The Lost Key

January 20th, 2021

Bucs need ya’ big guy.

Now a big thing Joe and many NFL fans heard entering the divisional round playoff game against the slimy Saints were claims Tampa Bay was a different team than the one that got seal-clubbed by the Saints 38-3.

It was true, and that played itself out in the Bucs’ 30-20 win.

Joe guesses the same could be argued about the current Packers since the Bucs curb-stomped them 38-10 back in Week 6.

Over at The Athletic, Sheil Kapadia tried to make heads or tails out of why the Bucs were so dominant on that October day. Kapadia thinks a monstrous Bucs rush was the key to Green Bay having its worst offensive showing of the year.

… What was it that gave Green Bay so much trouble, and was it just a bad game, or did Tampa Bay find a formula for slowing down Rodgers?

A big factor was the Bucs’ ability to pressure Rodgers. He was pressured on a season-high 30.8 percent of his pass plays. Blitzing is in Bowles’ DNA, and he wasn’t afraid to be aggressive against Rodgers. In the first three quarters, before the outcome had been decided, Bowles blitzed Rodgers 50 percent of the time. It was by far Rodgers’ worst performance against the blitz all season in terms of EPA per play. He completed 5 of 16 attempts for 48 yards and two interceptions while also taking two sacks.

Well, that pass rush key has been lost since the Bucs beat the Vikings on Dec. 13. Jason Pierre-Paul and NFL sack king Shaq Barrett have been shut out. Ndamukong Suh, who tormented Rodgers in the previous meeting, has had one sack since that Vikings game. So in the past five games those big three have a grand total of one sack.

Somewhere, Robert Ayers is smiling.

If the Bucs plan to hold Rodgers down, even remotely, those guys need to show up. Of course, Joe’s been writing about this for weeks. And Joe will continue to be a broken record about it even if the Bucs do win two more games.

(Yeah, Joe has a hangup about sacks almost as much as Joe has a hangup about scoring offensive touchdowns. Irritating, no?)

30 Responses to “The Lost Key”

  1. Coburn Says:

    Initially I was thinking about how they didn’t out many hits on Brees, but watching highlights later it’s very clear they had pressure on him even though they didn’t get home. It caused some of the turnovers

  2. Mitch Says:

    I’m not sure about the other games because I didn’t watch the line as close. Against the Saints I’m positive that the tackles were holding Shaq and JPP. Especially Shaq though. There were many times it looked like he was being put in a head lock and tackled to the ground at the feet of Brees.

  3. WiscoJoe Says:

    Packers tackles aren’t nearly as good as the Saints. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget Shaq is even out there which is concerning now that I think about it. Other than the strip sack of Mahomes I can’t think of a stand out play by Shaq this year.

  4. miken Says:

    I am worried about that lack of pass rush. Rodgers will light us up without it. The pack looked like theywere going to blow us out… up 10-0 and the ball before that pick 6. Turned the game, got in Rodgers head , then the pass rush showed up. I’m nervous man

  5. Robert Says:

    Vea was a factor and Suh was in his dome. We need that again!

    Remember Suh in his face right before the half?

    It was like Warren Sapp/Favre all over again. We need that!

  6. Cobraboy Says:

    Getting Vea back, if he’s in serviceable shape, should help the pass rush.

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    Barrett has been pretty much MIA all season. JPP must be hurting.

  8. Bucamania Says:

    Shaq cost himself a bunch of money this year

  9. gotbbucs Says:

    The rush was getting to Brees. It didn’t result in sacks, it resulted in interceptions.

  10. ModHairKen Says:

    They beat NO. Number of sacks do not matter. NO is different than GB.

    Stop obsessing about what did or did not happen in every previous game. It matters not.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Robert Ayers LOL sheesh we had done crappy players

  12. Godlovesbucs Says:

    Formula to beat packers.

    Take away Adams. (Man press with safety help)
    Dont give up deep ball, make rogers drive the field.
    Edge pressure on rogers, dont let him out of the pocket.
    Get some hits on rogers.

  13. unbelievable Says:

    Very concerned about our pass rush.

    Aaron Rodgers is far better than Brees right now. He will be throwing downfield, not too mention he can always burn us with his legs.

    Defense is gonna have to play even better this weekend. Go Bucs!

  14. unbelievable Says:

    dang I got put in the cooler, huh?

  15. miken Says:

    @robert… vea didnt play vs pack

  16. 813bucboi Says:

    i would ask Sheil Kapadia, so what about packers vs saints?….a team that many said or think have a better front 4 and pass rush than we do…packers still pulled that game out…

    the key will be the secondary imo….if they can continue to lock down and make the throwing windows tight and small we’ll be in good shape….continue to make plays on the ball(PBU’s) and make A play when you get your hands on the ball(INTs)…

    i can guarantee you ML will try to establish the run game and he might have a trick play ready now that he’s seen we’ve been beat with 1…

    i hope VV brings a extra much needed type of energy along the dline and they can get their swag back not to say im complaining about the way they’ll been performing….pressures make hurried throws and hurried throws are off target which lead to tip balls or INTs….

    GO BUCS!!!!

  17. Craig Says:

    The defensive line is doing well, they have just been playing QBs that dump the ball quickly. I like Shaq’s game this year, JPP too.

    They have been one step away from the QB a godawful lot and it has changed the game.

    This week I think Shaq and JPP will be used to seal the edges, A few red dog blitzes will rattle Rogers and make a short game happen.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Ndamukong Suh, who tormented Rodgers in the previous meeting, has had one sack since that Vikings game. So in the past five games those big three have a grand total of one sack.”

    Wow Joe, our 3 main pass rushers have a grand total of ONE sack in the past FIVE games? That’s horrendous. We must’ve lost every game since that Vikings’ game with our defense playing that bad.

    Oh wait, just noticed that we WON every game starting with that Vikings’ game. Wow, 6 wins in a row, despite our horrendous defense. Ya, that very same defense that’s given up slightly less than 20 PPG starting with the Vikings’ game. The very same defense that’s generated 16 sacks starting with the Vikings’ game … plus contributed 10 takeaways. Hmmm, maybe there really is more than one way to skin a cat. Whodathunkit?

  19. Joe Says:

    Wow Joe, our 3 main pass rushers have a grand total of ONE sack in the past FIVE games? That’s horrendous. We must’ve lost every game since that Vikings’ game with our defense playing that bad.

    Don’t be a moron. If this is your argument, that tells Joe you are content and happy if Aaron Rodgers has all the time he needs to complete passes and slice a defense apart.

    You’re good with that?

    You cannot be this dense. (Then again, Joe does remember how daily you used to argue the Bucs’ corners were coached up so well by Mike Smith you thought Bill Parcells was secretly coaching them up.)

  20. 813bucboi Says:

    damn joe!!!!…

    dont do DR like that…lol…

    on 2nd thought, do him just like that!!!…lol…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  21. 813bucboi Says:

    secondary has to continue to make plays….but i would like to see rodgers hit the deck a few times in this game….he’s mobile…we gotta beat him up…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  22. Fernando Diaz Says:

    @joe wow calling fans moron will get you places.
    We did not get a sack Sunday or score bunch of Tds
    I say keep Rogers on the sideline we win.

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    The player who really seemed to get in Rodgers head in that first game was Suh. I don’t know their history before that, I don’t recall any issues between the two, but I’m sure Suh poked him in the eye and stepped on his groin more than once when he was with the Lions.

    But the key isn’t just to sack Rodgers, it’s to hit him and beat him up.

    I highly doubt Rodgers will have another game like that first one, based on his history that was just a fluke, but hopefully they can knock him off the game enough for the offense to outscore him.

  24. Rob in Land O Lakes Says:

    Love you, DR! Keep the strong takes coming! JBF family can have our internal squabbles and still have the same goal!

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    Wow, ‘moron’ Joe? Really? You knew exactly what my argument was … there’s more than 1 way to get pressure on opposing QBs. And Todd Bowles has done a pretty decent job of getting that pressure even without Vita Vea.

    But I’m admittedly much more curious about that Bill Parcells secretly coaching up the Bucs’ Secondary reference that you attributed to me. To my knowledge I’ve never even mentioned Bill Parcells because I didn’t know that he was a defensive backs’ coach.

    In any event, now that I know what thin skin you have, I’ll stop needling ya and leave that task to 813bucboi. Ya right, as if that’s ever gonna happen.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Wow, didn’t see that response coming.

    D-line does need to create more pressure themselves to allow us more guys in coverage when not blitzing. But as DR pointed out- we’ve still gotten pressure other ways.

    The problem is we can’t blitz the entire game, though I do believe last time against the Packers we blitzed Rodgers more than any team this season. But you know Green Bay will have changed some things up this time around to better counter that. That offense is simply on fire.

    We need Bowles to be 1 step ahead…

  27. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Dang! I guess zone told you😅😉

  28. Jmarkbuc Says:


  29. Buczilla Says:

    Shaq is not a 20+ million per year player. Hell, I’d be worried to give him more than 5 per year. Good luck Licht and be sure to make the right decision! I don’t envy you. 😜

  30. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    Not necessarily… You look back at the tape and they were able to get to Rogers by rushing linebackers and corners and letting JPP and Barrett fall back… It reeeeally confused Rogers and of course Suh is in Rogers head ever since the foot stomp…. I don’t think the same formula will work this time and yes jpp and Barrett HAVE TO show up!! …. But on passing downs I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of similar things from last game… Jpp and Barrett have both gotten better at that drop back too