Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Buccaneers-Colts

November 29th, 2021

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Through 10 games, Buc fans were looking for something. That 7-3 record was OK, but there was one important element missing.

Not anymore.

On a Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis. with the scoreboard and a crowded infirmary stacked against them, the 2021 Bucs found their championship pedigree. Tom Brady guided the winning drive, but he had all kinds of help from an opportunistic defense and playmakers like Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette.

Tampa Bay’s championship pedigree was evident in a huge second half that silenced the crowd and stunned a surging team that is scrapping for a playoff berth. Meanwhile, the Bucs have forged a 3-game cushion atop the NFC South with six regular-season games remaining.

It’s all about playoff seeding for the Bucs at this point, with Antonio Brown and Carlton Davis expected to return in the next few weeks.

The Bucs were resilient and mentally tough Sunday as Jamel Dean, Aaron Stinnie and Devin White departed early with injuries.

Even when Carson Wentz was carving them up in a prolific second quarter, Tampa Bay defenders remained poised and confident. On the game’s most critical snap, Shaq Barrett rewarded that faith with a takeaway that swung all the momentum in Tampa Bay’s favor.

Here’s how the Bucs snapped their road lethargy in dynamic style:

* How does he do it? At the age of 32, with a battered body that could be on a Caribbean beach soaking up the sun, Rob Gronkowski continues to light up this offense. Seven catches for 123 yards doesn’t tell the whole story, either. Gronk kept shedding would-be tacklers with the fierce determination that will make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer. No wonder Brady looks his way so often.

* After a quiet opening half, Barrett tormented Wentz into submission. His third-quarter strip, just when the Colts appeared to be driving for a potential 17-point advantage, energized the Bucs and single-handedly turned the game around. It reminded me of the key strip by Antoine Winfield Jr. in the playoff game at New Orleans, with the Saints driving to pad their lead.

* Fournette has been playing outstanding football for an extended period, positioning himself well in the 2022 free-agent market. Brady trusts him as a target and he’s breaking tackles all over the field. Ronald Jones isn’t doing anything wrong in his limited touches — it’s more a case of Fournette doing everything right.

* Indy’s Darius Leonard was terrific despite the setback, credited with 15 tackles and a forced fumble. What a player.

* This Buc attack sputters on occasion, but you have to marvel at Tampa Bay’s knack for reaching the end zone. The Bucs have scored 42 offensive TDs while adding only 14 FGs. For the mathematically challenged, that’s three TDs for every Ryan Succop kick. In 2020, the ratio was 58 TDs and 28 FGs. Two years ago, it was 48 TDs and 27 FGs. This team doesn’t settle.

* Winfield’s third-quarter pick at the Tampa Bay 5-yard line should be must-see video for any young defensive back. Perfect technique, perfect finish. Huge play.

* The Bucs just made an elite back disappear for 50 minutes. Jonathan Taylor was so ineffective against the NFL’s No. 1 rush defense, Frank Reich forgot about him and ordered up 26 consecutive passes at one point. Wentz, who threw only 20 times at Buffalo last week, attempted 44 passes. The 306 yards and three TD throws were nice, but he was sacked three times and picked off twice. Reich got carried away by that second-quarter success through the air and Wentz’s effectiveness diminished rather markedly in the final 30 minutes.

* The Colts had relied on Taylor’s startling productivity and a plus-15 turnover margin to fuel their surge. On Sunday, Fournette outplayed Taylor and the Bucs finished plus-3. That’s championship pedigree.

* Mike Edwards keeps making plays. Safety, nickel, special teams … the kid makes plays.

* Gronkowski said the Bucs were flat in the opening half. That’s putting it kindly. They had struggled on the road and this looked like another stinker. But then something happened. They found their stride. They found their mojo. Yes, they found their championship pedigree.

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20 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Buccaneers-Colts”

  1. SB Says:

    It was a nail biting thing of beauty.

  2. Swampbuc Says:

    Ira nailed why this was a special and great victory.

    And instead of losing 3 of 4, the Bucs have a 2 game winning streak.

    Well said Ira.

  3. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    We were fortunate to win that game, and if not for their turnovers, the outcome could have been very different!
    Basically, they took Godwin and Evans right out of the game!
    Imagine this game, if we didn’t have Gronk ?
    LOL – do you really think that OJ Howard would have won this game for us, the way Gronk did ?

  4. D-Rome Says:

    Great 10, Ira.

  5. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    What an offensive adjustment by our Bucs! Indy was committed to not giving up the deep shots and Tom was looking for for them in the first half. Indy’s game plan opened the door for Lenny and Gronk and they absolutely delivered. Brate had a few nice plays as well. The things that didn’t work against Washington worked perfectly yesterday and now opposing defenses are back to the drawing board on how to stop this lethal freaking offense.
    The defense played very hard. The injuries to Dean and White gave the Colts some holes to exploit but our other playmakers stepped up big time. This was a great team win. Go Bucs!

  6. Francisco Guzman Says:

    Need to run the table to have any chance at a second seed.

  7. David Crum Says:

    They are finding ways to get it done and that’s what matters but… It’s been several weeks now that most defenses are playing two safeties over the top, essentially double teaming Godwin and Evans on the outside. It forces a lot of tight end throws and running back throws and wide receiver screens.

  8. Tampaabaybucfan Says:

    Ira, you could condense this from 10 to 2 Takeaways….

    Turnovers, Penalties & Special Teams…

    Although we had our problems…..Indy was worse…..

    And……we have the worst return blocking and coverage in the league…..the one kickoff Indy decides to return, look what happened……Pinion usually has touvhbacks….5 yards deep isn’t good enough, apparently.

  9. Francisco Guzman Says:

    David Crum evans and godwin need to do a better job getting open. If they’re running the two safeties the bucs need to do a better job running the ball. Make the safety move up.

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    Our offense looks so crappy sometimes that it’s hard to imagine there are HOF’ers at key positions leading it. That said, they made adjustments and scored 38 points in route to a big win in Indy!
    How big was that run-game yesterday?!

  11. fern Says:

    when lenny broke that tackle and trucked to endzone I lost it!!!!
    Go BUCS!!!!

  12. Darin Says:

    Me too fern i needed the points. Hope they keep the pedigree until February if they already found it.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    I’m surprised Sage that you didn’t focus more on the role that turnovers played in the outcome.

    Bucs had 2 giveaways, and Indy only capitalized on one. The fumble by Godwin gave them the ball at Indy 34 & our defense forced them to punt. TB12’s INT halfway through the 2nd qtr killed our drive, BUT it was as good as a 44-yd punt (Indy got the ball at their own 10-yd line, then proceeded to march 90 yds down the field for a TD).

    Colts had 5 giveaways, and the Bucs capitalized on 4 of them & the 5th one (the last INT) ended the game.

    o Qtr 1 – Fumble at Indy 34 … Bucs scored TD in 8 plays.
    o Qtr 3 – Fumble at Bucs 35 … Bucs scored TD in 7 plays.
    o Qtr 3 – INT at Bucs 35 … Bucs scored TD in 8 plays.
    o Qtr 4 – Fumble on punt at Indy 19 … Bucs scored FG.

    That’s 24 of our 38 points coming off of Colts’ turnovers. Pretty decent COMPLEMENTARY FOOTBALL in my opinion Ira.

    Also I thought the 2 S/Ts faux pas were very costly. Pinion’s VERY SHORT 14-yd punt on the 4th play of the game, combined with the 10-yd holding penalty, gave the Colts the ball on the Bucs 30-yd line for their first series of the game. Thankfully our defense stood tall & held them to a FG. And that 72-yd kickoff return with 20 seconds left in the game was absurd & inexcusable. Mike Edwards definitely saved the day with his tackle at the Bucs 32-yd line.

  14. Perimeter Blocker Says:

    This is a quality win against a good opponent. It wasn’t easy but all Bucs fans should be proud.

  15. Miller5252 Says:

    Look for Winfield winning a pair of gloves signed by Randy Moss. Pittman Jr…. You got Mossed by Winfield!

  16. Ed Says:

    When Brown gets back if he is 100% this offense can open up the playbook. Cam Brate and Tyler Johnson have no speed. Throwing to them underneath the zone doesn’t create any YAC. Brown is great YAC receiver. If the defenses keep playing the 2 deep safeties then Brown can run crossers and bust it open so they have to bring the safeties up.

    Once Evans is one on one on the outside he becomes a weapon. In the quick passing offense he isn’t a factor.

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    Good win, but Indy gifted us that game. We were toast at halftime and Indy self-destructed. They grasped defeat from the hands of victory. I could not believe how the Colts completely abandoned any kind of running game in that 2nd half. Truly a game of two or three plays.

  18. Bucsfanman Says:

    gotbbucs- There are some who won’t admit it but, Indy got out-coached in the 2nd half. We made adjustments, they did not.
    I’m sure they had “planned” to run more prior to turning the ball over on consecutive possessions.

    In truth, I was surprised that WE stuck to the run-game like we did.

  19. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I don’t know why everyone keeps saying they abandoned the run game in the second half?
    They only ran the ball 6 times in the first 3 quarters and then ran it 10 times in the 4th quarter for big gains.

    How are so many of you so wrong?

  20. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Chris@Apple Roof: you can say that about any game. Turnovers are the key to any football game, & our situation was attractive enough for Tom, who brought Gronk. Why are you removing realities?