Five Things

December 21st, 2020

Bucs WR Antonio Brown acknowledges Bucs fans as he leaves the field following the Bucs’ 31-27 win Sunday in Atlanta.

Happy Victory Monday! The Bucs decided to give us an early Christmas present yesterday. Or was it the choking Dixie Chicks?

Flipping the Switch.

Thinking back on yesterday’s Bucs win over the Dixie Chicks, it sort of reminded Joe of doing shots. At first, nothing happens. But then — BOOM! — you get rocked!

The Bucs were about as lame as white bread in the first half. But in the second half, they exploded like you just bit into a jalapeno.

The Bucs looked like the old Bucs, as if it was the last week or two of Raheem Morris or Lovie Smith’s final season. Just punching the clock hoping to get the game over with. If Joe didn’t know better, Joe would have thought the Bucs were all hungover.

It reminded Joe of the time leaky, sleepy Josh Freeman sleepwalked through the first quarter of a game against the Jets in New Jersey.

The Bucs couldn’t do a damn thing.

And then the second half came. Wow. Even though the Bucs have an ugly habit of first-quarter failure, in the second half the Bucs looked absolutely elite. Like they could hang with anyone including the Saints.

The second half yesterday looked exactly what fans expected from the team’s all-star roster.

Do the Bucs need to find a fix to this? Hell yeah. But yesterday showed that so long as this team doesn’t dig a hole too deep, it can rip off touchdowns in a hurry.

The second half? It was impressive.

Dominant Game.

Joe thinks later this month, Bucs inside linebacker Devin White will hear an NFL official from say, “Mr. White, congratulations on being named to the 2020 Pro Bowl.”

Yes, Joe knows the Pro Bowl game in Las Vegas is canceled. That doesn’t mean players won’t still be voted onto the rosters through votes of players, coaches and fans (too many Pro Bowl bonuses in NFL contracts for the process to be elminated).

Joe has been waiting since last year for White, who is very good against the run, to show why Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians and AC/DC-loving Bucs general manager Jason Licht selected White No. 5 overall in the 2019 draft.

In the fourth quarter yesterday, White blew up. He was a monster and just about single-handedly owned the Dixie Chicks.

White’s three fourth-quarter sacks of Matty Ice were key to keeping Atlanta from matching the Bucs’ scoring. His team-leading 12 tackles demonstrated he was all over the field. His four tackles-for-loss showed that he camped out in the Dixie Chicks’ backfield.

In Joe’s eyes, this was the best a Bucs linebacker has played in years. Yes, that’s saying a lot because Lavonte David has had outstanding games (at San Diego in 2016 when he had a pick-six springs to mind). And Kwon Alexander had two monster games in 2016.

A reader of Joe’s on Twitter thought that White’s game was the best he has seen from a Bucs linebacker since 2002 when Derrick Brooks was a spy on Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick and Brooks hounded him all day on every play so badly that Vick was totally thrown off his game.

Brooks was constantly on Vick’s tail and in his mind.

So yesterday in Joe’s eyes, White had a coming-of-age game. If he plays like that the rest of the way including the playoffs, White is going to be a holy terror.

Call a Consultant.

Joe has written this twice already. Joe also wrote this often when Raheem Morris was the head coach and the team weekly found itself starting slowly only to adjust and catch fire, too often too late.

The Bucs better fix these slow starts and fast. It’s Christmas week. This is the Bucs unless Bucco Bruce Arians and his staff can find out why the team starts like it does.

Joe thinks it is as simple as bad gamelans. But why and how can they be bad week after week? Joe understands the Bucs are getting tired of everyone sniping at the team’s slow starts. Well, people are harping on this because it is both accurate and a major issue unless you want to be one-and-done in the playoffs.

Shoot, even Arians noted yesterday it’s going to bite the Bucs in the arse big time.

“You’re not going to beat those good teams [in the playoffs] playing this way,” Arians said. “We’ve got to play better in the first half than we played today.”

Arians admitted he’s frustrated because he cannot find out why the team starts so slow.

How about, as Joe has suggested, Arians call one of his two old coaching buddies, Bill Cowher or Father Dungy and have them look over tape (for a fee, of course) and see if they noticed something that Arians and his staff are missing.

Or even Wade Phillips?

It’s nice to think that all the Bucs have to do is flip a switch and they transform from impotent to lights out. That rare in the playoffs.

Remember, the Bucs did this to a four-win team yesterday known for choking. Playoff teams aren’t known for choking.

Hello Antonio!

There has been a lot of chatter by many Bucs fans that think the team signing furniture-tossing, bicycle-throwing receiver Antonio Brown killed the Bucs. Ever since he was signed, the Bucs’ offense has been awful in the first quarter.

The Bucs have now gone seven games scoring only one touchdown in the first quarter. With this loaded roster, that’s sinful.

And until the last two games, Brown has had minimal impact. Many fans think he was taking snaps away from Scotty Miller, who is a legit deep threat and an apparent favorite of Tom Brady’s.

Well, yesterday Brown showed why the Bucs wanted him so badly. Brown just blew past A.J. Terrell for a 46-yard touchdown that proved to be the game-winner.

“[I’m] extremely grateful to be here with Tampa Bay and have the opportunity to live out my dream and play football,” Brown said of the play. “It’s something I love to do.”

That play was not only beautiful, but it was exactly the type of impact play Bucs fans expected from Brown.

Let’s hope that is not the last one.

Underrated Play.

Lost in Brown’s touchdown and White’s sacks and Mike Evans having a helluva game was a sweet play by rookie safety Antoine Winfield.

With over nine minutes left and the score tied at 24, the Dixie Chicks had a second down on the Bucs-27. Ryan seemed to have Calvin Ridley open in the far right corner of the end zone. Ridley had run up the left seam into the end zone and cut right.

Trailing him was Winfield who, though he looked beaten, judged the ball and tipped it away just before it got to Ridley.

White sacked Matty Ice on the next snap and Atlanta had to settle for a field goal for a 27-24 lead. Atlanta would not score again.

“Great job,” Arians said of the play. “He had a hell of a break on that ball – [Calvin] Ridley had come all the way across the field and ‘Twon’ (Winfield) beat him across.

“He’s a heck of a player. He read [Ridley’s] eyes, he saw where he was going, [saw] that ball was going to be in the air for a while and he didn’t panic. A lot of times DBs will panic and they can’t run as fast. He doesn’t panic – he just goes and makes the play.”

It sort of reminded Joe of the play Winfield made on the last play of the game to seal the win over the Giants to preserve a win.

Both Tristan Wirfs and Winfield are such good rookies that the rest of the draft this past spring could be a washout and it would still be a kickarse draft by Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht.

35 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Slow starts are simply no bueno anymore.


  2. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    He brings a element of YAC our other receiver Do Not have… a early Christmas present for Buc fans and just in time…
    PS.. that will help everything else on offense too !

  3. Bobby M. Says:

    We continue to win ugly…..but its going to get us into the playoffs. Losing pretty with 5000 yds passing….was still losing. A game like yesterday was the exact type of game we would have lost the past 5 yrs under Winston. Sure he would have rallied us close to a comeback but he never finished the job.

    I’ve said this many times….real recognizes real in the NFL. You can see when Tom Brady gets going, the rest of the team picks it up, particularly the defense. Our defense lives and dies on how Brady is playing for some reason.

  4. Easy Says:

    Leftwich needs to have his play calling duties stripped.

  5. Roy T. Buford Says:

    The slow starts will very likely equate to one-and-done in the post season, assuming the Bucs win at least one of their last two games and get to post season. Of course they should win at least one (both really), but nothing is a given. You simply cannot get down 17 points to even a bad team and expect to win when it’s really needed.

    While Winston dug the team a hole with his turnovers, slow starts dig a hole now, and they are across the board, not just on one guy.

    A consultant will do no good if he comes in and tells the Bucs what they most likely already know: their coaching sucks. The critique is already out there. There is no “aha moment” some guy is going to come in and uncover. BA is a so-so coach and BL is not a factor for any good team. You don’t need a consultant to know that.

  6. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    A win is a win, is a win, so we’ll take it!

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    I was just dumbfounded watching yesterday’s game. Dr Jekyll-Mr Hyde once again. Week after week, same drama … on BOTH sides of the ball. Might work against 4-10 teams like Falcons & Panthers, but didn’t work against winning teams like the Saints & Rams with quality offenses AND defenses.

    In our wins we’ve scored an average of 34.2 PPG. In our losses our scoring has dropped to 18.6 PPG. And ALL of our 5 losses have come against teams with winning or break-even records to date (49-21 on the season). ALL of our 9 wins except 1 (Packers) have come against teams with losing or break-even records to date (51-75 on the season).

    What’s so befuddling is WHY? Our offense is ranked #7 in Points Scored; we score a LOT of points, 401 pts in 14 games to be precise (28.6 PPG average).

    Our defense is ranked #12 in Points Allowed; we’ve given up a lot fewer points this year (321 pts through 14 games … 22.9 PPG) than last year at this point (398 pts through 14 games … 28.4 PPG). That’s a significant improvement with essentially the same personnel, BUT … they’re taking far too long to get started in games for some reason.

    Maybe you’re right Joe. Maybe we do need a fresh set of eyes to look at what we’re doing BEFORE the playoffs start. But we need to look at BOTH sides of the ball, not just the offense or just the defense.

  8. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    Arians… “the team needs to start quicker”

    Team… murmer murmer murmer

    Consultant “We NEED to start quicker”

    Team – “That’s a great idea”

    Waste of money

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Tyler Johnson & Keyshawn Vaughn won’t be washouts…..

  10. Mike Says:

    The Bucs are going to figure this out, and when they do, oh man, watch out NFL!

  11. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    I’m confused. Is it REALLY play calling or execution (i.e. Brady missing receivers wide open, etc.)?

  12. Beeej Says:

    BA has to start making the ‘all 22’ films available to is guys Monday morning that we may better advise him

  13. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Certainly agree with befuddling. Let me confuse the issue even more. You listed the games where we clearly brought less than our A game in the first half against very talented teams and we never really recovered.

    OTOH….We absolutely dominated and appeared to even outclass Green Bay. How’s that for befuddling.

    We’ve come from two 17 point deficits at halftime…admittedly against less than quality teams where we could make up for the bad starts. Still that little seed of belief in the back of the Buc’s heads isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The belief that we’re never out of it might come in handy if we’re trailing Green Bay by ten at Lambeau.

    Michael Strahan made an interesting observation…he felt like the Bucs simply lack a sense of urgency in the first half. I theorized this last week using an anchor who waited until the last minute to get her scripts ready for the 11PM because she seemed to thrive under pressure.

    Perhaps our ID is that of the old Cleveland Browns of the 60’s. “The Kardiac Kids”.

  14. Marine Buc Says:

    Tom Brady continues to show us what a real leader looks like at the QB position.

    If we kept Winston at QB we would be 4-12…

  15. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    The slow starts are largely on BL. As I said before, look at the difference between how the Rams ran thru our defense and how slow the Bucs offense is to start – those are the scripted plays that are SUPPOSED TO BE as close to money as you can expect.

    But, Brady seems to find a way to throw a horrible pass to contribute to the many 3 and outs. They so badly need to get this fixed. As we all must recognize, the Bucs won’t get away with this against good teams in the playoffs.

  16. Reach87 Says:

    Fire leftwich. Hilarious. Say it again, to yourself, in the mirror. Sad. Go Bucs!

  17. Ant Says:

    Uh, is Joe now back pedaling his railing of Antonio Brown? All I saw above was mention of bucs fan’s dislike for the AB addition to the roster. Nothing about Joe’s whole article bad mouthing the decision to move AB to the roster.

  18. Ftmyersbuc Says:

    2 things

    Aj Terrell was not the cb AB81 beat for the long td. It was #44 Hall.

    Also all the complaining people do about Devin white can’t cover and you don’t mention his 2 pbu’s? Almost as impressive as his 3 sacks since he cant cover he was doing the impossible. We know he can blitz the a gap.

  19. chris L Says:

    probably the most excited i have been after a bucs win since beating the saints in 2016 to go to 8-5.

    devin white missed a huge tackle on third down first drive which killed us but great to see him show up when it mattered. now swat that ball out!!

    in terms of the slow starts, i agree but something we need to consider as well, whether we start with the ball or not, teams are driving up and down the field on us on long drives which is contributing. offense has sucked but when you give the other team long drives consistently, this will happen. also, how many times now because of the defense, have we only had like one posession in the first quarter. i think that is skewing it but even when we crushed the raiders and packers, we gave up leads early on defense. bowles needs to figure something out. we cannot let teams take leads on us.

  20. Boltsfan17 Says:

    It’s all about Brady. This team only goes as far he can carry it. Too many holes defensively and maddeningly inconsistent run game make for poor starts. They’ve beaten only one good team all season. That’s no accident.

  21. miken Says:

    I don’t get these slow starts on Both sides of the ball! Green Bay and San diego could have been losses without a big turnover by the D. I’m worried our playoff game will be over at half

  22. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    With all the rotten things that rotten person has done, brown should be allowed to “do something he loves!!” … He should have been ostracised, shamed and shunned from the league to send a message to the rest of the league that these arrogant, ignorant and low IQ fools who can run fast with a football are NOT vital to a happy and successful life!! We don’t HAVE TO HAVE them out there and Brown should have been stripped of the ability to do something he loves and make that much money while the rest of the country suffers!! Just another example of rules for thee but not for me!! TD.WIN

  23. Craig Says:

    Leftwich’s idea of scripting the start of the game is to run up the middle, 5 yards pass, and a long pass to one of two receivers on the go route. Rinse and repeat for the first half.

    That was particularly bad yesterday because of a back-up LT. There wasn’t time to wait and see if a receiver could get separation, even though they are both double covered. So third down is a throw away.

    Need to start the game with slants, natural pick wheel routes and other short stuff. That allows to team to get in a groove, not a rut.

  24. Dr. ClodHopper Says:

    This team has no sense of urgency in the beginning. Arians needs to bring that sense of urgency. Work on it all week. Every week. It looks like he brings a sense of casual calmness.

    I think during the week hes too busy thinking about how its 5 o’clock somewhere and the team is picking up on it.

    You cant blame one coordinator when its the entire team. This is Arians job to fix it.

  25. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Excellent observation.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Wirfs and Winfield look to be excellent picks.

    Vaughn looked disappointing yesterday, but he’s barely played at all. Would love to see Tyler Johnson involved more as I think he could be a gem, but only so many mouths to feed on offense.

    White came on real strong during that 4th quarter, but was mostly MIA in the 1st half including a few badly missed tackles. I’d like to see him play more consistently considering he was the 5th pick in the draft.

  27. TampaTown Says:

    What’s really weird about the slow starts is it’s both sides of the ball. And then it’s both sides that get going.

  28. Tbbucs3 Says:

    “If we kept Winston at QB we would be 4-12”

    Marine Buc, how are you this delusional? The Bucs last year were 7-9 with a worse defense and a far worse kicking game last year (that cost us 2 games).

    Winston would’ve given us at least 9 wins if not more.

  29. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Winston Apologist right there ^^^^^^^

  30. orlbucfan Says:

    This talented team is hamstrung by two fossils: the HC and the QB. One came out of retirement. They both should do so at the end of the season. In spite of both, Bucs will finish at 11-5. Go figure. 😊🏈

  31. Listnfrmafar Says:

    To All u Brady doubters I have watched him for 20 yrs. Yes I am in NE, you have got yourself a winner, to compare him to back up Winston is ridiculous and shows u know nothing about the game. Your slow start issue is obvious, rudementry plays Brady wouldn’t call in a back yard game with his son. Play action, crossing and slant patterns and receivers that do not know what when to or where to be when they break their pattern. Be grateful for what u have. PS. Your coaches SUCK!

  32. Grizam Says:

    They can either play a complete game like last weeks’s 2nd half on both sides of the ball or be 1-and done in the playoffs period nuff said..

  33. Ericb Says:

    Its called adjustments after the half…the pats were trailing in many games and always came back thats why brady had the most comebacks of anyone..the game is 4 qrts…BA doesnt need to freak out and throw long bombs the first half…calm down manage the game..manage the time…the game is 4 qrtz…if the original game plan isnt working have a back up…the game is all about managing time..bucs will be fine exploit thier weaknesses take away thier strengths

  34. Zack Says:

    The third person thing tho.. joe says go tampa

  35. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    If Arians doesn’t use presnap reads what makes you think he game plans for the other teams or Bowels for that fact. It seems like they both script the entire first half and then change it up at the half when it doesn’t work as usual.