Five Things

January 25th, 2021

Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians celebrates as the Bucs win the NFC Championship.

If you are like Joe, the only reason you fell asleep last night is the aid of our good old friend alcohol. So let’s get rolling on this beautiful Victory Monday.  Something tells Joe you will need more than a mug of java to get through the morning.


There’s a couple of times Joe told himself last night, “The Buccaneers are going to the Super Bowl,” and damn if Joe didn’t get a little choked up and had to clear his throat.

Never in Joe’s wildest dreams did Joe think 2020 would happen like this, and Joe’s not even factoring in the virus. The Bucs get a Hall of Fame quarterback, obtained a Hall of Fame tight end, signed a guy with Hall of Fame talent at wide receiver and fought through bouts of invisible pass rushing and less than stellar secondary play and here we are: The Bucs are in the Super Bowl!

Before and at the combine in February, Bucco Bruce Arians kept saying if he had a quarterback who didn’t turn the ball over, the Bucs would be winners, even if they kept Mr. Entertainment, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston.

Arians was talking about this so much that Joe asked Arians if he could pick up the phone and call any quarterback to join him in Tampa Bay which quarterback would that be, Arians didn’t blink an eye.

“Tom Brady.”

Everyone at the combine scoffed and laughed. Joe means everybody (except Joe). Nevermind that Arians might have been guilty of tampering. What coach didn’t want Brady? Problem was, the Belicheats still could have easily kept him.

They passed.

And then everything started to fall into place. At times, it was like some ADD guy you know in your fantasy league was picking Bucs players.

Only this time it was very real, and damned if Arians didn’t get this team to mold together just at the tight time. There is no question the Bucs since the bye week are playing their best football.

In fact, the Bucs are playing better than any team in the NFL, with the possible exception of the Chiefs.

So yeah, it’s difficult for Joe to say “Bucs” and “Super Bowl” in the same sentence. Because only weeks ago it sounded so ridiculous and absurd.

But it is true.

The Bucs are going to the Super Bowl.

The difference in coaches.

One reason the Bucs have stunk for so long — the NFL’s fire hydrant in a dog park — was the Bucs kept picking lousy coaches.

Here is a quick example: The Bucs bottomed out with coaches when they hired Lovie Smith. It fries Joe’s brain how a guy who had so many years in football and in the NFL was friggin’ blind when it came to judging talent. He. Was. Brutal.

But it is also the mindset difference between Lovie and Arians. Compare:

Lovie: In a 19-17 home loss to the Rams in 2014 (the Bucs were winless at home that year), the Bucs had multiple timeouts and the ball on their own 40 with 11 seconds left before halftime. Lovie ran the clock out. After the game, Lovie was asked why not throw a long ball and maybe get 20 or more yards to attempt a field goal. His response? (This is a direct quote) “I didn’t want to put more points on the board.”

Can you imagine?

Arians: On fourth down with 13 seconds left in the half, ball on the Green Bay-45, Brady passed to Playoff Lenny for six yards. Timeout. Eight seconds left. Then Brady throws a 39-yard bomb to Scotty Miller and the Bucs take a 21-10 lead at halftime and hung on to win by five points. That touchdown was the difference between the Bucs playing in the Super Bowl and watching the Super Bowl on their couches at home. Arians said after the game of not punting and going for it on fourth down, “We didn’t come here not to take chances to win the game. With the timeout … I wanted to come out of there with points.”

To Joe, the two quotes from Bucs head coaches are the difference between a loser and a winner. A game only offers so many chances to score points. Once passed on, you don’t get that chance in a game again.

A major reason the Bucs are headed to the Super Bowl in their backyard? The Bucs finally hired a smart coach whose staff could coach up and develop players.

Vita Vea makes big impact.

Boy, how much did the Bucs miss Vita Vea? Joe doesn’t think it was a coincidence that both NFL sack king Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul were on a five-game sackless streak each. And the next big guy on the defensive line, Ndamukong Suh, had one sack in those same five games.

The Bucs were not going to beat Green Bay without a pass rush. That’s all there is to it.

On multiple sacks of Aaron Rodgers, Vea was getting unreal pressure up the middle. It left Rodgers with nowhere to run and proved to be the perfect mousetrap for Shaq and JPP, the duo accounting for five sacks Sunday.

You have to imagine that Vea’s workload may double in two weeks playing the Chiefs.

By the way, Vea didn’t play against the Chiefs back in November when the teams first met.

Explosive weapon.

For some reason, Joe is as guilty at this as the next guy. When you think deep threats or explosive plays, Joe thinks of Scotty Miller or Antonio Brown. Maybe Mike Evans.

Chris Godwin, for some reason, Joe always considers more of an intermediate receiver.

Well yesterday, Godwin was the most explosive player on the Bucs. Of their 10 longest plays from scrimmage, Godwin was involved in four of them, almost half.

Godwin had catches of 52, 19, 14 and 14-yards.

It appears Godwin seems to be past most of his recent case of the dropsies. Joe has to believe some of those were in part due to his healing broken finger.

It just goes to show not only how important Godwin is to the Bucs, but that he sometimes flies under the radar below more flashy and more established stars — though one could argue Godwin is a star.

DEE-FENSE (boom… boom)!

The Packers had their chances. Oh boy, did they have their chances. But that Bucs defense made plays when it had to.

The game seemed ripe for the Packers to get take a lead the fourth quarter. That didn’t happen because the defense slammed the door on the Pack.

The Bucs had the ball first in the fourth quarter nursing a five-point lead. The Packers had three possessions in the fourth quarter.

The result of those three possessions? Punt, punt, field goal.

If Joe would have told any Bucs fan that the Bucs would be leading by just five points in the fourth quarter and the Bucs defense would hold Green Bay to a field goal, you likely would have ordered Joe to put the Big Storm beer down.

Now with the Bucs going to the Super Bowl, Joe wants nothing more than to chug Big Storm beer for two days straight.

The Buccaneers are going to the Super Bowl!

39 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Godwin was due to do well yesterday, as was Gronk, and both made key plays. Good, because Evans and Brady were up and down at times.

    Speaking of Coaching:
    Some of the Green Bay fan blogs were this week talking about how the Bucs had the better roster, but the Packers had the better coaching and that LeFleur would out-coach Arians. We’ve seen in many cases in the first ¾ of the season where Bucs coaching was sometimes full of head-scratching decisions. Well, let’s compare two key plays where coaching decisions (or QB influence?) likely made the difference yesterday. Bucs went for and got the TD with seconds left in the first half to put them up by 11 points. On the other sideline, LeFleur chose to take it out of Rodger’s hands on 4th and goal down by 8 in favor of a plan to maybe put it back into his hands soon after with maybe a minute plus and some time outs (odd) to get a go-ahead TD. How much the Bucs call was Brady? How much of it on the Packers side was Rodgers? How much does each QB actually influence his head coach? Rodgers clearly didn’t seem to agree with his coach’s call in his post-game presser, and they are speculating in Green Bay today that maybe Rodgers is done with Green Bay, maybe even retiring. As we know, one reason why Brady wanted out of New England…. Meanwhile, however it is that BA/Brady are making the coaching decisions, don’t change it now!

  2. Bobby M. Says:

    Great game…..thought it could go either way up to the last few minutes. That’s the beauty of the playoffs, if you get in…..anything can happen but step 1 is you must get in. Its been a great season to be a Bucs fan and win or lose, we know we’ll have a contender next year as well.

  3. Mark2001 Says:

    One correction… It is 2021. Expect us to have a much better year in so many ways, then 2020.

  4. richbucsfan Says:

    It was great to see Brady back away from the idiot TV guy to include his teammates. He’s a team guy and that is one of the big things in his career.

  5. Babylon Says:

    Best short I’ve read joe. With the best tag ever-
    We’re going to the Super Bowl

  6. Say What Says:

    I agree on the Arian’s coaching piece. He has simply been fantastic. That said, I would like to know the thought process on taking, instead of declining, the encroachment penalty on GB late in the game, when it was second down and 1 yard to go, and green bay had 3 time outs remaining. I get that the conventional wisdom might say that you take the penalty to get the 1st down, but that also allowed GB to have 3 time outs for 3 downs, instead of having to burn a TO once the Bucs would have inevitably gotten the first down on second (or perhaps third) and one. IMO there is no question that Lafleur instructed his guys to jump offsides on that play (a really smart coaching move). I think we should have declined the penalty in that instance.

    Also, I would be curious to know what was going on when Mickens took the kick off after the GB field goal and slid down to the ground with 2:02 remaining, giving GB the benefit of the 2-minute warning on defense (essentially a 4th timeout).

  7. AtlBuc Says:

    I hopes this stops the over hyping of playoffs choke artist Aaron Rogers

  8. Vico Says:

    Congrats everyone, two weeks to go.

  9. Mike C Says:

    I was Drunk as a Skunk, And I was wondering why the F%#$ the pack kicked that late FG, Was happy to see it, could not believe it.

  10. Phil Says:

    Leave writing about your drinking problem to Hemmingway Joe. What a pathetic response to success.

  11. Bird Says:

    6. Ndog is a scarred moron with lady parts

    Can you believe “the cult” is afraid to even post on here cause the bucs are going to the super bowl. They cant even be happy for bucs cause they are going there with brady and not winston

  12. geno711 Says:

    @Roy T. Buford Says:

    I saw the same quotes from the Green Bay fans regarding Arians and LeFleur as coaches.

    Maybe LeFleur will be the Marty Schottenheimer of this generation of coaches.

  13. Bird Says:

    Yes sir.

    Congrats joes on covering this crazy 2020-2021 season

    The chiefs are hot and mahommes is probably best player in nfl
    But we just beat 3 good teams on the road. They are beatable.

    We should almost call the super bowl an away game since not the best record at ray jay.

  14. mg Says:

    take a pill
    and chill

  15. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Vita Vea made an enormous difference!

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    For me, that defensive stand late in the game where Packers were 1st & goal…..that was huge….
    Also…..individual performances added up.
    SMB, Whitehead, Scotty, Shaq, JPP…..Johnson’s catch on 3rd down….and that incredible play design on Gronk’s screen pass….

    Bucs putting daggers in the hearts of Packers.

  17. HarlemBuc Says:

    Yeah Joe you definitely missed one… a year after Jameis led this damn near the same roster to a 7-9 record with a whole bunch of empty yards and 30 interceptions, Tom Brady came in here and maximized the potential of this team. Don’t leave that out bro!!! We were a quarterback away from all this success!!!

  18. D-Rome Says:

    Bucs made it to the Super Bowl without Antonio Brown and Antoine Winfield. The Bucs will be stronger when those two are back!

  19. D-Rome Says:

    Yeah Joe you definitely missed one… a year after Jameis led this damn near the same roster to a 7-9 record with a whole bunch of empty yards and 30 interceptions, Tom Brady came in here and maximized the potential of this team. Don’t leave that out bro!!! We were a quarterback away from all this success!!!

    100%. It’s laughable that re-signing Jay-Miss was even a debate a year ago. I have been very hard against Jason Licht over the years but the most important decision he has ever made is to not make the typical Bucs decision and sign a bad player to a bad contract.

    You’re right, outside of a few players this was largely the same team.

  20. Leighroy Says:

    Phil, this is JoeBucsFan, not the Tampa yacht club. Go on, get out of here!

    The contrast between Arians and Lovie is poignant, but I do believe Brady’s excellence has tempered back from the extreme no risk it no biscuit. The risks are now measured, calculated and executed instead of gunslinging with reckless abandon. It’s a beautiful marriage!

  21. DoooshLaRue Says:

    What about Old Stale Biscuit Realist?
    Not reading his tired BS is almost as satisfying as going to the Super Bowl!

    Let’s take a moment to remember all those d!ckheads that told us how bad we were gonna be…….Death to the Nuthugger Brigade!!!!!!

    Go Biscuit!!!!!

  22. 813bucboi Says:

    BL put it on mike pettine…

    bowles new wrinkle on defense was VV…lol…

    BA had everyone ready to go…great work fellas!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!

  23. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Vea is the last piece of the puzzle. His return puts us over thr top!

    I ‘ain’t afraid of no Chief! 🙄🙄🥶😈😵

  24. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Arians should make a quote from the movie Troy a catch phrase for the team. “Buccaneers do you know what lies in wait for you in two weeks??? NFL IMMORTALITY!!!! TAKE IT, IT’S YOURS!!!!! I can think of another quote for Steve Smith, “YOU SACK OF WINE!!!” For Aaron Rogers from Marked For Death, “STOP DA BLOOD CLOT CRYING!!!!” in your best Jamaican accent.

  25. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Actually Devin White should say that quote!!!

  26. Joe Says:

    One correction… It is 2021. Expect us to have a much better year in so many ways, then 2020.

    Actually, the correction is incorrect.

    It’s still the 2020 season even though the calendar says “2021.” For example, the Bucs were the Super Bowl champions for the 2002 season, even though they won the Super Bowl in January 2003.

    The NFL is not like hockey or basketball where the season is referred to as “the 2020-2021 season.”

  27. PSL Bob Says:

    Joe – “It left Rodgers with nowhere to run and proved to be the perfect mousetrap for Shaq and JPP.” Nice writing! Love it.

  28. David Says:

    Say what…
    I understand with Green Bay was thinking with the encroachment penalty.
    I also understand the Bucks taking the penalty. You HAVE to just take the first down.
    Now you have four more downs.
    If you don’t take the first down and you’re suddenly stuffed on second & one and it becomes third & four, it’s a major problem

  29. Buc1987 Says:

    Phil…one day at a time.

    Go Bucs!!!!(All the way to the SB)

  30. Mike C Says:

    I do question why they had no RB in on the first Int, Bucs had a lead, Pack would have to respect the run.

  31. Buddha Says:

    If the buccaneers would not have accepted the penalty, the Packers would have just done it again.

  32. Free falls Says:

    I have been a fan since bucs beat raiders in the 2003 super bowl. I have had so much faith in this team since Brady came on board. He was like a hummingbird feeder by drawing in superstar players to give the bucs best line up of all time. We already had some great players but Brady was the key to make everyone shine and bring those talents to there full potential. This is the ultimate team and they have more talent than any other team, that’s why they are going to the super bowl. The chiefs better watch out because this is our year to shine. We’re the first team to ever host a super bowl in our own stadium. This is a sign for us to be the champions again.

  33. bojim Says:

    The shot not taken is a miss.

  34. Ericb Says:

    Alls i got to say is hell yeah!!!! Brady is the man the defense stepped yo and we did this missing two very key players lets pray for them to heal up and lets win this damn thing!!!! Were gonna win if our defense keeps up this intensity!!!! Damn good job boys!!!!! Oh we do need a little more running bc those ints will hurt us but come out and score points in first half is crucial also …LFGO BUCS TAMPA BAY ALL THE WAY

  35. mark2001 Says:

    Joe…that is a technicality. We weren’t playing football in early January 2020. You are conflating two different things…a year and a football season. Would be nice if the disease didn’t start until “training camp” in the 2020 football season and ended at the end of the 2020 football season. But unfortunately… WWII American mortality numbers…which I hated to mention many months ago… a disease I hope will be in the rear view mirror by the start of the 2021 football season.

  36. Ken G Says:

    I couldn’t visit this site for a long time because of the Winston loving America’s QB stuff. To see the difference a QB made this year is just delightful. For however long the run lasts, this season has been a pleasure. Even when there are mistakes, it seems they aren’t the same mistakes. So much different than the prior 45 seasons of Buccaneer football.

    Congratulations to everyone. If they can figure out a way to cover Hill, Bucs might have another Lombardi.

  37. ClodHopper Says:

    I just want to add that the way the end of the half ended was pretty remarkable not just with the points and the decision but how they executed the whole thing.
    Those last 20 seconds there were many different options to consider and many opportunities to make a big mistake and they played it all out flawlessly at a crucial time. I thought it was marvelous and fantastic chess like ending.

  38. R.O. Says:

    It was 8 pts when we held them to a FG. We’ve left a lot of points on the field in our 3 Playoff games. We cannot do that in the SB….

  39. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome article. I don’t care about his stats, God just doesn’t make many humans like Vita Vea. Hell of a player.