Throwing, Not Running, Will Win

January 8th, 2021

Throw, throw, throw again.

Of course, a lot of folks will say the Bucs “have to establish the run” and pound the ball to have any shot to beat the Redskins.

Why? Because the calendar on your phone reads “January.”

Well, football is played on a field, not on a digital month display. And Warren Sharp of Rotoworld suggests if the Bucs want to make sure they don’t get upset, you put the ball into the hands of an all-time great to win it for you.

Both the numbers and common sense, Sharp suggests, tell the story.

“That’s why they brought Tom Brady here,” Sharp said. “They brought Tom Brady here to have the ball in his hands in the playoffs and to win games for Tampa Bay.

“They didn’t bring him in to have Byron Leftwich call run plays for Leonard Fournette on first down in the first half of games.”

Sharp is a handicapper by trade and a statgeek at night. He always studies the numbers to try to get an edge in his gambling. And for him, the numbers scream for the Bucs and Brady to keep throwing on first down.

Sharp explained that in his view, the Bucs offense didn’t play up to its talent level earlier in the season because of Leftwich.

“In the first 14 games of the season [the Bucs] were running the ball on 52 percent of first downs,” Sharp explained. “They averaged 2.7 yards a carry, which was the worst in the NFL.

“The last three weeks [the offense] sort of turned the corner and they switched [the run percentage on first downs] completely. They went to a major, heavy pass-rate. They let Tom Brady throw the ball more on first downs. That’s exactly what they need to do here.”

Joe can’t argue with any of this. The offense is humming. Do. Not. Fix. Something. Not. Broken.

Those play-action passes on first down work. Keep it up. Make the other guy stop them.

If Washington does start this Taylor Heinicke, which was thrown out for public chewing late Friday night, take advantage. Get a quick lead and pound these guys.

Scoring early is imperative, per Sharp. Washington, since Week 6, has only allowed opponents 44 points in the second half of games, by far the best in the NFL.

Yeah, Joe gets Washington plays in the puppy NFC East, but still, 44 points in 10 games in the second half is sick football.

28 Responses to “Throwing, Not Running, Will Win”

  1. Bucniowa Says:

    And we’re supposed to respect a guy who thinks there were 17 games this season? (1st 14- last 3)

  2. Joe Says:

    And we’re supposed to respect a guy who thinks there were 17 games this season? (1st 14- last 3)

    17 weeks, not 17 games.

    But there will be 17 games next year (in 18 weeks?).

  3. windbaggery Says:

    But it sure would help mitigate some of the inside pressure on Brady if we could get a run game going.

  4. David Says:

    Misleading headline. Throwing more on first down. But overall, they need to mix in the run. Especially to pound them in the second half

  5. Godlovesbucs Says:

    He also mentions handing the ball off to leonard fournette on first down. He does know thats not the starting back right?

  6. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Not to complicated, use the pass to set up the run. And short passes are like runs anyways. Just get the ball out quick and then take dagger shots. down the filed. If Brady is able to have just a little bit of time, everything will end up working out fine. The only- only- only- way WFT can win is to not give Brady time. Other then that, even with a secondary that has been exposed way to much, and the fact the Bucs seem to allow short passes way to easy, WFT will not be able to keep up and score enough points. GO BUCS!!!!

  7. Rod Munch Says:

    I never bothered to run the numbers, but when mocking Leftwich for most of the year I said up the gut for 2.3 yards on every first down… and in reality it was 2.7. Damn, I guess I have no clue what I was talking about again.

    Anyways, for as much as I bust Leftwich’s balls, I will say the Bucs have seemed not as ultra predictable as earlier in the season. But then again these last few games have been against bad defenses, and likely Leftwich will go into a shell on the big stage.

    Lets hope not.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod … I see that you noticed the same thing I did during these past few weeks: we’ve become a lot LESS PREDICTABLE with our play-calling. Key factor IMO is to keep the opposing defense always off-balance & guessing (as opposed to putting up a billboard that says ‘Here it comes; we’re gonna run; try to stop us).

    I’m still concerned though that our offense hasn’t really excelled against top-tier defenses all season, and those defenses are all we’re gonna find in the playoffs. Hopefully we’re peaking at the right time. However, even if our offense only puts up 23-24 points tonight (like we did against the Rams & Chiefs & Saints in Game 1) we SHOULD win tonight, providing that we at least break-even on the Turnover Battle.

    Bucs’ defense will be in a dogfight tonight IMO regardless of whether Alex Smith or Taylor Heinicke starts because they’ll most likely play the same type of game: lots of rushing & play-action passes. The first we can handle; the second oftentimes gives us fits (even from rookie QBs). Antonio Gibson is a quality runner (4.7 yds/run), AND he’s very good in the short passing game (82% catch rate for 6.9 yds/catch) so our defense will need to be on its toes IMO. Heinicke BTW looks to be fairly mobile (averaging 7.3 yds/run); he just hasn’t played much.

    Still, I like our chances, even if we don’t have Mike Evans, Devin White or Carlton Davis in there.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    You all know how I feel about play action on 1st downs…..keep it up….

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    Thanks to the NFL Game Passes “40-minute games”, I watched 6 FTFKATR games the last two days, including the Iggles game.

    Stats aside, I’m not particularly impressed with the D. Yes, the DL is stout, but I did not see any world-class speed or kick-assedness. I saw no Aaron Donalds, Suh’s, Barrett’s, Bosa’s or JPP’s on that team. I did see a Young who is not interested in pursuit; once stoned or if the play is to the other side, I see a lot of standing around. I see more “relentless” from the DT’s and not the DE’s. I did see frustration when the DL gets stoned.

    I do not see Young and Sweat particularly fast with a lot of speed. Decent players, but my gut says overhyped.

    I did not see LB’s flying around making plays. I did see a number of borderline late hits by LB’s arriving a nanosecond late.

    I will also say this about their D: I saw a LOT of poor QB & TE play against them.

    The FTFKATR O is a hot mess even without Haskins under center. They cannot counter a D with talent, they cannot throw deep, so they resort to a lot of short stuff, check-downs, and a LOT of trickeration and ball-handling deceit. Smith plays like a statue and has a noodle arm. I see no real zip on his passes. He is NOT the Smith of old.

    “On any given Sunday” still prevails, but if the Bucs don’t beat the TFKATR, it’s 100% on the Bucs.

    If the Bucs OL plays like they are capable, the hyped TFKATR DL will look pedestrian. Thing is, the DL is all the TFKATR has. Their talent is thin elsewhere.

    My #1 concern is how the skill positions play in cold weather. The temp should hover around freezing at game time, but calm. I hope Buc blood is not too thin…

  11. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “The Bucs brought Tom Brady here to have the ball in his hands in the playoffs.”

    Simple as that.

    Lots of play-action on 1st down. No team can cover a combination of ME, Godwin and Brown; When we loose, the Bucs beat themselves. IMO, the Bucs beat themselves in the loss to the Bears, Rams and KC – loss by a TOTAL of 7 pts. IF the Bucs played anyone of those teams again in the playoffs, the BUCS WIN. Saints just kicked our a$$. But they won’t the next time.

    So let TB do what he came here to do. Lead us to the promised land

  12. Kalind Says:

    Pretty nice day up here actually. I know it’ll be the evening, but given that it’s January in DC it could and probably shoulda been a lotttt worse weather. Capitalize!

  13. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    good post Cobra.

    As you can see, I completely agree. The “whatchamacallits” have a good D. as I said before, Young is overhyped. With the talent he has around him, I could get 7.5 sacks and I am 65. But as a team, the D is good. Unfortunately for the “whatchamacallits”, the Bucs Oline can do their job, no team can shut down a combo of ME, Godwin, Brown and Gronk, there is just NO WAY. And their offense has to have their turn on the field and face our D. Nuf said.

  14. Kentucky Buc Says:

    The answer is pretty simple. Mix it up on 1st down. Like the man above said. Don’t be predictable. I keep seeing that screen to Rojo against the Chiefs in my head. Get him out in space a few times today.

  15. Alstott_Converted_Me Says:

    Morning, Joe’s, LET’S GET SOME! It’s game day, boy’s!
    I’ve been a Tampa Bay fan since stumbling upon the a train himself smashed through an entire defense for a goal line touchdown, while flipping through the channels one day as a kid, here in ohio. Up until that point I was a Pittsburgh fan like the rest of my family. Our family also has been a bunch of Michigan fans as well! The fact that we have Tom Brady as our quarterback right now, as well as Scotty Miller who is from bowling Green State university, exactly 1 hour north of my hometown, it’s pretty awesome in my opinion! Anyway, I’ve been checking this site reading articles and all of the comments damn near daily count for the longest time now. Never been one to post, maybe one time a couple of years ago but that’s it. Definitely looking forward to watching the goat himself swing the rock all over the field you are offense loaded with Space Jam MON-STAR like talent! As much as I firmly believe Ronald Jones is a huge factor and difference Maker in our offense, I am a firm believer that Brady and his arm will have to carry us if we wish to make a legitimate super bowl run this post season. Fire Those Cannon’s & Hail To The Victor’s!!

  16. gotbbucs Says:

    Run or pass, doesn’t matter, 1st down is the money down. Average 5 yards on 1st down and it opens up the play book. If it’s a pass, it needs to be a high percentage pass.
    Gronk and Godwin need to be chain moving monsters in the postseason. Let Evans and Brown make the flashy plays.

  17. Cobraboy Says:

    IF the Bucs have to punt, Pinion will be a hero if he can get the ball inside the 10-15. I doubt TFTFKATR has the offensive horsepower to go 80+ yards against the Bucs D.

    And if I’m Suh/JPP/Barrett/Nacho/etc., and I read constantly how fantastic the FTFKATR DL is with nary a word about a SUPERIOR DL in the Bucs, I am coming out to destroy the sniksdeR|Redskins offensive line and backfield.

    I would be pi$$ed: No Respect.

    IMO, on a personal level, this game is about RESPECT for the Bucs OL & DL.

  18. A29lstott_Converted_Me Says:

    Does anyone else believe guys like Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Came Brate will be absolutely crucial & vital, to our success if we wish to advance further into the Playoffs?

  19. alton green Says:

    I doubt that anyone will disagree that Tompa is the GOAT at reading defenses. If all the hype is true about Young, the play action concerns me just a little. That’s a split second extra for the d-line. Maybe some draw plays, some quick out passes and certainly screens. But if Tompa does what he is best at, the ball will be gone before Chase young can make ANY KIND OF MOVE hahaha

  20. alton green Says:

    This is strictly my opinion as to what i think the Bucs will do. Run and if it works, run it down their throat and wear their defense out. Then it will be like fishing in a barrell. we’ll see tonight

  21. Cobraboy Says:

    The high water mark for the 4-7 TFKATR was their 23-17 win over the 11-0 Stillers.

    I just watched the coaches film.

    The Stillers beat themselves 100%. Not only were they totally listless (except for Watt), they were constantly penalized and dropped…get this…9 passes.

    It reminded me somewhat of the lifeless Bucs vs. Da Bears and Jints.

    The TFKATR vaunted DL was OK, but hardly dominant.

    I have not seen Big Ben play in a while, but he looks slow and lethargic.

  22. Mike Johnson Says:

    Washington is great when playing with a lead. talk all you want but the key to this game is our Offensive line. Hold and give brady time and we will route. But if Wash brings their Defense, we could be in for a real close game.

  23. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Warren Sharp does this for a living. We do it for fun. There is a difference.

    I think most of us agree with him and it is really pretty obvious.

    Do we not wish to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers?
    So who are the best playmakers for their given positions.

    I of course start with TB12 at the top but he’s going to touch the ball every play no matter what.

    After that…I honestly throw a blanket over ME..CG..AB and Gronk. All four are legitimate playmakers in this league. Four freaking choices why wouldn’t we want to get the ball in their hands as much as possible.

    I like ROJO and he too has playmaking ability so I put him above Brate and Scottie but well behind those top 4.

    I too am glad we stopped running on first down like EVERYBODY here. But I would like to accomplish much of the same thing by slicing and dicing…Brady’s super skill. Throw passes that have the effect of a good run game…screens and quick shots to AB.

    Cobra…a question for you. All four guys are great and two of them are awesome blockers. Do we run any plays where all four guys don’t simply run downfield to get open but CG and Gronk especially block. I’ve seen a ton of downfield blocks from CG I wonder though if it’s just his hustle or a planned play. Just imagine getting the ball to AB on a short pass with blocking set up downfield.

  24. Joe Says:

    I like ROJO and he too has playmaking ability so I put him above Brate and Scottie but well behind those top 4.

    That’s not just fair, that’s obvious.

    If the run game is working, then yeah, keep feeding RoJo until he can’t stand up. But to ignore your overwhelming strength, one of the biggest strengths any NFL team has had since maybe the 1999 Rams, is irresponsible.

  25. Cobraboy Says:

    stpetebucsfan Says:

    Cobra…a question for you. All four guys are great and two of them are awesome blockers. Do we run any plays where all four guys don’t simply run downfield to get open but CG and Gronk especially block. I’ve seen a ton of downfield blocks from CG I wonder though if it’s just his hustle or a planned play. Just imagine getting the ball to AB on a short pass with blocking set up downfield.

    Sure. They are called “screens.”

    But further downfield? I suppose it’s possible. I supposed plays could be designed that specifically involve downfield blocking, a lot of trickeration. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it. I’ve certainly never been in an offensive system that did it.

  26. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    yeah. Sharp is wrong. Has Tom ever played in a playoff game without being heavy on the run?

  27. Oneilbucs Says:

    This going to be a easy win Alex Smith ain’t playing !!!

  28. Oneilbucs Says:

    We going to the superbowl this year !!!