Just A Matter Of Numbers

November 18th, 2021

Waiting on favorite targets?

To win a championship in any sport, the keys are health and getting hot at the right time.

The Bucs hit on both last year and — voila! — Super Bowl, baby, boom… boom… BOOM!

The past two games, the Bucs look more like the 2019 Bucs than the Bucs that ran through a murderer’s row of quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Pat Mahomes to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the thick Tampa night air.

Joe’s good friend Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders, a former high school math teacher who once had a pupil named “Joe Flacco,” says what’s going on with the Bucs now is what numbers guys would refer to as “regression to the mean.”

It’s tempting to imagine/hope/guess that age is finally, finally, finally catching up to [Tom] Brady. Well, fool me multiple times since roughly 2014 and it’s shame on you, but fool me in mid-November of 2021? Shame on me! I am now 100% certain that Brady purposely schedules these periodic slumps so he can generate a self-motivating everyone-counted-me-out narrative, or bathe in a fresh wellspring of adulation when he performs his umpteenth comeback, or just to fool the suckers. Well, consider this sucker un-suckered.

It’s more accurate to say that the sugar rush the Buccaneers enjoyed for nearly a calendar year has finally worn off. Remember: they were 7-5 as of Week 12 last year. They skated into the playoffs by trouncing the Falcons and Lions, then drew 7-9 Washington in the opening round instead of having to travel to face the Rams or Saints. Washington was a springboard to the Super Bowl, where the Buccaneers thumped a Chiefs offensive line full of bartenders and longshoremen. Then they rewrote the macro-capenomics textbooks to keep the band together and started the 2021 season 6-1.

Age hasn’t caught up to Brady, but injury luck and central tendency have caught up to the Buccaneers. Everything went just a little perfectly for a little too long. Their offense isn’t the same without Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski; their defense isn’t as dominant with a bunch of fill-ins at cornerback. Caroms aren’t bouncing their way as often. Last year’s penalty advantage (295 yards in the regular season, 76 in the postseason) has swung the other way (275 yards for opponents in 2021).

Joe thinks Tanie’rs last paragraph hits the nail on the head. The Bucs miss Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski more than they let on. Some think Brady is all discombobulated without his two security blankets.


It seems Gronk may be back soon. That will certainly help. And hopefully Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting will return by December.

6 Responses to “Just A Matter Of Numbers”

  1. Robert Says:

    76 penalty yards in the post season. heck we can double that in one game now!

  2. SB Says:

    Nice laydown by Tanier

  3. Tamlpabaybucfan Says:

    Gronk Completes Brady

  4. Craig Says:

    Age has less to do with it than luck. Luck that the coaches have a plan ( doesn’t seem to be a sure bet in Bucsland), luck that referees aren’t on your case, luck that the injury bug was neutered, and so on.

    With a clean pocket Brady could use a walker and be better than many QBs.

  5. Dean Giusti Says:

    God help this team if they lose to the Giants. The real scary part of that is it’s absolutely possible at this stage. There’s a pattern here folks. This defense has collapsed. Correction. They are bad. They are consistently bad. And getting worse weekly.
    Mike Evans said that the WFT game won’t define our season. We’ll I can tell him this…
    Monday nights game will absolutely define what direction this team is headed.

  6. Lesco_Brandon Says:

    Could it be possible that Brady was lobbying for OBJ last week ? and the BUCS just shut the door and it pissed Brady, causing the low-energy output from the offense last week and it impacted the Defense as well….