The Morning After

October 15th, 2021

(Photo courtesy of

Good morning on this beautiful Victory Friday. Joe doesn’t get to type that often so let’s dive in to the deep end of the pool while we enjoy it.

Welcome Back, Playoff Lenny

Joe thinks we can all agree the Bucs have been inconsistent. Outside of two games, the Bucs really haven’t curb-stomped many teams. Last night was one of those games. Yet the Bucs are 5-1, a heckuva start.

Only four previous times have the Bucs begun a season 5-1. The team won at least 10 games in each season.

One reason the Bucs won last night was the play of Playoff Lenny. He had 127 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns — 81 yards and two scores rushing and 46 yards receiving.

Talking with Erin Andrews after the game on NFL Network, Playoff Lenny didn’t want to be singled out for praise. Instead, he gave props to Mr. Seven Rings for organizing hour-long sessions after practice for the entire offense, brainstorming sessions to work on improving the run game.

“Not just for me, but as a unit, just trying to get our run game together after practices,” Playoff Lenny said. “Come together for an hour.

“Tom calls them together. And he does a good job of distributing the ball to everybody.”

Playoff Lenny said he is just trying to take advantage and he is thankful for his second chance with the Bucs.

Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians has always said he wanted a punishing run game to go with his explosive offense. Arians and the Bucs had that in the postseason last year. For at least for one warm October night in Philadelphia, Arians had it again.

With Playoff Lenny.

“He’s playing as a really good three-down back right now,” Arians said of Playoff Lenny. “At a high level.”

The Ressurection of O.J. Howard

Many Bucs fans are still waiting for their 2017 first round draft pick, tight end O.J. Howard, to break out. It hasn’t happened.

Oh, he’s had flashy plays and a few good games, but then Howard goes into hiding only to emerge later in the season.

To be polite, Howard has been something of a disappointment. But with last night’s game, could Howard be seeing more snaps?

Howard last year blew his Achilles, a major injury, in the fourth game of the season and is now a year removed from surgery. We’ve been seeing more of Howard in each game. Last night he had one of his best with six catches and a touchdown and a powerful, bulldozing run-after-catch.

Joe never knew Howard had that in him.

Could it be that Howard’s steadily growing impact is coinciding with his recovery?

Despite many Bucs fans being disappointed in Howard, his touchdown last night was the 15th of his career, good enough for fourth place in Bucs franchise history for a tight end.

Interesting to Joe, Howard’s teammate, Cam Brate, has been with the Bucs three more seasons than Howard yet has nearly double the touchdowns (29). Only Jimmie Giles (34) has more than Brate for Bucs tight ends.

Beasting Vita Vea

Vita Vea is quickly becoming one of Joe’s favorite players. The guy is a monster.

He was up to his old tricks last night looking like wrestler Andre The Giant in a battle royal, just tossing bodies around and clogging up the middle like three men rolled into one.

Hell, once Joe thought Vea was going to run down Jalen Hurts when Hurts escaped the pocket and rolled right. Vea was with Hurts step-for-step for a while.

That guy, that huge, that quick? It’s just not right.

Vea was doubled-teamed by Landon Dickerson and Jason Kelce. Dickerson at one point pushed Vea to Dickerson’s right squarely in front of Kelce. Vea then just ragdolled Kelce like you would a drunk who stood in your way to get to the beer vendor. It was one of Joe’s favorite plays of the year.

Then with Miles Sanders trying to run up the middle, Vea just grabbed him from the side, bear-hugs him and Sanders was stopped dead in his tracks.

Vea looked like someone playing in “The Longest Yard.” He finished with three tackles, a sack and two quarterback hits. Dude is something.

This guy Vea is just damn fun to watch and Joe is so glad he’s on the Bucs’ roster.

Shaq Attack

For a while there in the first half, it looked like the Super Bowl the way Bucs sack king Shaq Barrett was chasing Hurts out of the pocket.

Shaq has really raised his level of play after a slow start. He paired with Jason Pierre-Paul on a sack and Shaq had two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. He now has four sacks to lead the Bucs through six games. He also leads the Bucs with five tackles for loss and seven quarterback hits.

So right now, Shaq is on pace for a double-digit sack season and over 15 quarterback hits, both of which would best his numbers from last season.

Now if the Bucs can just get JPP healthy, Tampa Bay will again be terrorizing opposing quarterbacks.

Defense Sucked It Up

In you don’t come to play,  you will likely get clowned. And when veteran corner Richard Sherman blew out his hamstring early, along with the many other injuries to Bucs cornerbacks, Joe was thinking the worst.

It’s not like the Eagles have rotten receivers and tight ends.

That didn’t happen. And Arians after the game made sure to give the defense props for not folding when Sherman limped off the field for good in the first half.

“I thought the defense played really good,” Arians said. “We had a couple, a bunch of good stops. It was just the two long-play penalties. And letting Jalen get out of the pocket to his right which was, the game plan was not to let that happen. He’s pretty quick.”

As far as late when the Eagles appeared to start gashing the Bucs on the ground — something we haven’t seen in a long time around here — to pull within one score, Arians said that was because the defense was playing for the pass and not for the run.

But yeah, props to the defense for strapping on the big boy pants when it looked grim.

“Guys stepped in and played really well for us,” Arians said.

26 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Tbbucs3 Says:

    It’s a great sign when Donovan Smith name didn’t come up once throughout the whole game. I didnt even noticed him out there. He’s gotta be the Bucs most improved player. Him and Lenny.

  2. Rod Munch Says:

    Brady had a 102.2 QB rating last night, that dropped him down a bit to 108.3.

    On the QB rating list, he’s now tied with…


    Say it with me…

    Winston, Jameis, who has a 108.3.

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    Was just looking back at our history in Philly and forgot about this gem….

    2015: The last time the Bucs played in Philly, they won 45-10.

    Winston had 246 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs
    Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards.
    LVD had 2 INTs
    McCoy had 1.5 sacs

  4. DaBux Says:

    Our boys survived the stretch from hell (Rams-Patriots-Fins-Eagles) in a short period of time with 3/4 road games. To be 5-1 now is damned good. We have some time to get healthy and ready for Chicago and the Aints then a much needed bye week.

    Let’s truck those suckers a week from Sunday boys.

  5. Patrianakos Says:

    Another week, another W.
    Particularly loved running out the last six minutes.
    Steady as she goes.

  6. Bucsfanman Says:

    Save for those PI penalties, I thought the defense looked pretty good.
    Dean still scares me a bit. His “technique” is um, not good. Frankly, we got away with a few, including his INT. If that ball is underthrown, it’s a completion. And that no-call in the endzone, whew!
    One thing that stood out to me was the DL playing time. Vea and Suh were spelled often. almost to the point of 50/50. Those are your best players and it was clear when they were in the game.
    Congrats to Howard for showing up. He played well.
    Oh, and did someone say a “running game”?!

    Great win!

  7. Miller5252 Says:

    Vita is having the year he should have had last year while hurt. It crazy to think that he’s doing this to guys that are 300lb+, makes em look like little league players. The play above is what’s going to get this guy a huge payday.

  8. mg Says:

    Mr. Vea is must watch. I’m sad when he is not on the field!

  9. JC Says:

    Remember when people were up in arms about drafting Vea over Derwin James? 😄😄

  10. TDTB Says:

    They need to sign Holton Hill off of the Bengals practice squad.

  11. Doctor Stroud Says:

    I loved that tackle! Still, every time Miles Sanders touched the ball, the Iggles fans cheered like they had just won the Superbowl. Why? A lot of ‘inside Eagles fans jokes’ last night on the broadcast.

  12. Bradinator Says:

    You want to know how fast Tryon-Shoyinka is? They had that guy playing “spy” on Hurts last night. When was the last time you saw a pass rushing LB/DE playing “spy”. Still need to see more of him on the field, especially on pass downs.

    The D felt they had it in the bag, and one point the DL/OLB line up was Nelson, O’conner, Gholston, and TRyon-Shoyinka. That is not the A team for the front. Vea, Suh, Shaq, and JPP all sitting out the series leading to the Eagles 2nd TD drive.

    Fournette looks better and better every week. Really running well AND catching the ball without the dropsies that plagued him before. OJ Howard had a very good game. He must be getting near 100% now for his health. He was blasting guys trying to tackle him. Nice to see.

  13. Hodad Says:

    I hope JPP plays better when the club comes off, and he’s healthy. My worry is it’s more like father time catching up with him. On a short week I would expect Suh, and Vea to get spelled more. Vea is a big man, and Suh is no spring chicken. Lenny, and the ground game are getting going which is fun to watch. I’ll give some props to Rojo also. He’s not sulking now that Lenny is the lead back. He’s running hard with his opportunities. Joe, no mention of A.B.? The dude has been playing lights out. I forgot the other D ends name from Iowa we have. Why can’t I remember his name, because he never makes a play so his name is never mentioned. Time to give another player his snaps. Whoever he is he sucks.

  14. Ash Says:

    JTS needs to see the field more don’t understand the rush to get jpp out there so often while he is injured. That clubbed hand is making him a liability he is just not effective with it can’t get off blocks can’t set the edge can’t perform pass rush moves the dolphin game was the same.

  15. ocala Says:

    JTS looks like a better player than JPP right now.

  16. Show Me the TDs Says:

    If AB had proper cleats and Rojo and OJ would pick up their feet it would have been a blowout. Especially Rojo. He needs to watch some Roger Craig film.

  17. Jmarkbuc Says:

    My takeaway is that coverage must have been better… Hurts was chased around because he couldn’t find anywhere to throw, not taking anything from the rush it was better too. Phillys best offense was DPI. Without that we could have shot them out.

    First half play calling was imaginative.. second half, just head scratching. 4th&2?

  18. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Rod Munch

    Payton lets him throw for 150 a game for 897 yards ….

  19. BrooklynBucsFan Says:


    Winston has 893 yards this season and 12 TDs 3-2 in 3rd place

    Brady has over 2000(over 1700 before last night) and 17TDs(15 TDS before last night) and is 5-1 in first place

    Gimme a break with this Winston comparison, because their isn’t one. Who cares if the QB rating is the same, the important numbers are quite different. Besides, Jameis has always put together 5-6 games of good play, it’s consistency over a whole season that’s been the problem.

  20. Hodad Says:

    Munch, Winston who?

  21. Swampbuc Says:

    Kaystradamus is so hot. She just is. That is all.

  22. Crickett Baker Says:

    Terrific article, Joe.

  23. Steven Berry Says:

    Uncomfortable???…really??..lets destroy him then…

  24. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Way too many penalties. How is it possible with a D line like Bucs not one holding call on the Eagles? I saw one play a olineman had his arm around Vea neck and another his waist. Bucs oline is way underrated they are beasts. Love how Jensen stepped in when Cox was in Brady’s face, not on his watch Fletch, bring it on!

  25. joedotcom Says:

    Agree with bucsfanman about deans face guarding technique. Lenny is bulldozer plus his pass routes and hands are super.and when pass play breaks down Brady looks for safety valve lenny who seems to always be in the open spot. It probably is me but Mickens seems shaky. I seen the ball on the ground a couple of times

  26. Purplepirate Says:

    “On the QB rating list, he’s now tied with…say it with me…

    Winston, Jameis, who has a 108.3”

    Brady is averaging almost 10 more completions per game than Winston averages in pass attempts and twice as many yards passing per game lol.

    Winston can barely sniff 200 yards per game. There’s a reason for that…the coach doesn’t trust him to throw the ball. Let’s see how that rating looks if Payton stops the hand holding and lets him throw 36 passes a game.