Props To The Defense

January 18th, 2021

Reason to smile.

When a man deserves scorn, Joe is there to point a finger.

And when a man deserves props for a job well done, Joe is there to stand and applaud.

And so it is with Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. A week after his defense played a shameful game against a backup XFL hack — even Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians called the performance “terrible” — Bowles got the job done with a defensive effort that would make Father Dungy and Monte Kiffin smile.

For it was the Bucs defense, not the all-star cast on offense, that enabled the Bucs to march to the Northlands in six days to face the mighty Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.

(Man, the Green Bay Packers, the frozen tundra, Lambeau Field, NFC Championship. The thought of the Bucs playing in that storied stadium in such a big game just gives Joe the chills — and it has nothing to do with the sub-freezing weather. Hopefully, the Bucs play so well, the ghost of Vince Lombardi will be heard hollering, “What the hell is going on out there?”)

Nick Shook of typed that Bowles and the Bucs defense should be celebrated for such a dominant performance.

When the D had a chance at a ball, it didn’t miss. Tampa picked off Brees three times and forced a fumble. The turnovers led to 21 points — all of Tampa’s TDs. Bowles’ crew was dominant in the second half, with the Saints’ last four possessions ending as such: Fumble, punt, INT, INT. The front didn’t record a sack, but was in Brees’ face enough to discombobulate the 42-year-old QB. Linebacker Devin White was the star of the show. After playing his worst game of the year against New Orleans in Week 9, White was a man on a mission. The speed demon compiled 11 tackles, a tackle for loss, an INT, and a fumble recovery. White is one of the few off-ball linebackers who can impact the whole field when he’s on. Sunday he was a maniac, and wrecked everything the Saints attempted.

Yes, props to White in his first playoff game after he was on the shelf of the Reserved/COVID list for two weeks. He came out like gangbusters and man, the Bucs needed it.

The Bucs defense set up the offense three times inside the Saints-50 to score touchdowns. The offense sure resembled pre-bye-week games (run on first down, no man in motion, struggles to gain yards). But give them a short field like the Bucs did, and it got the job done. All three Bucs touchdowns were scored off Saints turnovers, three drives that totaled just 63 yards.

The most amazing stat of them all for Joe was how the defense, specifically Carlton Davis, totally erased Michael Thomas from the game.

Joe either wrote or mentioned on The Ira Kaufman Podcast that one good thing about the Bucs is that if an area stinks one week, it seems as if it gets shored up the following week.

After perhaps the worst showing of the defense last week in Washington, the defense may have had its best game since suffocating the Packers in Week 6.

40 Responses to “Props To The Defense”

  1. Robert Says:

    Gotta give it up to em….and TB for a good game plan. White was a beast.

  2. Casual Observer Says:

    Amazing turnaround for the D from last week.

  3. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Thank God we played Man Defense tonight!
    So glad that Bowles adjusted the defense

  4. Mr no rings Says:

    Check out Kyle Brandt with his Buc jacket! NICE!!!

  5. Cannon Says:

    Awesome game by our Defense!

    I hate the Saints…

    That being said, it was a bit sad to watch this version of Brees. He was clearly a shell of his former self. Father time waits for no man.

  6. Pruritus Ani Says:

    Indeed.. give him props when props are due. The defense played great yesterday. Winning solves a lot of issues 😀

  7. Leighroy Says:

    Great performance, adjustments and gameplay on defense.

    Conversely, if were truly going to point fingers when someone deserves scorn, then I’m searching for a JBF take on special teams who deserves it. That could have killed us (twice)! A legit penalty was a gift to save the Bucs from insult to injury. All the talk this week about wrapping up on tackling on defense somehow didn’t find its way into the special teams room. Maybe, just maybe, we should keep someone covering on that right side too!? Jeez

  8. Darin Says:

    Call the guy from last week an xfl’er if u want but at this point he is far better than brees. Can run and can throw accurate over 15 yards. That’s why i was so boggled the Bucs played mostly zone against brees. Only thing i can think is Bowles was two steps ahead and didnt wana show em his playoff game plan before the playoffs. No way some of us are smarter than bowles. Great job Todd! Go Bucs!

  9. Brandon Says:

    Taylor Heinicke played his ass off against us. XFL or not, he made good throws to well covered receivers and plays with his legs. A combination of that and the Bucs being underprepared of the unknown QB and him playing out of his mind were to blame.

  10. rrsrq Says:

    It makes you think. Owlets didn’t want to show anything for the Saints, thinking they would still have enough to beat the WFT. Well played, Bowles… I also think with Devin White watching from home like we were, he asked coach, why are our DBs playing 10 yards off…

  11. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Def played the same and Davis had shut down Thomas both earlier games this season. Obviously not to the extent of last night. This was all about individual effort. The D heard the noise all week and stepped up. I give very little credit to Bowles, not being prepared for Winston is inexcusable. Hill was questionable all week. With this talent and a good DC tthis team would be unstoppable. White, SMB, Davis etc. unbelievable effort. Very discipline considering some of.the BS calls. The best way to describe the D last night is NASTY & POISED! Bowles still has to go.

  12. ATrain Says:

    Did Winston have to pack up his locker last night?

    Wonder what team will pay him 25 million next year>?

  13. VitaTheBeast Says:

    MOVING DAY!!!!!

  14. Onetrickpony Says:

    Congratulations Bowels

  15. Miller5252 Says:

    That’s gotta be the best use for that pic! See ya Brees, enjoy retirement

  16. Roy T. Buford Says:

    So different kind of offense next week. Rodgers is ON in passing, leading the NFL in TD passes, but hey, Brady is second. Rodgers is somewhat mobile but some blitzing CBs and LBs can fix that. Bring on man coverage again! GB pretty good run game but the Bucs lead the NFL is run stopping, again holding Kamara to under 100. The Bucs pack a pretty one-two punch in the run game now, so should be able to pass or run on the GB defense. Bottom line is if the Bucs seondary has another game they did yesterday, and they pressure Rodgers as well as they did Brees (mediocre really), watch out…because Brady will be the deciding factor. And it’s time for Gronk and Godwin to put up some numbers in in the playoffs. They are DUE. Go Bucs!

  17. LVMYBUCS Says:

    WHATS GOING ON WITH GODWIN? This is his contract year and he is looking like a rookie.

  18. Bird Says:

    Lets be honest , the offense has won games the last several games

    The defense stepped up for the win last night

    Great job!

    Green bay rarely loses in lambeau. But we match up well against green bay
    Their defense is not that stout. Hopefully rojo is healthy …cold weather and snow. You need a snow plow runner like rojo

  19. Roy T. Buford Says:

    @Atrain, I don’t think anyone will pay him more than $10M, and that will be the Saints. He will be a highly paid backup…sign him and get him to camp, and let him compete. If he walks because someone is dumb enough, I don’t think the Saints would really care. That is, the Saints have gotten what they wanted out of him…the Bruce Arians playbook, and like Winston’s five years here, it’s a net value of ZERO as the Saints are at home next weekend…and I mean at home, at home, as in front of the TV at home!

  20. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Tampa matches well with the Packers

    Play man all game long and have the safety shade toward Devanta Adams all game long

    Do not let Devanta Adams beat us!”

    Kobe Faker

  21. SKBucfan Says:

    That’s how a defence should play. Pressure and man to man and we will own Rodgers. I’ve given Bowles grief for most of the season. But Kudos to him and his staff. And to Sean Payton for beating us 38-0 earlier this season. Thanks.

  22. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It seems quite clear that this defense plays best when it plays aggressive man coverage… is very fast…..
    Two players that are testing big payoffs are Shaq & Godwin……
    My suspicion is that it will be very difficult to keep both……
    We may be looking to move up in the first round to pick an edge rusher….(music to Joe’s ears)
    I suspect we will receive a comp pick for the loss of Fournette, AB…..and perhaps even Shaq.
    Would love to keep him but someone making big bucks will have to go in order to keep Godwin.

  23. Old Sombrero Kid Says:

    Jason pierre-paul made an excellent play with the leg tackle because that could have went for a ton of yards or even a score. Take the penalty yards and line up and play ball. Strictly genius in gameplay. You can see a couple pairs were upset but they didn’t know the main reason he did it was to save a big play from occurring. Can I get a hell yeah!?

  24. All lives matter Says:

    I knew playing the Saints would go our way. 3 times a charm

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “All three Bucs touchdowns were scored off Saints turnovers, three drives that totaled just 63 yards.”

    Hmmm, 63 yards huh. Must’ve been really hard for you to write that Joe. Probably almost as hard as it was for you to write …

    “For it was the Bucs defense, not the all-star cast on offense, that enabled the Bucs to march to the Northlands in six days to face the mighty Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.”

    Gee, maybe Todd Bowles & our defense aren’t REALLY as bad as you and so many other JBFers have made them out to be this season. Whodathunkit?

  26. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I love Godwin, but I would keep Shaq over CG. We have more depth at WR than at Outside linebacker. However, TB will have some influence over this decision.

  27. 813bucboi Says:

    Offense and defense played great….not sure why folks are whining about the offense….we had a balanced and aggressive attack….

    Great team win


  28. Buc1987 Says:

    I loved how after the pick White was returning it and shoved the defender out of the way like gtfo.

  29. Ed Says:

    White and secondary played their asses off. Troy Aikman noted that White was a “Pro Bowl Snub”. How about Winfield punching the ball out of Cooks’ arms after he got inside position on Winfield on that slant. That was at the time the play that changed the game. A great rookie pickup.

    Special teams do stunk except for Succup and Pinion’s kickoffs.

    Offensive line excelled in the run game, they were fantastic opening up holes. Ronald Jones ran like a beast. Fournette, not so great as a runner but his pass catching was exceptional except for the first one he dropped.

    Great to see Scotty Miller, Cam Brate and Tyler Johnson making great catches because other than Mike Evans’ 2 yard TD catch, Evans, Godwin and Brown were invisible. Godwin had some targets that he used to be reliable but after the Washington game, he appears to have lost confidence or is not the money player he seeks to cash in on. I personally think his next contract should represent a #2 average salary, not a #1. #1 receivers don’t have 5 drops in 2 playoff games!

    Brady took advantage of the short fields and did enough to win. I don’t think those deep shots to Gronk early in the game were appropriate for down and distance.

    What is with BL, he had a fantastic running game all game. When under center, Brady was handling the ball off every play. That was when the play action would have worked. On TV can’t see the whole field but the whole point of establishing the run is to give Brady play action shots. He’s the best in league throwing out of play action. Does BL not understant that?

  30. Ed Says:

    The question about paying the big money to Godwin and Shaq is not a no-brainer. Shaq Barrett had a good season for an edge rusher but he was by no means a top 5 pass rusher. I’m inclined to say his pay scale as a franchise tag didn’t even warrant that. After 19.5 sacks in 2019, this season he produced less than half and was pretty healthy all year. In the playoffs he hasn’t made any impact. Unless he balls out in the championship game, is he really a franchise or top 5 edge rusher?

    Godwin is another one. His 2019 season he was certainly a Top Ten WR, his expectation of being the slot guy in the Bruce Arians offense was that his numbers would be even higher. He has been hurting the team with drops in the playoffs and isn’t getting open vs man-to-man coverage.

    WR’s are always plentiful in round 2 and there are always free agents that can come in and fit into Brady’s style. I suppose they could franchise tag Godwin and give him a “prove it” year but that hasn’t worked with Shaq.

    JPP must stay, he never gives up, guy is 110% all of the time!

  31. 813bucboi Says:


    What are you talking about?…lol…

    Play action did work…Brady missed GRONK twice…Brady missed Godwin deep in the end zone….lattimore made a great play on the deep ball to Mike….and Brady finally hit Scotty deep….

    That’s player execution, not play calling….



  32. Defense Rules Says:

    Ed … Something to consider about Shaq: his backup is Cam Gill. We have no depth; that’s why Shaq & JPP played 77% & 89% of the defensive snaps respectively this season. We MIGHT get lucky & draft a great replacement for Shaq, but odds on rookie pass rushers balling out don’t favor that. Nelson was OK (2 sacks, 8 QB Hits, 3 TFLs, 1 PD, 20 tackles in 353 defensive snaps) but that’s it … just OK.

    If your concern is overpaying Shaq (this year or next year), stop worrying. This year’s money is already spent, and next year’s is part of what agents term ‘negotiation’. Shaq’s value will be set by the market. If the Bucs choose not to pay that, then that’s their choice.

    But they’d better have a solid Plan B in-place if we hope to contend for a Super Bowl next year. And that Plan B better be able to contribute AT LEAST 8 sacks, 16 QB Hits, 12 TFLs, 3 PDs, 2 FFs, 60 tackles in 938 defensive snaps next year like Shaq has this year or our pass rush will be in serious trouble.

  33. 6throundpick Says:

    I said in some earlier weeks/posts, that if this defense plays well, the Bucs will continue to play. What happened last game against the same team? They got in a big hole; forced to pass on almost every play…changes the strategy. With this offense- just keep the team close. Of course, there is nothing wrong with play with a lead, either. 😉 This defense created some offense, as well; went way past just keeping the team in the game. HEY, DEFENSE: Got a few more games in your bag? Let’s see.

  34. Defense Rules Says:

    Senor Harry … “I love Godwin, but I would keep Shaq over CG.” I agree that we have more depth at WR than at OLB, but the Bucs MUST find a way to keep Chris Godwin AND Shaq, with the caveat that IF either price themselves out of the market (like Jameis did?), then we’d have no choice but to move on. I don’t think that’ll be the case though, since the market will determine their value.

    I can’t see us being able to keep Antonio Brown AS WELL AS Gronk for another year. Brown will be in the $15-$20 mil range most likely, and Gronk will want another $10 mil to return (as long as Brady’s still here). Brady’s slated to make $26.6 next year, ME13 $16.6 mil, Cam Brate $6.5 mil, OJ $6.0 mil so that’s already $55.7 mil. Throw in Donovan at $14.3 mil, Marpet at $12.0 mil, Jensen at $10.0 mil, Wirfs at $3.7 mil & Cappa at $1.1 mil and you’ve just added $41.1 mil. Add in RoJo at $2.3 mil & Miller at $0.9 mil and that brings just our STARTING OFFENSE (those under 2021 contract) to a cool $100.0 mil. And that’s JUST for our 11 offensive starters. All we’d then have to add is another 43 players for the remaining $100 mil (at most in 2021 it sounds like), and that’ll include a few highly-paid defensive players in there. Piece of cake huh.

    I’ve already decided that I’ll just enjoy the ride this year. Next year has so many question marks over it that it boggles the mind. Onward to the Super Bowl here in Tampa next month. We got this.

  35. SOEbuc Says:

    Same kind of man defense that beat Rogers week 6. Don’t even think about changing it up Todd.

  36. SOEbuc Says:

    Defense Rules

    AB is one of the greatest, but Tyler Johnson has been nothing short of amazing in his time as a rookie. Scotty could be a very good trade option for the Bucs. Another Godwin in the making. Donovan Smith stays around it will come with a big pay cut. If Gronk doesn’t play with Tom, he’s not going to go play for another team at the end of his career to get money he already has plenty of. Like Evans and Marpet, these guys that are getting fat checks every year will all be willing to take cuts, especially since we’ve gotten this far in the famous 2020 Brady Bucs team.

  37. SOEbuc Says:

    *Tyler Johnson is the other Godwin in the making.

  38. stpetebucsfan Says:


    You are the capologist extraodinaire. I trust your numbers but let’s get into the fun part…human nature.

    Reality is that all of these guys will earn far more money than they and their extended families can ever spend. I mean think about it…five Rolls Royce’s wouldn’t be a 20th of their annual salaries.

    So it truly is down to pride and being paid what you feel you’ve earned. And I’m with you, it’s not for me or owners to tell anyone of them to take a discount on market value…but…they might just consider it.

    Gronk wants to come back. Why? For money? Nah he’s having FUN!!! I don’t think Gronk would come back anywhere but here to finish with Brady. I’m hoping Suh is in the same mindset.

    Shaq and especially CG14 are different, they want respect as well as the big bucks, which btw they already earn. So we need to figure a way to show them respect without breaking the bank. Tough challenge eh?

    I don’t know who…and I don’t know how Licht works it…but I think last night’s win confirmed to these guys where they’re going to win.

    We do have some advantages…D White and some other young stars are still on their first contracts. It’s only those few vets we have to worry about.

    And while I do not wish to lose Suh, I believe he has contributed far more than his stats, at least we have VV returning. But VV has yet to show anywhere near the durability of Suh…let’s hope VV is like McCoy who seemed injury prone his first few years but settled down in his prime.

    Call me naive but I think virtually every player on this team wishes he could find a way to play here next year with Brady. The combo of Tyler Johnson and Scottie have pretty much eliminated the need for AB…no big money there although he’s worth it…we do not desperately need him.

  39. unbelievable Says:

    Haha that tweet is awesome

  40. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … I agree with you that “virtually every player on this team wishes he could find a way to play here next year with Brady”. I’d go even further: so do a lot of other NFL players. Our problem will be that we can only afford to pay to employ a finite number of them, just like every other NFL team.

    The only starting defensive contracts up after this year will be LVD, Suh & Shaq. Of course the 3 of them together did make $34 mil this year, and that’s a chun of change. Several other defensive players will also be FAs (McLendon, Nunez-Roches, Ryan Smith, Adams, Cockrell, O’Connor) but that’s not big money & their spots may well be filled by other FAs or draft picks.

    In any event, those concerns seem like they’re light-years away, even though free agency will start in a couple of months & the draft is right behind that. Isn’t it nice to be still talking playoffs in January though StPete instead of being concerned about next season’s roster?