Play-Action = Success

January 4th, 2021

Surprising stat.

Joe has noticed something different since the bye week.

On first down, rather than a plunge up the middle, the Bucs are having park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking Bucs quarterback Tom Brady use a play-action pass.

And it just so happens when the Bucs offense quit being vanilla, the offense exploded. And Joe isn’t a big believer in coincidences.

Well, Joe’s good friend Mike Tanier of Pro Football Network dug up an interesting stat. Tanier is a former high school math teacher and one of those rare cats who’s good at math and writing (one of Tanier’s former pupils was a kid named “Joe Flacco”).

Tanier is also one of the high priests of Football Outsiders, a stat outfit Joe greatly respects.

With the stat Tanier cited in a write-up on the Browns and Baker Mayfield facing the Steelers in the playoffs — Tanier did not link to it so Joe will guess it’s from Football Outsiders —  he noted there is only one team/quarterback combo that has a better efficiency rating on play-action passes than the Bucs/Brady. And that would be the Packers/Aaron Rodgers.

Browns’ passers (mostly Mayfield) entered Week 17 ranked third in the NFL with 9.6 yards per attempt on play-action passes and third to the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers with an efficiency rating on play-action of 122.1. Play-action, the Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt two-headed backfield, and an offensive line led by Jack Conklin, Wyatt Teller, and Joel Bitonio can all do their part to keep the Browns on schedule and slow the Steelers pass rush.

Well, this could also work for the Bucs.

Brady is lethal with play-action. The Bucs, despite popular local opinion, have a strong offensive line. Saturday’s playoff opponent, the Redskins, have a ferocious defensive line.

What Tanier says the Browns can do to thwart the Steelers, the Bucs can also accomplish to stunt the progress of the Redskins’ defensive front and Chase Young in particular.

19 Responses to “Play-Action = Success”

  1. LVMYBUCS Says:

    Hey guys did anyone see the redzone attempt when the score was like 30 something and after Brady throws a incomplete pass he looks over to the side line and SAYS (read his lips) THAT WAS A STUPID PLAY.

  2. Says:

    TB12 seemed to give the receivers a couple seconds to get open or he put the ball where nobody could get it. I would rather waste a down than give the opponent the ball. Such improvement at the position over last year.

    Check yo sheet!

  3. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Play-action: Good.
    Empty Backfield: No good. Especially when Donovan Smith acts like the pass rusher isn’t there, and Brady gets sacked in less than 3 seconds.

  4. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Play Action is deceptive by design.
    How can that not be lethal with the best QB to ever suit up?

  5. Bird Says:


    Yup. Me and buddy were texting back and forth on that one
    That play will be thrown out and burned forever

  6. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Play action is great when used properly. Can’t be overused.

  7. Bird Says:

    Let me change the title above

    BRADY = success

    16 out of his 21 seasons he finished with at least 11 wins
    No brady and none of his buddies here and is this team even 8-8?
    Doubt it

  8. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Sup LUV!
    Give me a shout this evening.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Been touting play action on 1st downs for months…it works because defenses believe we will run because we always have….it will continue to work…the only problem is that if there is an incomplete pass, running on 2nd down is expected…gets stuffed….

  10. PSL Bob Says:

    I see a lot of check-down passes to backs coming out of the backfield next Sunday. McCoy could be the hero of the game. He’s rested, a good blocker, and has great hands, all of which will be needed against Washington’s front four.

  11. 813bucboi Says:


    GO BUCS!!!!

  12. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Chase Young can be a real game wrecker, if not accounted for.

  13. Brandon Says:

    Joe in Michigan Says:
    January 4th, 2021 at 8:47 am
    Play-action: Good.
    Empty Backfield: No good. Especially when Donovan Smith acts like the pass rusher isn’t there, and Brady gets sacked in less than 3 seconds.


    I knew some clueless fan would come to this erroneous conclusion. The inside LB came on the play, he went inside the DT who bumped outside over Smith. The DE also rushed on the play… pass blocking rule #1, always block the free rusher closest to QB. Your analysis is wrong.

  14. Cobraboy Says:

    Play action is effective. It’s even more effective if you have an actual RB threat like Jones or Fournette.

    As far as I am concerned, Ronald Jones is a 1200+ yard back. In the last half of the season, he was all elbows and knees hitting the LoS hard. I love watching him play. He is becoming a serious RB threat for the Bucs.

  15. Listnfrmafar Says:

    How about Young calling out I want you Brady. News flash, he’s heard it from Donald, Sughs, Ray Lewis, Bosa & Ingram, Watt, Von Miller the list is endless. Pretty sure he’s not worrying about it too much as he cruises along in his multi million dollar boat today. Hope BA pulls a Belichick and shuts down their strength and let them try to beat us then.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    Joe has noticed something different since the bye week. On first down, rather than a plunge up the middle, the Bucs are having Bucs quarterback Tom Brady use a play-action pass…

    And it only took them 13 weeks to figure this out!

    Not like any of us have been screaming to mix up the 1st down plays and use more play action all. season. long…..

    Better late than never though!

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Brandon: Who was supposed to block Dante Fowler, the DE, on that play? Donovan Smith was the closest Bucs lineman to him, but Smith wasn’t even able to acknowledge that Fowler was there.

  18. Joe in Michigan Says:

    My point was that the “empty backfield” doesn’t seem to work for the Bucs very often, it didn’t last year, it was a disaster on that play I mentioned. Brandon, you’re as oblivious to my point as Donovan Smith was to Dante Fowler. Since you know the Bucs playbook and blocking schemes, was it the TE that was supposed to block Fowler, or D Smith?

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Why is it that the people that run their mouths the most go into hiding when you ask them a question?