Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Panthers

November 15th, 2020

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BY IRA KAUFMAN

The road trip from hell turned out rather heavenly.

The Bucs overcame a 7-hour airplane delay and a first-half holding pattern en route to a decisive victory in Charlotte. In sweeping the Panthers, Tampa Bay imposed its will on both sides of the ball in the final 30 minutes, erasing the painful memory of the debacle against the Saints.

Tom Brady had time to throw and Carolina paid the price as the Bucs rolled up 30 first downs and scored on nine consecutive possessions.

Ronald Jones redeemed himself in a big way after an early miscue and defensive players tackled well and kept everything in front of them. While a loss would have sent Buc Nation into panic mode, this game reminded us what this team is capable of.

The Panthers may have been 3-6 with a 4-game losing streak, but they were competitive in most games, including an inspired effort at Arrowhead last week.

That 7-3 mark isn’t too shabby for a Buc team which won’t hit the road again for the next five weeks. By that time, they could have a playoff berth well in hand, especially if Brady remains healthy and Antonio Brown remains hungry.

Here’s how the Bucs broke a halftime tie and ultimately broke the spirit of a gritty opponent:

* We thought this would be the best offense in Buc history — and it looks that way. Tampa Bay is on pace to score a franchise-record 474 points and Carolina’s defense had no answers. The Bucs converted 10-of-16 on third down and never punted. A little better play in the red zone and this group would have threatened the club record of 55 points set last year against the Rams. For the fourth time this season, the Bucs scored at least 38 points, already setting a franchise mark with six games remaining.

* Ronald Jones needed a game like this and a run like that for his lagging confidence. After three consecutive 100-yard efforts, he had been in a slump the past three weeks with 23 carries for only 66 yards. Then an early fumble off a reception prompted more dismay before he reeled off the 98-yard burst that busted a tight game wide open. Buc fans watching Jones sprint downfield were torn between chants — “Don’t get caught,” and “Don’t fumble.”

* On the longest play from scrimmage in Buc history, Ryan Jensen and A.Q. Shipley provided textbook blocks that are sure to generate plaudits from line coach Joe Gilbert this week.

* Brady bounced back from a lopsided loss in a big way, surprising no one familiar with his history. He threw some darts on Sunday and always seemed to be one step ahead of the defense. He averaged 8.7 yards per pass attempt while Teddy Bridgewater spent most of the afternoon dumping the ball off for 4-yard gains.

* Antonio Brown was a focal point of the game plan, and it showed. Targeted eight times, he led all players with seven receptions and it was good to see him on the punt return unit. Brady did a good job of keeping Brown, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin happy … not an easy task.

* Overall, the Buc defense played a very strong game. Two of Carolina’s touchdowns were set up by Cannon’s return and Jones’ fumble at the Tampa Bay 33. Bridgewater was ineffective in the second half as Todd Bowles implemented some adjustments. Why did the Bucs finish with 30 more snaps than the Panthers? Start with Carolina’s 1-for-9 success rate on third down.

* It was a mixed bag for the special teams. Ryan Succop made all four of his FG tries, but he misfired on an extra-point attempt. Give the Bucs credit for anticipating a fake punt, but Keith Armstrong’s group deserves a big demerit for allowing a 98-yard kickoff return by Trenton Cannon.

* The Panthers surely missed Christian McCaffrey, but they were thoroughly outclassed. Carolina’s invisible pass rush allowed Brady to go through his progressions — a luxury that Drew Brees capitalized on against the Bucs a week ago. The lesson is simple: when Brady has ample time, there isn’t a defense alive that can handle all these quality targets.

* All that said, this might have been a different game if Jones hadn’t just tied for the third-longest run in NFL history. Think about that. This league has been going for 100 years and only Tony Dorsett and Derrick Henry broke off longer runs from scrimmage. That’s pretty good company, Mr. Jones.

* After all the angst generated by the Saints game, the Bucs responded in grand fashion. Sitting at 7-3, they can afford to split matchups against the Rams and Chiefs, both at home, and enter the bye week at 8-4. That would put them in fine shape to finish with at least 11 wins for the first time since 2005, when Cadillac Williams donated his cleats to the Hall of Fame and a miserable Buc offense donated a playoff game to Washington.

Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape from Bill Currie Ford. It really is a sweet, luxurious ride.

Ira with his good friend Sean Sullivan, general manager of Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of ford. Sean will help you personally in any way he can. Find his email at BillCurrieFord.com

26 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Panthers”

  1. Brandon Says:

    Rojo, the most underappreciated and underrated RB in Bucs history being mentioned in the same sentence as Cadillac Williams, the most overrated RB in Bucs history. Three of Williams seven career 100 yard games were his first three games. After he donated his shoes to the HOF, he was average the rest of his career. Rojo will be far better.

  2. King C Says:

    Gonna need to win a couple more to get the taste of Saints game out our mouth. Instead of having a pass first identity, how about making it a point to run with Rojo

  3. FirstTimePoster Says:

    Cadillacs career was cut short because of TWO blown knees. We’ll never know how good he could have been.

  4. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    How did Succoup misfire on a kick?!? Did he kick Joe Haeg’s legs out from under him?

  5. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Let’s see how they do against the Rams and Chiefs. The ass kicking by the Saints is still fresh in my mind.

  6. Miller5252 Says:

    Reading Cadillac’s name just makes me think of how Gruden treated him like a rented mule. Did no maintenance at all on that Cadillac and ran er into the ground! Sad story of what could have been. I really hope Rojo continues his rise. It’s funny that everyone else can see when the Bucs run the ball Brady’s Jersey stays awfully clean. Great arrival Ira! One thing I would add is Brates dive for that first down. It just shows everyone was willing to do whatever was needed to win.

  7. PoundTheRock Says:

    Fournette is the easiest big running back to tacke ever! Incredible how easy he is to tackle. It is shocking. Get in weight room!

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    One play that really stood out to me was that long 3rd down Cameron Brate converted by diving for the down marker……real hustle….was really happy to see Brate in the game….

    Also, AB already looks to be in game shape….he contributed for sure.

    Watched his presser…..still humble.

    And, yes Rojo is underrated…….he gets few holes but makes the most of it….runs very, very hard…..really like the guy!!!

  9. AtlBuc Says:

    The kick was blocked

  10. AtlBuc Says:

    Poundtherock If you think it’s so ease to tackle him, You try doing it.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Ira……..Succop “misfired”….

    I believe he has missed 4 total kicks all year…..3 were blocked and the 4th hit the uprights….Succop doesn’t misfire…..

  12. Buc1987 Says:

    This is fun….

    Having Tom Brady.

  13. Mike Johnson Says:

    Rams and Chiefs up next. Short celebration baby. Enjoy and get ready.

  14. August 1976 Buc Says:

    The Bucs NBA prep season continues as they build for the playoff run. Yes a #1 seed and division title is optimum but as history has shown us, It not neccesary for winning a championship, just the hard way. They may not catch Nawlins for he division if Brees can finish the season but if Jameis starts then who knows. But the Bucs will be a tough out for anybody come playoff time. But KNOW THIS the Bucs are going to be at least a Wild Card. So just watch them continue to build. The real season for the Bucs starts in game 17, in the playoffs. GO BUCS!!! KEEP TOM ALIVE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE!!!!

  15. D1 Says:

    Brees is going to get an MRI tomorrow, plus the Saints have several players that were injured yesterday. It’s possible that they drop a game because of injuries.

  16. D1 Says:

    Point is the NFC south is not out of reach.

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    “Franchise record 474 points.”

    But, but yards?!

  18. August 1976 Buc Says:

    D1 Says:
    November 16th, 2020 at 3:35 am
    Point is the NFC south is not out of reach.

    Right on!! Nothing is settled yet. “Cracks” also began to appear in the Saints armour yesterday. GO BUCS!!!!

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    “The Bucs overcame a 7-hour airplane delay and a first-half holding pattern en route to a decisive victory in Charlotte.”

    Love the ‘holding pattern’ tie-in Sage. Classy (and opportunistic). Fans (and coaches) shouldn’t overlook that first 30 mins though (as in ‘tied 17-17 at halftime’?). This team has tremendous talent, but it goes through spells where it just can’t seem to get untracked for some reason. Then a spark ignites them and voila … it’s off to the races.

    I’m really hoping that our coaches finally saw the light yesterday. Game plan looked to be very similar to what they used in the Packers’ game, with similar results. In both games we RAN THE FRIGGIN BALL (a lot) using a BALANCED ATTACK, with similar results. Even disregarding RoJo’s 98-yd scamper, our running game was fairly methodical. And there’s no doubt in my mind that once that explosive 98-yarder occurred, the Panthers’ defense was always thinking ‘Don’t let that happen again, ever’. Stopping RoJo & the run was in their heads after that … and Brady took full advantage.

    To go deep into the playoffs, especially starting as a likely wildcard, Bucs will need to play like that from the git-go. They’ve got the talent; coaching just needs to be more consistent in learning how to channel that talent from the opening bell on.

  20. Jim Says:

    Nice to see I wasn’t the only one to appreciate Brate’s spectacular catch…

  21. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Because his contributions weren’t dramatic as in a last second FG to win the game…and in fact his FG’s weren’t even required…but he was MONEY once again.

    And I’m sorry to disagree Joe but Succop played error free ball yesterday. He did not MISS that kick the OL didn’t block…our ST’s are awful but Succop and Pinion have played very well…especially Succop.

    I’m not sure what Succop could have done…perhaps he needs to learn how to block and kick simultaneously.

  22. D-Rome Says:

    This 7-3 mark should (key word: should) finally shut up the last vestiges of fools that would rather have Jameis Winston over Tom Brady. The same goons that were impressed with yards over points and wins.

  23. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Time to get Jamal Dean out of the game he is terrible and I am sure that lil sean payton gruden mcvay will target 35 early and often. And obviously Haeg is worse than 76, because 76 is a sieve over there and always seems super lazy, have to check out PFF grade on him this week….big games coming up…they have to show up this Monday night and not do like the other 3 primetime games this season

  24. Rob Says:

    Ira, I love your commentary, but have to say that podcast last week after the Saints game was like the sky was falling! I had a good feeling the team would snap back…easy to say in hindsight, but this squad may have benefitted from the second Saints thrashing and it’s a great sign they were so focused considering the distractions this week. Sure, it’s the Panthers but they looked unstoppable and responded great to any negative plays in yesterday’s game. With added focus on playing better at night, which will only help them moving forward and into the playoffs, the Bucs have their sites set on New Orleans in the playoffs. Think they may just get there. Go Bucs!!!

  25. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    D Baker a 1st round draft pick of the giants at CB just had all of his charges dropped and the bucs need a quality CB not sure if they have any cash but

  26. Greg Says:

    Cadillac Williams is sooooo much better than Adrian Peterson—said NO one EVER!!!

 

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