Impending Slaughter

September 14th, 2021

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BY IRA KAUFMAN

Look out, Falcons, this party’s just getting started.

It was an overall sloppy effort as the Bucs edged the Cowboys 31-29 in the NFL season opener, yet there were tangible signs that Tampa Bay’s attack boasts massive potential. And here comes Atlanta, fresh off a 32-6 beatdown at home against a Philly club that can hardly match the Bucs in terms of firepower.

Despite 14 Eagle penalties, the Falcons were trounced in Arthur Smith’s debut as head coach. Atlanta is a prohibitive underdog Sunday as the Bucs honor Monte Kiffin.

Perhaps Kiffin can whisper some pre-game advice to the Falcon defense because it sure looks like Grady Jarrett and company are in for a long season.

The Falcons don’t have much of a pass rush — and we just witnessed once again what Tom Brady can do when unhurried. Brady threw 50 passes without being sacked and Tampa Bay’s 22 first downs through the air led all teams in Week 1.

New Orleans was the only other club that didn’t allow a sack, and Jameis Winston attempted only 20 passes, not 50.

Telling totals from offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, writes Ira Kaufman.

The Bucs averaged 6.7 yards per snap while converting 5-of-11 third-down situations, even as the ground game struggled. Byron Leftwich dialed up only 14 runs, the fewest of any team on opening weekend. Twelve of those runs came on first down, compared to 20 passes.

If Dallas would have sprung a huge upset, you can be sure Bruce Arians would have been muttering “Bucs beating Bucs” to himself ,all the way to the tunnel. Instead, the Cowboys were so busy driving for a go-ahead FG that they left Brady too much time.

Fatal mistake.

Key completions to Rob Gronkowski and Chris Godwin set up Ryan Succop’s winning FG as the Bucs overcame a minus-3 turnover differential and 11 penalties. Five of those flags provided Dallas with a first down, so consider Tampa Bay the most gracious host in the league.

Let’s dispense with the Southern hospitality.

No other club had four giveaways in Week 1. It’s worth noting the three teams who turned the ball over three times — Green Bay, Tennessee and Jacksonville – were all beaten decisively.

The Bucs made a little history Thursday night, becoming the first team in NFL annals to win a game despite a minus-3 turnover ratio, at least 100 yards in penalties and at least 450 total yards of offense by the opposition. That’s a testament to Tampa Bay’s grit and Brady’s refusal to let his teams lose.

Added Dimension

Buc fans weren’t surprised by the sturdy pass protection or Gronkowski’s brilliance as a red-zone target, but the resurrection of Antonio Brown spells big trouble for opponents and gives Leftwich’s
offense an exciting, additional dimension.

Antonio Brown

In his last seven games, Brown has caught 33 of his 47 targets for 468 yards and 7 touchdowns. If he can maintain that pace and play a full season, Brown would finish with 80 receptions, 1,139 yards and 17 scores.

Not bad for a No. 3 receiver.

Who needs O.J. Howard? Whatever he gives this team is gravy. The meat and potatoes are more than enough to raise the Bucs to the top of the NFL scoring chart.

The ground game will come around if Leftwich gives it a chance. If defenses can’t rush Brady off his spot, they’ll have no chance.

The Bucs just scored 31 points without breaking a sweat. If Godwin hadn’t fumbled at the 2-yard line, Tampa Bay might have cracked the 40-point mark, despite a league-high four giveaways.

The Bucs scored 75 points in sweeping the Falcons last season as Brady had his way.

Fly away, Dirty Birds, you don’t want any part of what’s about to go down.

Sage Ira Kaufman drives a 2020 Ford Escape, cherry red, from Bill Currie Ford. Ira loves that ride as much as he adores tater tots. Shop now at BillCurrieFord.com and demand the Ira Kaufman discount.

45 Responses to “Impending Slaughter”

  1. Ben the GA Buc Says:

    I hate to be that guy, but for weeks, this site said we were going to “boat race” the Cowboys. We almost lost that game. Let’s slow our roll a bit and manage our own expectations.

    Yes, I believe the Bucs will win this weekend. Atlanta, even in their worst years, have usually made it difficult on the Bucs. I don’t want to expect anything different.

  2. gbobucsfan Says:

    “Fly away, Dirty Birds, you don’t want any part of what’s about to go down.”

    Love that line.

  3. Bojim Says:

    Trade OJ for a decent CB.

  4. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    Well said Ben.

  5. Pistol Pete Says:

    Did OJ play? I remember seeing Brate in the game, but OJ?
    Pistol

  6. Mike C Says:

    Bojim, to who?

  7. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Yes Oj played some

  8. SlyPirate Says:

    If we’re expecting a better effort from Tampa, we should also expect improvements from Atlanta.

  9. Ugotobbed Says:

    That’s what you said about the Cowboy game! LOL

  10. PassingThru Says:

    I think OJ had something like 5 snaps.

    I don’t expect much out of him for the next few weeks.

  11. Leighroy Says:

    So that “take a shot when the Bucs run on 1st down” drinking game would have meant 12 shots eh? Can’t wait to get Licht on Sunday!

  12. Jerry Says:

    Saints just got hit hard with COVID. 8 positive tests including 6 coaches, a player, and another staff member. PFT says it may get worse as testing continues in the coming days.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    While I agree with Ira….again……TBBF usually doesn’t go into a game thinking we will stomp the other team…..I’m often wrong if I do.

  14. Bucfan81 Says:

    Well we always seem to play down to our competition so I expect this to be closer than people think. Also it is a division game and those are always closer.

  15. Jerry Says:

    Bucs are favored by 13.

  16. PassingThru Says:

    That Atlanta OLine stinks.

    Matt Ryan should call in sick Sunday.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    Never been a fan of folks poor-mouthing an opposing team. Karma can be a real bitch sometimes.

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    The Bucs SHOULD beat up on the Falcons — but come on, expecting a beat down, that’s the new norm? I don’t like it. Now the bar is so high that if the Bucs win by 9 points people are asking if things aren’t going well.

  19. PassingThru Says:

    If this team struggles against Atlanta, there are far more serious problems than an overconfident fan base.

  20. Rayjay1122 Says:

    I think we will win and the final score will be like 38 – 23 with the Falcons up 10-7 at the end of the 1st Qtr. The Bucs win with no big worries even though the game will be closer than the score indicates.

  21. Wild Bill Says:

    I would be happy with a solid win. Every week of course. 🙂

  22. Hodad Says:

    Just win baby.

  23. 123urout Says:

    I want a nail biter game. Another FG by Succop to win the game by 1.

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We had the best thing that could have happened to us in week one…..to get a scare….play poorly and still win……
    That should have been a huge wakeup call……hopefully we won’t beat ourselves and if that happens we should coast to a victory.

  25. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Don’t be that team that gives a one game resurgence because of over confidence because we do it. Defense did it for Dallas’ offense. No penalties and turnovers and this offense always a recipe for winning

  26. Youngbucs Says:

    On Sunday If the Bucs win their 9th in a row while scoring 30+pts it’s a new nfl record. We are currently tied with the 2007 and 2010 pats. 🐐out here breaking his own records. Go Bucs!

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Off subject…..but you must watch Jaydon Mickens presser……..now this is what a bottom of the roster, bubble player should be…

    He is enthusiastic…..wants to win….wants to perform….a team first guy….great kid…

    I’m thinking that Darden is project and am comfortable with Mickens until Darden is ready…….but that’s an important roster spot…..don’t think Darden would stick on the PS so I guess we’ll have to eat the spot.

  28. Rod Munch Says:

    Darden was the last pick of the 4th round, that’s a developmental player, and only a small percentage of them ever work out. Doesn’t mean Darden won’t work out, but it’s still a longshot. Also, as a 4th round pick, he can not be a bust, even if he never plays a down. You don’t want to waste your fourth rounders (or 3rd rounders – Vaughn), but you need to give them some time since the transition to the NFL isn’t easy – and if they had elite attributes, they would have been drafted earlier.

  29. Mike Johnson Says:

    The game has yet to be played. Although I believe we will win, I would not trash talk or belittle the Falcons. Remember injuries are a part of the game. And God help us if Brady goes down.

  30. Youngbucs Says:

    The same people I swear wanna down play the Bucs 2 big up a rivals losers.

  31. Youngbucs Says:

    The only thing going down involving Brady is records all season long.

  32. Beeej Says:

    Almost lost my $50 bet to go 17-0 on the very first week, this gonna be a long season

  33. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Passing thru

    Weren’t you the one that said Dak would be rusty and the Bucs would roll?

    You must be new around here…or just Passing thru.

  34. PassingThru Says:

    Hey, I gave you props last time you said it.

    What would you like Jmarkbuc? A pat on the head?

  35. PassingThru Says:

    My caveat last time was that if the Bucs couldn’t mount a credible pass rush, Dak would heat up… which he did. Most very good passers (including Matt Ryan) will carve you up if you let them get into a passing rhythm.

    As I said before, the Atlanta OLine absolutely stinks, unlike the Dallas OLine which is still one of the better ones in the league. If Matt Ryan tees off on the Bucs Sunday, that would mean the pass rush failed. And that would signify some very serious problems on the Bucs defense.

  36. ScurvyDogs Says:

    We need to go get Richard Sherman on the cheap.

  37. Jmarkbuc Says:

    I must have missed it, but that’s neither here nor there.

    You’re doing the same thing again. I’m with Defense rules and Ben from Ga.

    Karma’s a bitch.

  38. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Slow your roll Ira.
    While I appreciate your enthusiasm I strongly disagree with your take that we’ll smash the Falcons.

    We should.
    We can.

    But we haven’t yet.

    You’ve been a Bucs fan as long as I have and you should know better.

  39. PassingThru Says:

    It’s all good, this is a message board. Have fun and take a position. My pet peeve is someone who waves pom moms. Just take a position and reason it out.

  40. PassingThru Says:

    (and I believe it was in the game thread when you first pointed it out, Jmarkbuc)

  41. Buczilla Says:

    Great article Ira, as always. Don’t you ever get tired of calling it right? With the stark exception of your wideout rankings, you’d be perfect dude. 😜

  42. Doctor Stroud Says:

    I’ll be attending the home game anyway. With the Dirty Birds on a downward trajectory, I hope that their fans won’t feel that it’s worth the drive down I-75 to bless us with their presence this Sunday.

  43. PassingThru Says:

    One last take:

    What fans project or prognosticate does not matter; it does not affect the outcome. I suppose it matter if you’re into voodoo or some other superstitious practice.

    Got that Defense Rules, Jmarkbuc, et al?

  44. Ne+ bucs fan Says:

    Even in the Jets, dolphins, bills worst years it’s a divisional opponent that always played Brady tough, still expecting a win,,the saying any given Sunday comes to mind,, divisional opponent always play you tough

  45. Crickett Baker Says:

    I really noticed the Falcons mostly all seemed exhausted in the 4th quarter. They did not seem in good shape mentally nor physically. My bet is we beat them by a mile.