Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Rams

September 26th, 2021

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When Tampa Bay comes up short, Bruce Arians typically explains it away with the phrase “Bucs beating Bucs.”

Not this time.

The Rams were 10 points better than the visitors on Sunday and even the most ardent Buc supporter has to acknowledge it wasn’t that close.

The Bucs weren’t terrible at SoFi Stadium — the Rams were superb. For the second consecutive year, Sean McVay got the best of Todd Bowles as Tampa Bay’s defense couldn’t get off the field.

Los Angeles was flagged for only one penalty for four yards and the Rams didn’t turn the ball over, never trailing and never allowing Tom Brady to look comfortable in the pocket.

Meanwhile, Matt Stafford had enough time to survey the star-studded crowd and pick out the celebrities from the posers.

The 10-game winning streak is history as Tampa Bay suffered its first road setback since that frustrating night in Chicago when Brady lost track of downs.

Give the Rams a ton of credit. They reeled off four touchdowns and two field goals during a six-possession span that kept them unbeaten. They also opened up a gap against the Bucs if the teams end up vying for seeding in the NFC playoffs.

If you saw McVay running around like a giddy schoolboy during recess at the conclusion of the opening half, you knew how much this game meant for validation. A defense orchestrated by Raheem Morris didn’t exactly throw a blanket over Tampa Bay receivers, but Brady’s only TD pass came with the game out of reach.

Here’s how the Bucs fell a game behind the surprising Panthers in the NFC South:

* Third-down defense continues to torment Bowles through three games. Opponents have converted 25-of-47 on the money down while the Buc pass rush has gone bankrupt. Stafford was masterful in making smart decisions and the lack of pressure on key downs was painfully evident in La La Land.

* Can someone on this team cover Cooper Kupp? The guy’s a smooth route runner, but he has tormented this secondary unmercifully for two years running, catching 20 of the 25 passes sent his way for 241 yards and two scores.

* The Bucs didn’t have a giveaway, but there were some big-time mistakes. Mike Edwards, last week’s fourth-quarter savior, fell down on DeSean Jackson’s 75-yard TD catch at the start of the second half.

*Bradley Pinion, so solid during the 2-0 start, shanked a 15-yard punt from his own 22, setting up a FG and a 31-14 Rams lead late in the third quarter.

Shaq draws Ira Kaufman’s attention

* There’s no polite way to say this: Shaq Barrett is not playing up to his contract. The Bucs showed him the love in the offseason and he has not repaid their faith. He registered one QB hit on Sunday, which was one more than he posted vs. the Rams last November. He needed to step up with Jason Pierre-Paul sidelined. Didn’t happen.

* This sounds preposterous, but it’s true. In each of the three games, the Bucs have generated more penalty yards than rushing yards. The count is 230-169 in favor of penalty yardage and this nonsense has to stop.

* Brady is on pace to throw 799 passes this season. That’s a ridiculous number and there’s a long way to go, but it’s not ideal for a 44-year-old man to be averaging 47 pass attempts. That’s too much pressure on an offensive line that held up fairly well against Aaron Donald and company.

* Arians keeps preaching offensive balance, but it’s not happening. Between them, Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette carried only nine times. Brady was Tampa Bay’s leading rusher with 14 yards. You can get away with being one-dimensional against the Cowboys and Falcons. In the City of Angels, you can’t just wing it.

* This battered defense needs to reclaim its mojo at Foxboro, where rookie quarterback Mac Jones is coming off a mistake-prone effort vs. the Saints. Tom Brady’s return to New England will assuredly dominate the headlines, but the bigger story for Buc fans is whether Bowles can return this unit to past glory against a pedestrian attack.

* Who played well for the visitors? Here’s the short list – Mike Evans and Ross Cockrell.

* Opponents are coming out of the halftime tunnel and burying the Bucs. Tampa Bay has been outscored 42-24 in the third quarter, so 48 percent of the points allowed by the Bucs through three games have come in the 15 minutes following intermission. Translation? So far, the Bucs seem to be losing the adjustment battle.

Ira showing off Bill Currie Ford’s nationwide lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles.

24 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Rams”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    This is an incredibly sloppy, uninspired group.

    Not even The GOAT has kept their heads from getting fat.

    Every PS game was crap, and not the first three regular-season games.

    I detect a trend.

  2. Miller5252 Says:

    Right on the mark again Ira. I hope they didn’t run outta beer at big storm today. Im sure there was a lot of drinking going on there while everyone was trying to wash that nasty butt kicking outta their mouth. Got a lot money to our front 7 that isn’t earning it. It’s only one game right???? Too bad the first 3 games for our D has looked the same…. Garbage!

  3. Medicated Pete Says:

    Arians & several players were on National radio/tv last week doing interviews listening to all the hosts tell them how great they are. NFL Network has a special on Devin White Tuesday.

  4. Hodad Says:

    Very good points, sadly all to true. Did the stars just align last year? Arains detest running the ball. As good as Brady can sling it, we ain’t winning when he’s our leading rusher. Oh, and he had our only rushing TD for the day, yikes!

  5. Ed Says:

    The finger has to be pointed at Shaq Barrett and Devin White not bringing down quarterbacks. Barrett has been very blockable and isn’t showing the edge rushing talent we saw two years ago. White needs to make more of an impact blowing up QBs.

    It’s so disappointing that they can’t win one on one battles at the LOS. The Rams really were manhandling them.

    All I see is soft play on the defense all season. No physical intimidation. They need to re-establish their defense.

    No issues with the offense, they are fine. Defense has been far below average.

  6. Fefe Says:

    It’s pretty hard to get to a quarterback when the DB’s aren’t covering crap. Wouldn’t be surprised if we sign Sherman tomorrow.

  7. #1bucsfan Says:

    We can’t get to the QB and we can’t cover. Going to be a long season for us if we have to put up over 40 pts to win. Our offense can do it when firing on all cylinders but man our defense has got to make so changes quick. Close one in Dallas, ATL hung around and the rams showed us that we better tighten up. Hope the players and coaches get to it.

  8. logan merrick Says:

    “losing the adjustment battle”…? On defense, there are zero adjustments being made. Bowles continues to do the same things week in and week out that don’t work. Where are the schemes from the playoffs against the Saints and Chiefs? Those schemes are gone and never seen again. Our pass rush is non-existent. Nobody is winning their one on one’s and it’s disgusting. The secondary is awful and with no pass rush, it makes it even worse. No wonder this team went to LA and lost, the offense can’t do all the work.

  9. Swampbuc Says:

    This team is still deep in its super bowl hangover. They may not get out of it. Discord to ensue soon.

  10. T REX Says:

    both lines manhandled

    You just don’t fix that overnight.

  11. unbelievable Says:

    Los Angeles was only flagged for 1 penalty because the officiating was dog chit, let’s be real.

    You can’t throw that flag on Gronk, who was simply running his route, when you stand by and allow Devin White to be taken out by a WR, then allow an illegal pick play later that same drive for a touchdown without throwing any flags. Not to mention blatant holding by the Rams all day.

    Not the only reason we lost, but it definitely contributes to us getting behind in the 1st half.

    That said, our defense is just soft. The only guys playing well are the defensive tackles.

    Putting your 5th string CB on Kupp over and over was criminal.

  12. CHI-BUC Says:

    Barrett has always been a 1 trick pony that only looks good when everyone else around him are double teamed, but what happened to D White and Winfield. These guys were flying to the ball last year. Now we’re lucky if they make it into the camera frame before the play is over (and another successful 3rd down conversion). D White getting blown up by Woods was downright embarrassing to watch.

    I’m finding it hard to put too much blame on a banged up secondary that has to maintain coverage too long because there is no pass rush. The secondary is missing key players, so a little help would be nice. Cockrell looked like the only def player who hadn’t given up.

  13. adam from ny Says:

    the superbowl magic carpet ride is officially over ira…

    they need to get their sh!t together now….

    and realize it’s a new season, and they are just 1 of 32…


  14. adam from ny Says:

    good stuff a always ira

  15. adam from ny Says:


  16. Izod Says:

    The mark of a quality defensive coordinator is his performance on 3rd (and 4th) downs. You can throw every other stat out the window because they are hard to parse (i.e., is it the players or the coordinator).

    We lack quality in the DB and that’s been known for years. We are also overrated on the DL, we found out today that we are nothing more than average there (on a good day) and against good OLs we can’t pressure unless we blitz (which we can’t now because of crappy Dbacks)

  17. Buczilla Says:

    Tough love. Great stuff Ira. They were kicking our butts no matter what, but there was a lot of home cooking going on with ref calls as well. No excuse and we had no juice, hopefully getting our heads kicked in will wake this team the hell up.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Excellent analysis Sage; spot on. We’ve now seen 3 teams play us almost exactly the same way, and the one with the good defense kicked our ass. Whodathunkit?

    Bucs were out of that game soon as DJax caught that deep pass to start the 3rd qtr & make it 21-7. Our defense showed up for the first couple of series & stopped the Rams, but our offense didn’t awaken until the 2nd qtr (punted on first 3 series?). By then the tone for the ballgame had been set. Rams looked to be a lot more physical on both sides of the ball all game I thought.

    Losing both SMB & Dean certainly doesn’t help, but I thought Cockrell played reasonably well. Delaney on the other hand looked like a typical rookie, but it didn’t look like he was getting any help from the Safeties (or Nickel).

    But the real culprits in this game I thought were the game plans, both offensively & defensively. Brady was an incredible 41-for-55 (432 yds passing), yet we still couldn’t sustain drives. Lack of a running game (13 carries for 35 yds) killed us. Defensively our pass coverage scheme is dismal, especially in the short middle of the field. I don’t know what’s happening with Devin White, but anytime your middle LB gets ONE solo tackle (4 total) in a game you’ve probably lost. Of course the non-existent pass rush doesn’t help that (Stafford had WAY TOO MUCH TIME on most of his passes). Oh well, on to New England.

  19. DBS Says:

    Like I said in the game thread. Guess who would try to put it on the offense? 21-7 Game is not set if our crap defense could do it’s job. 24-21 beats that.

  20. Bruce Blahak Says:

    no pressure, no cover, no win

  21. Wideleftandright Says:

    The secondary is full of undersized creampuffs that get injured every game when their getting their butts handed to them.
    Other teams dont even HAVE to consider running.
    All the draft capital spent on those positions ,wasted !!

  22. Brandon Says:

    No pass rush will mean no Super Bowl… blame the secondary all you want, this is on the pathetic pass rush. Also, for the dunces that think we should run empty all the time and just chuck and duck, that’s not what propelled us to eight straight wins at the end of last year and it won’t work this year.

  23. BA4President Says:

    Wow, talk about being brought back down to Earth…

  24. Bradysdad Says:

    The rams played like it was the super bowl, and the Bucs didn’t come close to matching the rams effort.

    Bucs defense is not good right now, zero pass rush, and your dbs are all awful.

    I haven’t heard David or whites name in three games.

    No attempt to run the ball.

    Brady, Gronk, evans, and Godwin have all played extremely well.

    The rams blew there load in week 3, it’s a long season.

    The Bucs haven’t played a good all around game yet.

    Run the ball!