Better Ditch The Run (Early)

January 20th, 2021

Insane halftime record at Lambeau.

Successful handicappers, such as Warren Sharp, are big on looking for trends. And boy does Sharp have a doozy of a trend he discovered.

Simply put, if the Bucs play in the first half at Green Bay like they did in New Orleans last week, the Bucs will be watching the Super Bowl on their TVs just like you and Joe.

The Bucs, after four weeks of seeing park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking Bucs quarterback Tom Brady slice up defenses at will, decided to go ground-and-pound. The offense was nothing like it had been in the previous four weeks.

Sharp is adamant the Bucs must quit running so much on first down and instead put the ball in the hands of Brady and let him win the game, or at least get a halftime lead. Why is that so important to Sharp?

In Aaron Rodgers’ career at Lambeau Field, he is 70-1 as a starter when leading at halftime. That is not a typo, folks.

In fact. that one loss was so shocking, then-Packers coach Mike McCarthy was fired after the game.

The Packers sling the ball around so much and so well, does it seem to you the Bucs can play old-school pound the rock and get away with it?

The last time the Bucs tempted such a fate was when they allowed the Rams to march down the field and get a field goal as time expired in the first half to take a 17-14 lead. Then, like they are now, the Rams are undefeated when leading at halftime under coach Sean McVay.

So the message is clear from Sharp for the Bucs on Sunday: Quit running so much on first down and instead use play-action passes and get up quickly on the Packers.

That is, unless the Bucs want to stay home to watch the Super Bowl.

Watch and listen to Sharp’s breakdown in the NBC/Rotoworld video below.

46 Responses to “Better Ditch The Run (Early)”

  1. FactTeller Says:

    Don’t worry we will be up at halftime. This is Manifest Destiny.
    Welcome back Vita!!

  2. Zwak Says:

    Most games we don’t show anything in the first half so the other team can’t make adjustments at halftime. Seems dangerous but somehow it’s been working.

  3. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Definitely a trend to pay attention to. We’re pretty good ourselves this year, as long as we’re not trailing at half time. Rogers is not a come from behind kinda guy, he’s only good as long as he’s ahead, and they want to crown him the MVP before he’s won the Super Bowl. Seems like he gets into quicksand pretty quickly. Gotta be aggressive on both sides of the ball but maintain control in order to get him in it as quickly as possible.

  4. dmatt Says:

    The key to beating Aaron Rodgers:
    Continue to protect Brady.
    Put our best corner on Devante Adams, jam him at the line.
    Put Devin White as a spie on Rodgers, get his face n rattle him.
    Protect the ball, no turnovers.
    Continue to let the secondary play aggressive.
    Ballhawk n gang tackle.
    Yes,more play action but we must run the ball.
    Shut down their run game.
    Please let Suh get in Rodgers head to the point of him focusing n worrying more about Suh than his receiver Adams. Rodgers doesn’t like Suh.
    Must cover n tackle when we punt the ball.
    Replace Mickens on special teams. He’s garbage n a waste. Let AB or Scotty take punts.
    Hit all extra points n field goals in cold weather.
    Get Gronk involved early n often.
    DON’T, DON’T, DON’T bite on Rodgers hard count.
    Minimize penalties.
    This is the roadmap to victory!

  5. JP09 Says:

    Bucs are going to crush the Packers. Suh and White are going to eat Rodgers alive. The Bucs just played to of the best Ds in the league and put 30 up on both. If they get in Rodgers head early he will crumble. Bucs by 17, I stand by that (I also hope I’m right because I have a lot of family up in packer country who are die hards). F the cold, everyone will feel warm when they’re beating the hell out of GB

  6. FairMinded Says:

    Running the ball as we did helped us control the clock. If this guy expects a shootout in frozen and snowy Lambeau he should find another job

  7. Darin Says:

    They know the key they did it already this season. They scored more points than him. Get it done anyway ya can!

  8. Bird Says:


    Thats filthy. Not surpising. Rodgers is one of all time greats even though he appears to be a tool in real life.

    I dont disagree. We should throw on first down more often. And i think we should run the ball more on 3rd and 1 or 2. Last game against saints we were chucking it 30-40 yards down field on short yardage. And i understand that is a good time to test a defense when they are expecting run. But we dont need to do it every series. We have to be efficient in green bay. They have home field / weather advantage just like we have heat advantage in summer time here.

    These bucs know how to grit out a win so lets go
    So happy for a lot of these guys who have been here a long time and barely had even a winning season. To go on road for two playoff wins, i think their confidence is flying high. Especially devin white and tom brady , the two leaders of offense and defense.

    Love to see aaron rodgers getting up from the ground early and often in this game.

  9. gotbbucs Says:

    I wonder if any of those 70 wins was against Brady? Im also guessing that only one of those wins was in a conference championship game. How could there possibly be more? Lucky for us we just happen to be quarterbacked by a guy with almost unbeatable playoff records.

    Rodgers is a front runner. Everyone knows he plays much better with a lead.

    I’ll take our guy against their guy in high pressure games.

  10. ClwJB Says:

    This is just a bad take overall- yeah, we ran more than we passed, got 4 TO’s BTW – playing on short fields against a top ranked defense – we ran the ball for over 130 yards and won by 10 points, what a horrible game plan….dude is an idiot

    Run the ball and keep AR on the sideline for about 39 of the 60 minute game and our chance of winning increases ten fold

    The Packer run D is not good, exploit it – if we finish with 40 runs and 28 passes, we will be hosting the SB

  11. Bobby M. Says:

    Sometimes the best defense for a guy like Rodgers is keeping him off the field. If we can run long sustained drives, the less damage he can do.

  12. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Do not back into a shell BL, let the Master throw. Please do not be bull headed. We will see, please no turtle football. GO BUCS!!!

  13. Formally Tampa 2 Says:

    You seriously agree with this guy Joe? Last week was a game plan for the Saints that won the game for us. Now this clown wants to tell The Bucs how to game plan the Pack? I don’t care if we win by 1 point, or if Brady puts up 60 points. As long as we get to the show!

  14. Mr no rings Says:

    Punch Rogers in the face early and wipe that smirk off his ugly mug and watch him curl up under his winter coat sitting by the heater wishing he was back home! Take it to EM Bucs!

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    dmatt … What you so eloquently described is the perfect game. I’d love to see our Bucs have a game like that, but alas, they come along quite rarely.

    Joe … I seriously doubt that you believe the title of this piece: ‘Better Ditch the Run (Early)’. Sharp might be a good handicapper, but he’s very myopic in his thinking IMO.

    The best way beat a team like the Packers is with a BALANCED ATTACK that keeps their defense off-balance. Bucs can do that VERY WELL because of how we’re built, but that doesn’t mean running on 1st down every series. Keeping them off-balance is the key IMO, and you don’t accomplish that by being predictable in your play-calling.

    The Pack lost 3 games this year. We whooped them 38-10, even though they owned the TOP 31:37 to 28:23. But we won the Turnover Differential 2-0. BTW, of the 17 games they’ve played, the Packers only scored less than 22 points ONCE: against our Bucs. They scored 30 or more points in 13 of their games this season. Oh and led the league in scoring with 509 pts (31.8 PPG). So kudos to our DEFENSE for the awesome job they did in our first meeting.

    The other 2 games the Packers lost were to the Vikings (28-22) at Lambeau and to the Colts (34-31 in OT) in Indy. BOTH teams ran the ball down their throats, just like we did when we beat them (35 rushes for 158 yds against only 28 passes, with 17 completed for 166 yds). That’s a run-pass ratio of 55%, a little run-heavy but overall a BALANCED ATTACK.

    The Vikings ran 34 times for 173 yds & 3 TDs, but only passed 14 times (11 complete for 160 yds & 1 TD). Green Bay lost the Turnover Differential 1-0 in that game. That’s a run-pass ratio of 71%.

    The Colts ran 37 times for 140 yds, and passed 36 times (24 complete for 288 yds & 3 TDs). Green Bay lost the Turnover Differential 4-2 in that game. That’s a run-pass ratio of 51%; pretty good BALANCE.

    Green Bay is susceptible to the run, and we can use that to set up the play-action AND deep passes. So no Joe, any talk of ‘ditching the run’ is bogus. We’ve got this.

  16. 6throundpick Says:

    TB12 won’t let his team get down in any situation. He’s been through them all and won. But he is not doing it it (by himself), THE TEAM is. No plays off. Watch the penalties. Go at football. Cheers!

  17. Mitch Says:

    Packers are only 6-5 since 2000 playing home playoff games. They have lost to two warm weather teams in that span ( Atlanta and 49ers)and Brady has been considered the greatest cold weather QB of all time posting a 13-2 record when his team plays below freezing and also in what’s considered inclement weather.

    I like the Bucs chances.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Good stuff Mitch. Warren Sharp should hire you to broaden his perspective.

  19. ManzielMadness Says:

    If you want to beat Green Bay then you need to rattle Aaron Rodgers. Hit him a couple times and he’ll fold like a wet paper towel.

  20. Davy Crocket Says:

    Bucs win 99% of the time they out score their opponents at the end of the game.

  21. RojoForever Says:

    Bucs beat Saints because of winning turnover margin 4-0, not because we ran on first down 70+% of the time. Our touchdowns came on possessions that started in Saints territory. Can’t count on that again vs Packers.

    Running on first down that much is not an efficient way to generate first downs. We were constantly facing 3rd and longs (though facing 3rd and 1 two diff times we threw deep passes that didn’t get caught). Don’t care about number of runs, just when we call them. 2nd and 8, 2nd and 9 is a horrendous position to be in, and we constantly put ourselves there on Sunday.

    Prior to Sunday Leftwich had been calling great games. Sunday was regression back to mid-season. I hope we look more like the Week 16 offense.

  22. bucfanforever Says:

    Well, the Bucs haven’t lost on the Road in the Playoffs since 2001 season, getting Tony Dungy fired.

  23. rrsrq Says:

    I’m pretty sure those first two series was to get the Saints thinking same ol Bucs, that was Bucs playing possum, you had to know play action was coming and since starting playoff Lenny, he needs touches to get into the game.

  24. Jersey buc Says:

    Stupid observation. While I agree a little about first play runs are predicable but if your breaking off 5-6 yards on first down your doing something. Especially this week in the cold a snow run game should def. be used a lot in this game! Packers D is ok they can be had. Bucs just did a great job the last 2 weeks moving the ball and scoring points against very good fronts.
    Run the ball hit ridgers over n over.

  25. alton green Says:

    I know this sounds repetitive but watching for 60 yrs and being a Tompa fan all the way back to him being the #6 QB at Mi, you’d think I have learned SOMETHING right? I feel the need to remind everyone that there is another team besides the Pack………….It’s the Bucs!!!!!!!! This will be Curly Larry and Moe’s ultimate challenge. Love him or hate him, what is the #1 reason the Pats have been to 9 SBs? (besides Brady?) Bill takes your biggest strength away like he did twice against the Chiefs and won both. You will still get burned but not all the time. Back to this post. In the 1st half, they ran the ball on 1st down CONSTANTLY. I was saying dirty words like “DAMN, do something different” EVERYBODY………………DO YOUR JOB!!! It still boggles my mind how teams leave Kelce wide open all the time

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    If the Packers play 2-deep safeties like the Saints did, run the ball down their throats.

  27. Cobraboy Says:

    I’ll be interested to hear how Vea and Brown practice today…

  28. Rayjay1122 Says:

    This is the type game where Gronk should be a key factor in the receiving game.

  29. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I agree that we need to run less on 1st down… least early in the game… action and high percentage passes will be successful.

    Our defense needs to stay very aggressive……I also like putting Devin White on Rodgers…..White has the speed to track him down….

  30. Chesapeake Bay Bucco Says:

    Read what the man said and didn’t say. He didn’t say ditch the run. What he said was, don’t try to run the ball very often on 1st down. There is a difference, people!

  31. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Packers beat the Rams by running the ball and protecting Rodgers – GB had 2 td drives almost exclusively by running the ball. Rams had 0 sacks and only 1 QB pressure.
    Bucs will win by stopping the run, pressuring Rodgers and winning the turnover battle.

  32. Coburn Says:

    Agreed Chesapeake. Just do.y be too predictable. Everu drive counts. Have a nice mix of running on first or second. Don’t run every first down. Mix in play action. It’s not about how fast or slow you score necessarily. It’s being efficient with your drives and not giving it back to him very often without putting up points first

  33. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I do not see the correlation between “abandoning the run” and being up by halftime. I agree more play action on 1st down.

    The running game:
    * keeps Rodgers off the field.
    * It balances the offensive attack.
    * The Saints had the #4 run defense whereas GB is #13
    * and of course, it sets up PLAY ACTION that we all want (hopefully BL too)

    I do see the Bucs playing the type of offensive game that they did vs WFT instead of the game against the slimy saints. The Saints 2-deep safeties with 7 in the box asked us to run. GB’s D is good, but not as good as the Aint’s

  34. Crack3rK Says:

    Joe, I disagree. If we can run and control the clock (and scrore), that keeps Rogers on ice. I don’t have a problem with it. If the Bucs can pass, pass. If they can run, run. Eat some clock. Win the game.

  35. R.O. Says:

    Running, passing it doesn’t matter, Score points whatever you do. You cannot waste possessions. We will not hold the Packers to 10 pts.

  36. Ftmyersbuc Says:

    The ONLY green bay loss at home this year to the vikings, this is how the Vikings won:

    11 of 14 kirk cousins passes completed for 160 yards.
    34 rushes for 173 yards.
    34 to 14 run to pass ratio.

    You absolutely come out running. Over and over and then hit them with play action. Obviously the ground and pound smashmouth football is very dependant on our defense. Hopefully we are smart enough to have plan B, Brady sling it 40 times. Imo its up to devin white and co.

  37. 813bucboi Says:

    ClwJB Says:
    January 20th, 2021 at 6:45 am
    This is just a bad take overall- yeah, we ran more than we passed, got 4 TO’s BTW – playing on short fields against a top ranked defense – we ran the ball for over 130 yards and won by 10 points, what a horrible game plan….dude is an idiot


    running on 1st down sets up everything else….and it wears the defense down while keeping our defense fresh….

    continue doing what you’re doing BL….


    GO BUCS!!!!!

  38. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Hard footballs bounce in mysterious ways. Cold hands slippery field conditions will make it hard to establish and consistancy. My co centric is GB runs same D as Saints so we come out running and when GB hits the field they play to Bucs weakness and come out throwing which undoubtably lead to lopsided scoring. BA & BL have their work cut out for themselves this week. I don’t care what Bowles does, he is a non factor the def will achieve if fueled by individual fire like last week.

  39. Pewter Power Says:

    This is stupid, the Saints defense is statistically better than the Packers in every category so no they didn’t throw it all over the field or dominate as if it was the lions. How about if Green Bay comes out and plays like they did earlier in the season they will be watching from home. Packers defense is garbage so don’t know why they think they will the same impact on us as the Saints did, both offenses struggled due to good defense

    Dummy that had that same potent offense when we played them. How about not letting a team out score you 38-0 after first quarter of a game sharp.

  40. 123urout Says:

    That’s why Warren Sharp is not a coach. Just sit back and relax dude!

  41. Luke Says:

    You r tio confident fellas… The Frozen Tundra awaits you. Go Pack go!

  42. Oneilbucs Says:

    If we don’t have a running game we are going to lose . We have to run the ball . I don’t know when are yall going to understand that if you don’t have a running game you’re going to lose more than you win regardless who the quarterback is . The saints shut down our passing game last week go look at the numbers . We ran the ball 33 times and our defense played well and that’s why we beat the saints . I know yall going to say Brady had 2 touchdown passes but one was lead by the running game and the other was because of our defense . Run the ball !!!!!

  43. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Luke, hope you come back Sunday night for your slice of humble pie!🍰

  44. SlyPirate Says:

    Dear Bruce Arians,

    Ditch the run game.


    Matt Le Fleur

  45. Godlovesbucs Says:

    Dang, watching the game we were all screaming to run more often. The problem was passing too often IMO. At 1 point we were 1-6 on 3rd down conversions with an average yardage to go of 4.4 yards. Most of the attempts were long balls. Meanwhile rojo averaged 4.8 on the game and hasnt averaged less than 4.4 since the rams game…

  46. Rob Tanner Says:

    It’s true what Warren Sharp wrote. The names the damn Super Bowl trophy 🏆 with his name, he was such a good coach……. wait a second.