Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Rams

November 24th, 2020

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This was a flesh wound, not a kill shot.

That observation won’t placate angry Buc fans who believe Monday night’s game was there for the taking. Still, Tampa Bay is in good shape to end the NFC’s longest playoff drought.

In the worst-case scenario before the bye, the Bucs would stand at 7-5, with a favorable closing schedule to secure a Wild Card berth.

Having said that, the loss to the Rams figures to have ramifications in the postseason — assuming the Bucs get there.

While it’s a stretch to argue the Bucs deserved to win, it was an entertaining matchup that easily could have ended in Tampa Bay’s favor. The shocking conclusion has rattled Buc Nation and raised questions whether this team has what it takes to represent the NFC at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.

Most importantly, the loss raised questions about the franchise cornerstone. Tom Brady, who authored so many late comebacks in an unparalleled career, will now try to come back from a shaky prime-time performance. When the moment grew large, Brady looked small with a throw right out of the Jameis Winston playbook.

Winston didn’t attempt a throw for the Saints on Sunday, but Brady attempted way too many against a Rams defense that is particularly stout against the pass. Once again, Byron Leftwich has some explaining to do after the Bucs ran only 18 times on their 67 snaps.

Los Angeles was Ram Tough when it counted, looking like a legitimate threat to win the NFC West. Here’s how Tampa Bay came up short on a long night:

* Brady wasn’t having a very good evening and the game was always close, but Leftwich decided to keep Ronald Jones on ice. This isn’t the first time Tampa Bay has abandoned the run game early — but it needs to be the last. Forty-nine passes is simply too many against a talented secondary. It’s up to Bruce Arians to forcefully remind Leftwich that balance can be a beautiful thing.

* LeSean McCoy needs to join the parade, beginning Sunday against Kansas City. McCoy never got on the field Monday night while the Stone Hand Twins took turns dropping Brady’s flares. Jones and Leonard Fournette have consistently failed as threats out of the backfield, so give McCoy a chance to turn a few screen passes into first downs.

* Tampa Bay’s offensive line deserves props for giving Brady stout protection most of the evening. He was sacked once and hit only five times. Amazingly, the guys up front made Aaron Donald disappear. The league’s best defensive player didn’t even make the post-game stat sheet. No tackles, no pressures … nada. Remarkable.

* The Bucs caught a huge break when Brady’s apparent fumble deep in Tampa Bay territory was ruled an incomplete pass. When you get a favorable call like that, it seems shameful to end up on the short end.

* What has happened to Tampa Bay’s downfield passing game? The longest gain on the night was an 18-yard completion to Mike Evans. Meanwhile, Jared Goff posted EIGHT completions of at least 18 yards. Brady and his receivers aren’t on the same page on deep throws … not even on the same chapter.

* Speaking of Evans, his TD reception should have showed his teammates the kind of will and passion needed to beat a solid opponent like the Rams. Evans would not be denied and his nose for the end zone continues to be impressive.

* Sean McVay seemed a step ahead of Todd Bowles all night. As expected, Tampa Bay’s run defense was beyond reproach. Los Angeles backs went nowhere, with Sean Murphy-Bunting excelling on run support. But Goff had great success finding Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. They combined for 23 catches on 28 targets. taking turns finding holes while Goff enjoyed stout protection. The Bucs don’t miss Vita Vea as much as they miss the 2019 version of Shaq Barrett.

* Matt Gay kicked the game-winning FG. No more needs to be said. Still, I’ll take Ryan Succop any day of the week.

* With Patrick Mahomes lurking on the horizon, there are troubling signs at One Buc Place. Tampa Bay is now 2-4 against teams with a .500 record or better and the Bucs are a mere 4-4 vs. NFC opponents. They’ve beaten up on the AFC West, but here come the defending Super Bowl champs, with Tampa Bay facing a short week to prepare.

* The NFC South title looks out of reach with five games remaining. The Saints are surging and the Bucs are wobbling. The loss to the Rams could end up costing Tampa Bay the coveted No. 5 playoff seed, which seems destined to face the NFC East winner. The Rams and Seahawks have only three losses and Los Angeles now owns a tie-breaker advantage against Tampa Bay. That might be significant if the Rams end up as a wild-card team.

Yes, flesh wounds have consequences.

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

29 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Rams”

  1. bucfanforever Says:

    It’s better to lose a game like this in week 12, then during the playoffs. The Bucs fought hard. Hopefully, in December (or by Nov 29) they can clean up a lot of these little things that are costing them games.

  2. mark2001 Says:

    The over the hill gang strikes again.

  3. PSL Bob Says:

    Agree with you IRA that McCoy excels at pass catching out of the backfield. However, that’s it! He’s no longer a threat running the ball. So when you put him in, you know the defensive coordinator will keep someone on him in case he comes out of the backfield for a dump-off pass. You need a back that can both run and catch, and neither Fournette nor ROJO could seem to do that last night.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    One thing missed in the loss last night, we have really cleaned up the penalties since the Chicago game….Last six

    O-4-3-5-3-2 That’s an average of 2.7 per game

    Tonight the defense had 2 penalties for 7 yards but they were costly.

    The offense had zero penalties…..Congrats to the team on their efforts to clean things up.

  5. PSL Bob Says:

    “Brady and his receivers aren’t on the same page on deep throws … not even on the same chapter.” Not sure this is one of those lack of synchrony things. I think Brady was just off. His receivers weren’t in the wrong place. His throws were.

  6. bojim Says:

    Are you listening BA/BL/TB/TB12?

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    I’m not upset at all.

    I never expected the Bucs to beat the Rams in the first place. The game went as I expected it to, and maybe even better on the Bucs side.

    They had a shot to win with the last possession, and that at a minimum is all I want.

  8. Tbbucs3 Says:

    The Bucs absolutely deserved to lose that game they were outplayed and outcoached all night.

    But that effort on the final drive was putrid by Brady. Had a chance to win and blew it.

  9. Mike Johnson Says:

    Please ira, you are worst than the guy who lost the election. You said a few weeks ago we were the best team in the nfc south now you are saying we are still in good shape. Guess I know who you voted for.

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    Ira, you must have watched a different game than I did.

    I saw Brady under pressure all night. He may not have been sacked, but he hit the deck and was very uncomfortable in the pocket.

    The biggest pressure came up the middle and allowed Brady few real opportunities to step forward and throw off his front foot.

    Most sacks come from the outside, and QB’s can step up in the pocket to avoid a lot of them.

    But game-changing pressure comes up the middle and doesn’t allow a QB to set his feet as much as necessary for a strong throw. Brady was throwing off his back foot all night, because he couldn’t step forward.

    That “incomplete” in the end zone was a gift. It was quite the stretch to say his arm was moving forward. I thought it a clear fumble. I’m sure Rams fans felt they got screwed.

  11. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Pretty sure one year or more but brady and the pats were running a 2 minute offense the entire game and very successful. Also why not use 2 TEs, the bucs OL was dog crap and brady was being rushed and pressured all night. 76 is gawd awful, he could use some help with an extra blocker. Gary Coleman is not a great OC and time for shady to be in there on first down; time to throw a change up every now and again; that all being said, the bucs beat the chiefs on Sunday

  12. DoooshLaRue Says:


    I was thinking the same thing.
    We have definitely cleaned up the penalties now we just need to adjust on D and call better plays for Old Tommy.

  13. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I agree with you Sage, the Bucs need a different 3rd Down/pass catching RB. I’d rather see what Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Kenjon Barner, or someone signed off the street has than McCoy, though.

    Agreed Cobraboy, I also thought the Rams had a lot of pressure on Brady.

  14. HeyItsAdam Says:

    When JW is a free agent, you sign him back and make him the starter again and end the Brady experiment.

  15. mark2001 Says:

    Adam…why sign Jameis…he never won anything? And likely never will. 5 years of failed Jameis experiment and you want him back? Wow.

  16. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    The Saints “surging” with a backup QB on his second start might be a bit much.

  17. Darin Says:

    Saints will drop games. Rams will drop games. Same Rams team that got blown out by Miami and SF. Overreaction Tuesday

  18. Gettinthebucs Says:

    Meh, we’ll still make the playoffs but I don’t see us making it to the NFC title game. It is what it is. My mind is already drifting to next season. I’m interested to see what direction the franchise goes in following this season. Will we try again with Brady or blow the whole thing up?

  19. ben Says:

    Hey…5 years of Winston was way more then enough . Glad bucs finally moved on

  20. unbelievable Says:

    LOFL talking about playing in the Super Bowl. What are you smiling

    They’ll be lucky to limp into the 7th seed at this point.

  21. Coburn Says:

    People keep forgetting it was Gays miss that kept us in the game as well. Our destiny was in our own hands and we came up short. Heck.. 14 of their points (well ok they still get 6) were from our knuckleheads jumping offsides and extending their drives.

    I’m actually not assuming we beat Falcons twice and win every game we should . Not with the Bucs. I worry we just miss playoffs, but hope I’m wrong. Less room for error at this point when we were in good shape a fee weeks ago

  22. unbelievable Says:

    We will absolutely lose one of those games to the Falcons.

    So we have to win the other one plus beat Detroit and Minnesota just to get to 10-6, which hopefully is enough to limp into the 7th seed. Then we can fly to Green Bay and get our butts whooped in the cold.

  23. ModHairKen Says:

    Stone Hand Twins.

    Classic. True.

  24. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “…Evans, TD reception should have showed his teammates the kind of will and passion needed to beat a solid opponent like the Rams.”

    THIS is THE takeaway Ira. Off the top of my head, the only ones who came with the heart to play a postseason type of game were Evans, JPP and David. THAT is the most disappointing thing. THIS is what I thought Brady would bring to the table. Instead, he is one of the players lacking in heart and intelligence needed to win a big game. THIS is what I wanted to see last night. The Bucs have the talent, heck, they have more talent on offense than any team in the NFL, but where is the heart and brain function?!

    Speaking of intelligence, WTF was up with the defensive encroachment penalties?! Was White trying to do his best Tree Hugger impression?! Just NO excuse for this garbage play.

  25. Coburn Says:

    Yeah Harry they scored the first two TDs from drove extensions on 3rd down from offsides/encroachment…. Might have been a completely different ball game

  26. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Exactly Coburn, we gave them 14 pts, IMO. And while the D was impressive at times, do I need to point out Goof’s career day of 376 yards and 3 TDs?! But with the Bucs having three #1 level WRs, a HOFer in Gronk, a HOF in TB and a RB who WAS #3 in the NFL in rushing, we can’t keep up. How many 3 and outs did we have? SAD

  27. zzbuc Says:

    Agree 100% on everything Uncle Ira……Nailed it!!!

  28. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey Ira, who gives a crap? I listen to these games on radio, and have for 41 years. Bruce Arians and Tom Brady lost this game last night. Someone needs to taser Brady over idiot long throws, one which cost us the game. Arians allows Brady to change plays anytime Methuselah wants to. Arians also controls the running game. So, how come Rams QB scores 7 on their pick, and our QB only scores 3? The Rams beat us by 3, BTW, this team deserves to beat the snot out of the Chiefs, and the rest of their schedule. If they don’t, it’s cos 2 fossils throttled them: Arians and Brady.

  29. Mike Johnson Says: are correcto Mundo sir. But remember, Many Buc fans just like Ira will not tell you the truth. Look, brady is going into the question. But his time has come and gone. he still has skills. But things gotta be perfect for him. Not just fair to good. Any breakdown in our O line and he gets flustered. Where he gonna run? he can’t. The mans had umpteen surgeries. Arians no risk it bisquit theories are fried. brady just throws the long ball and prays. And our so called vaulted secondary? They suck. I luv my Bucs but Brady coming here was dead wrong. Just sit back a watch what a youthful mobile Qb can do when we play them chiefs/