Williams? Doug got up, but collasped.), so let’s get some ourselves.
    Go Bucs!

  13. JimBuc2 Says:

    Ok, I get it. Ok for others to hurt us, but not to reply in kind. Sisbag