Penalties Or Bad Defense?

November 4th, 2021

Dooming the Bucs?

Joe has heard a lot of whining and crying and carrying on about how the Bucs are killing themselves with penalties.

Joe isn’t going that far.

Are the Bucs painting themselves into a corner with penalties? Somewhat. But they haven’t been fatal. Jenna Laine of ESPN noted how penalties will  cost the Bucs big time if they haven’t already.

If the secondary was the Bucs’ Achilles’ heel last season, penalties are this season. The Bucs’ 59 penalties this season are one shy of the league high of 60 by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bucs’ 580 yards in penalties are also the most in the league. Their 11 penalties for 99 yards were a key culprit in their 36-27 loss Sunday to the Saints, who were able to advance the ball despite losing Jameis Winston.

Let’s go back a bit, shall we? The Bucs have lost two games this season. Joe will maintain it was the defense in both games, not the zebras, that were the culprit.

Matt Stafford and the Rams simply tore up the Bucs defense, that’s all you need to know.

Yes, the penalties were bothersome against the Saints. Did they directly lead to the Bucs losing? Joe will argue, no.

Was a penalty why Tom Brady threw a pick-six at the end of the game, only needing a field goal to win?

In Joe’s mind, it was the defense that caused the Bucs to lose. They got lit up by a third-string stiff who came into the game cold as ice and sliced the Bucs apart.

It was the defense, not the referees, gouged by the Saints’ running attack for 152 yards.

Did penalties hurt the Bucs? Well, they sure didn’t help. Were they the reason why the Bucs lost two games this season? Joe suggests that’s a bit of a reach.

Blitzing 22 times in New Orleans with zero quarterback pressures was much worse in Joe’s eyes than the penalties.

Button up the defense and the Bucs will be fine. With Sean Murphy-Bunting edging closer to active status, the advance forces of the cavalry are on the way.

47 Responses to “Penalties Or Bad Defense?”

  1. Joe in Michigan Says:

    1) Both bad defense and penalties. They’re both bad and will contribute to getting beat.
    2) Do we have to hear about how horrible Trevor Siemian is, like we did with Taylor Heinicke for months? Siemian has started 25 games in the NFL, and might get more starts with the Saints. He’s not THAT bad.
    3) I hope the Bucs get the good version of SMB when he comes back.

  2. Colonel Angus Says:

    Penalties on 3rd down, continuing drives are killers. Personal fouls negating an INT in the endzone are killlers. That game totally changed on penalties.

  3. Youngbucs Says:

    The sad part is not enough penalties on the saints. Especially the holding in the secondary rewatch some plays from the game. On the td to Evans you want to talk about holding Brady had no choice but to come back to Evans. On the right where he was looking forget about it smh. That’s why he was talking to the refs after the play he wasn’t even worried about celebrating.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    No question in my mind that ineffective blitzing has a negative impact on any defense. Also no question that penalties almost always prove costly, especially when multiple high-yardage penalties keep opponents’ drives alive & result in points. But losses rarely ever come down to a single, neat, clean reason IMO.

    Bucs have now lost 2 games to teams who were more physical than we were. Teams who made more crunch-time plays than we did. Yes we helped by committing some critical penalties to keep drives alive, but to blame those losses solely on the defense is ludicrous (‘it was the defense that caused the Bucs to lose’).

    The Rams won because they kicked our ass, especially in the trenches, and made a lot more critical plays. Our offense had only scored 17 points up to the point that the game was out of reach late in the 4th qtr (we scored 1 TD late that proved to be irrelevant). The Saints won because they also kicked our ass, especially in the trenches, and made a lot more critical plays. Plays like Jameis scrambling 4 times for 40 yds for 4 first downs. Bucs’ turnovers were more of a culprit in that game than even our penalties were. Those were great plays by the Saints and poor plays by our offense.

    In BOTH those losses the Bucs’ offense didn’t really come alive until the 3rd qtr (behind 21-7 in the Rams’ game & behind 23-7 in the Saints’ game). We frittered away the whole 1st half of both games, fell way behind, then tried to play catch-up. You don’t win against good defenses by doing that … and we didn’t. We were out-coached in BOTH games, defensively AND offensively.

    But ya, let’s blame those losses solely on the defense. We’ll go with that.

  5. B-Bro Says:

    In ‘defense’ of the defense I’ve seen a lot of crap calls on our D too this year, maybe that comes with being SB Champs or #1 against the rush but in any case our D has been picked on by the zebras.

  6. Jason Says:

    Well, when the guy who was talking in the off-season about being Defensive player of the year has as many sacks as Medicated Pete, then we have a problem. Just saying. LoL.

  7. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Hey, you missed a spot. It’s easy to sit back afterwards and pick a team apart. Too many things went against the Bucs in that game. The combination of turnovers, penalties and non calls is really hard to overcome. Throw in poor tackling and some poor play calling to boot. Eliminate one of these things and the Bucs probably win.

  8. Bob in valrico Says:

    Agree with DR
    A number of factors added to the loss. BUT slow starts on offense against very good defenses really given opponents a leg up even dating back to 2015. Some blame
    can be on the script plays but Brady has been a bit nervous at the start of our two losses. HE wasn’t throwing as accurately as we expect in the beginning of rams game,IMO. Its up to Leftwjch to Select plays that will get Brady in a rhythm. one of the most puzzling plays late in game was the screen to Darden in a crucial 3rd and long, check his stats : 2.8 yards average on four receptions???

  9. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Joe is famous for minimizing turnovers’ affect on a game – in his mind, unless it’s a pick 6, a turnover is more or less a punt.
    The turnovers put the Bucs in a 9 point deficit at halftime.
    The D’s bad play came at the opening drive of the 3rd quarter- that was terrible, agreed. Otherwise, it was the offense- 3 turnovers and no run game, Brady needed to be sharp and he wasn’t.

  10. Wayne Perez Says:


  11. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Colonel Angus is right on the money with his comment. I’d just add that any defensive penalty on any down that leads to a 1st down for the opponent is worrisome. Penalties that lead to new set of downs for opponent reduces chances and time our offense has to work.

  12. rrsrq Says:

    What are offenses doing, let’s find who 43 is guarding, or how about 29. These guys are decent but not NFL starters. I lot is on the defense, but the offense has overcome the defense, just not against playoff caliber teams. When the Bucs offense staggers, it’s because it’s predictable based on the personnel, if we can see it, teams that study the Bucs see it. Instead. Of ROjO between the tackles, try screening to him. Instead just throwing a screen to Darden let’s see him on a fly pattern. Let’s see if they ever run the play the Grayson scored on. Tyler Johnson was a high school QB, can he throw, I don’t know, but my guess is he can throw better than Lenny (the trick play we tried to run). The offense is good based on talent but not creativity.

  13. Bob in valrico Says:

    Another comment on the Darden play, if you have 5foot 7 176lbs speedster you put him in motion to take advantage of his speed. if you need more than ten yards on a crucial play, then you better give the ball to a player that can also get the tough yards after contact.

  14. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Of course it was penalties, NO got 9 points on drives where penalties kept the drive going or in one case negated an interception. Jensen’s holding call killed an offensive drive. How can anyone say penalties weren’t the cause of the loss. Yes Brady’s pick killed the last drive but I am not sure what the odds are in the NFL of scoring with 1:40 left & 1 TO. I think because the Bucs have Brady the W was expected. The only reason Saints scored on the fumble was due to penalties extending the drive. It looked to me that the front 7 were trying to intimidate both Saints QB’S and many times through cheap shots. The Bucs horrid secondary (even when healthy) and penalties could be their demise. DR, I normally respect your logical input but not this time.

  15. MadMax Says:

    I will point out though, there was a lot of holding from the saints O that I know the refs saw but didnt call…..yes we are messy and need to clean up but it doesnt help when the refs are against us.

  16. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Max, I agree, I saw one play where a Saints olineman was actually lying on top of one of Bucs dline or linebackers holding him down during a scramble. Not to mention the DB holding but it was still the Bucs penalties that killed them.

  17. Bob in valrico Says:

    Whats with the moderation? If its the multiple punctuation, it never stopped the

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It is unquestionably a combination of things that cause losses……for us it’s turnovers, penalties, playcalling…..
    That play call on the 2 point conversion was very poor……that could have changed the outcome of the game.

    But, for me…..the biggest problem was the timing of the penalties…..3rd down successes were wiped out by penalties….

    The worst was a Nelson neutral zone infraction on a 3rd down that would have forced a long field goal on their last drive….at the worst it would have given us more time outs & time.

  19. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Hey Joe , your Bucs schedule on the site is not showing 17 games , the 1/9/2022 game against the hated Panthers is missing. Is Joe counting that last game as a victory by omission?

  20. zzbuc Says:

    Bad defense????? Or a bad defense in just one game?
    2 weeks ago, Vea, JPP, LVD were heroes, and now suddenly everything is a mess!!!!

    Jesus H Christ, everybody is so apocaliptic because one game????

    Come on guys, no time to push the panic button, 16/2 is our record so far, and we are the defending champs…..Just chill!!! everything will be fine!!!

    Just remember where we were last season and how we ended…..And this season we are even in a better spot!!!!

  21. Hodad Says:

    Well if you jump offsides on 3rd, and 5 it’s both bad defense that leads to penalties, that cost us games. Our problem isn’t the secondary as much as our lack of pressure. We blitzed like crazy that leaves your secondary exposed when you don’t sack the QB on a blitz. Bunting coming back isn’t going to help our pass rush which I see as our defenses biggest problem. When your star rusher JPP is in the game for 68 snaps, and can’t get to a third string QB the best secondary in the world won’t help. Todd Bowles needs to get more creative with his blitz package, and the Dline needs to step up it’s pass rush. Bowles has to find a way to get White, and or David to the QB. Eight games in White has no sacks, and niether does David. That has to change.

  22. SB Says:

    I re-watched the game twice already and I will not absolve us from some of the stupid penalties. I Will however say that game was Definitely called in favor of the Saints.
    The two BS roughing the passer calls changed the game Entirely. Especially the one that brought back Winfield’s INT

  23. WyldKat Says:

    It wasn’t one thing or the other. It was EVERYTHING adding up to being too much to win.

  24. firethecannon Says:

    Joe says:
    Was a penalty why Tom Brady threw a pick-six at the end of the game, only needing a field goal to win?

    he threw 4 touchdowns against the best defense in the league

    he brought us back to being ahead so the defense could piss it away

    no joe you are wrong the defense especially devin white lost this game handily

  25. Kalind Says:

    There were how many penalties on third down that led to firsts? And how many in the 4th quarter? D whites and JPPs spring to mind, and those were CRUCIAL. Those drives resulted in pts. If we get off the field there instead? Game over.

  26. PassingThru Says:


    The O lineman lying down on top of a D lineman isn’t a holding penalty, or any penalty for that matter. That’s a technique the football coaches tell you to do as it takes the D lineman out of the play. When a D lineman trips up or loses balance and falls, pin him. The question is whether the O lineman used his hands to pull the D lineman down, in which case that is a hold, but that’s from the act of pulling the D lineman down rather than lying on him.

  27. PassingThru Says:

    General comment: Thee Bucs (or any football team) has to be situationally aware that when you’re not playing on your home field, the officials will call the game against you. It sure didn’t look like they were aware Sunday.

    The penalties were almost all against the defense, only one call on offense destroyed a promising drive. Giving up 99 yards to penalties is bad enough, but those penalties overturned an INT and sustained New Orleans fourth quarter drives, right when the Saints were petering out.

  28. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Uncharacteristic penalties from Devin White….3 personal fouls…..over-aggressiveness…..& the taunting is exactly what he has been doing for a couple of years….simply not acceptable anymore…..I think you will see him clean it up.

  29. Bojim Says:

    Too many excuses. 😁 Let’s see what happens after the bye.

  30. SOEbuc Says:

    Yeah I’m not gonna cry all offseason about a certain flag some like some soft ass GB or KC fan, but there were definitely some penalties not called. How is Gholston not hands to the face? Looked much more like a hold than a tremendous block that shut down Lavonte in the end zone on the Kamara TD. Whatever. 6-2 so bring on the next game.

    Perfect timing. Toms bubbling like a fan in C section in early September after that pick 6. Starters steadily returning. Great time for a mid season bye.

  31. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    November 4th, 2021 at 8:31 am
    It is unquestionably a combination of things that cause losses……for us it’s turnovers, penalties, playcalling…..
    That play call on the 2 point conversion was very poor……that could have changed the outcome of the game.

    But, for me…..the biggest problem was the timing of the penalties…..3rd down successes were wiped out by penalties….

    The worst was a Nelson neutral zone infraction on a 3rd down that would have forced a long field goal on their last drive….at the worst it would have given us more time outs & time.
    Agreed on the Nelson penalty, and I don’t understand why he gets playing time.
    I didn’t mind the 2 point conversion attempt, Godwin is a playmaker. If the Bucs run that again in close proximity to the goal line, I’d like for them to have a pass option of Godwin throwing to Evans in the back of the end zone, if Godwin knows he won’t make it. Just a thought, if Coach Byron is reading this. Hahaha

  32. Buc55 Says:

    Lots of thing affected the outcome, but I can’t get off my mind that Gholston penalty that erased AWJ pick… We were tied up to that point and it was a pivotal play.. big momentum shifter and a relief for the poor Siemian…
    Imagine if you have to drop your chips bag on the sideline to enter as QB and your first drive ends up with a pick ..

  33. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I agree that the defense really cost us against the Saints.
    Our blitz packages we ineffective all day, and caused us to get lit up in the secondary.
    I hate the Saints, and Sean Peyton, but must admit that they are a very well coached team.
    They were ready for our blitz packages, you could see it on the field.
    I am sure Arians and his gang will watch the game film, and it will be a different story when they come to Tampa!

  34. PSL Bob Says:

    Look, the penalties hurt. The play of the defense hurt. The early turnovers hurt. But when you get down to the nitty gritty, the Bucs had the ball with over a minute to go, and needing only a field goal to win the game. We drove the ball down the field and then Brady threw a pick six. That’s what cost us the game. Sure, Brady put up some good numbers before that, put the pick-6 was the nail in the coffin. Coulda, woulda, shouldas are discussed after every game to explain how a loss could have been avoided, but in this case, it comes down to a single play.

  35. Defense Rules Says:

    Listnfrmafar … ‘How can anyone say penalties weren’t the cause of the loss? NO got 9 points on drives where penalties kept the drive going or in one case negated an interception.’

    Never said that penalties weren’t A cause of the loss, but rather that they weren’t the ONLY cause of the loss. You win & lose as a TEAM, and BOTH sides of the ball screwed up Sunday. For the defense it was far too many penalties, ineffective pass rush & crappy tackling (been going on in far too many games BTW, and I personally think it was because of a soft training schedule leading up to Game 1, ie., Camp Cupcake). The 8 penalties on the defense kept 2 drives alive & resulted in the 9 points for the Saints just like you said Listnfrmafar, the difference between a win & a tie.

    For the offense though it was turnovers and another slow start. The 3 TOs resulted in 16 points for the Saints, the difference between a win & a loss. BOTH sides of the ball had a grand old time Sunday shooting themselves … and each other … in the foot. Strange thing is, quality coaching for the opponents tends to cause us to do that more often than not it seems.

  36. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    I’ll simplify the Bucs loss : They just didn’t score enough points.

    It happens.

    “On to Washington”

  37. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    I’ll simplify the Bucs loss : They just didn’t score enough points.

    It happens.

    “On to Washington”

  38. Im not tired anymore we Super Bowl Champs!! Says:

    If we didn’t have all the penalties we are never in that predicament at the end of the game that resulted in a TO and trying to come back from behind. So yes the penalties cost us the game. The Rams game I concur our defense straight up lost for us. Go Bucs! We got time to fix the mistakes.

  39. VabucSINCE’97 Says:

    Very very bad undisciplined non communicating Defense

  40. Listnfrmafar Says:

    You cannot expect to score 30 points a game every game in the NFL and yes Bucs scored 19 against Pat’s and 28 against Eagles, at that time two so so teams, Pat’s seem to be finding themselves. The end result is if Bucs don’t score 30+ then every game is a nail biter. So Bowles needs to straighten his arse out because that’s ALL on defense.

  41. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    9 months ago, Todd Bowles was a defensive mastermind. Now he is being raked over the coals. Go figure. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I like Bowles. Bucs should hope he stays around. They can certainly do worse.

  42. Yusef Taufiq Says:

    I will say, for this last game when they played the saints, yes penalties are a MAJOR reason we lost Sunday, yes Brady made mistakes that game as well, but you trying to tell me if Ross Cockrel or some of those almost 3 and outs wouldn’t have stood if it weren’t for stupid flags? Bucs offense were moving the ball well enough to score another time or 2 had it not been for Bucs shooting themselves in the foot on defense.

  43. steele Says:

    A combination of factors, but yes, I agree with DR that the defense was arguably the biggest problem. Giving up 152 on running plays. Not getting to Trevor. Not adjusting to Trevor replacing Jameis. Not stopping the final Saints drive.

    Will the D continue to be a problem even when fully healthy? They need to beat the top teams physically, period.

  44. Wesley Says:

    League officiating is ruining the NFL. It’s beyond bad.

  45. Eddie Marz Says:

    Lots of reasons why we lost. The reason I’m upset was because it was such a winnable game. They should have gone into the break 7-1 and breaking that division in two. Still hoping to get the first round bye. GO BUCS!

  46. rjhomz Says:

    The defense look stupid on a lot of 3rd downs with these dumb penalties. I wish we could get Belicheck to coach these guys on D. They are way too undisciplined.

  47. unbelievable Says:

    Well let’s see, how many of their scoring drives were aided by huge chunk yards from penalties? More than half.

    And did we not have an interception overturned by a penalty as well? We did.

    But sure, they didn’t hurt us at all. 🤦🏻‍♂️