The Morning After

November 23rd, 2021

(Photo courtesy of

OK, like Joe, you are probably like running on little sleep. And that is a good thing. So let’s get this Victory Tuesday going right. Grab your mug of coffee and let’s roll!

Return to Greatness

After the last two games, which were nothing less that a swift boot square in the nuts, wasn’t it nice to see those same boots used in a curb-stomping?

Joe lost cash last night taking the Giants and the points and Joe cannot feel better about it. The Bucs pounded the boys in blue so badly that Blaine Gabbert got on the field. This was what we were expecting since the Bucs beat down the Bears.

This is what a defending champion should look like. The Bucs, on offense, looked crisp. Hardly any dumb penalties, precision football. Ran well, passed better.

On defense, after early struggles, the Bucs put the clamp on Danny Dimes and the Giants. In the second half, Danny Dimes couldn’t do jack. He and the Giants offense looked helpless.

In short, last night was just damn good football on both sides of the ball. About time!!

Exactly how a defending Super Bowl champion is supposed to play.

Two Players Jolted Bucs Back To Life

The Bucs entered last night looking like a team teetering on collapse. The defense was horrid and couldn’t stop a couple of bench jockeys at quarterback. The offense was all out of whack and seemed scared to throw downfield despite the Bucs having a massive advantage in receivers.

Two players returned to play against the Giants that were sidelined most of the season — and made a huge difference.

On offense the addition was foot-rubbing, car-littering film guru Rob Gronkowski. The soon-to-be Hall of Fame tight end, Tom Brady’s most trusted security blanket, had six catches while Brady and the offense seem reborn.

On defense, Sean Murphy-Bunting returned for the first time since the season-opener. Though he was a bit rusty early on, from there he was solid if not strong. He had seven solo tackles and a forced fumble. Joe thought he should have been credited with a pass defensed as well, but officially he was not.

Early in the game, you could tell the Giants were targeting SMB. But the more Danny Dimes threw at him the quicker SMB got back into the swing of game speed.

Could the difference in the Bucs be credited to two starters returning? Taking them from looking like the Bucs of The Lost Decade to a dominant team that looked every bit like a defending champion?

Joe doesn’t believe in coincidences.

Monday Night Mike

Yes, Mike Evans, the stud Bucs receiver, is now the all-time touchdown leader in Bucs franchise history. Evans entered Monday’s game tied at 71 touchdowns with Mike Alstott.

And Evans is inching closer to yet another 1,000-yard receiving season. He now has 679 yards receiving and just needs 321 more yards to stretch his current NFL-record streak of seven consecutive seasons to start a career with 1,000 yards or more. Randy Moss was the previous record-holder with six.

After the game, Evans told Sara Walsh of NFL Network that he is still a bit peeved how the Bucs played the two previous games, saying for a team with the talent the Bucs have to lose two in a row was “unacceptable.”

It’s good to know a guy who has won it all is not satisfied or content. (And he shouldn’t be after that ugly drop last night!) There just isn’t any diva in Evans.

Also, last night was the sixth Monday night of Evans’ career. He has a touchdown in each game.

When Pressure Means Something

Joe always goes round and round with some stats guys. The stats people will try to convince you that pressures mean more than sacks. Don’t let them con you.

A sack ends a play. A sack is a drive-killer. A sack sometimes causes a fumble. A sack is good. No, a sack is great. A sack means the play is over. Finished. Done. With a loss in yards.

There is not one thing wrong with a sack.

A pressure may force a quarterback to make a bad decision or hurry a throw. It is not a guarantee. A sack ends a play.

But last night showed how pressure can result in a turnover which is cool as can be. When Devin White raced at Danny Dimes in the second half, Danny Dimes was falling backward to avoid getting hit and he threw to an open receiver in the backfield to the left side of the field.

However, Danny Dimes was so off-target, he hit defensive tackle Steve McLendon right in the arms. Look what I found!! In fact, McLendon, the oldest defensive player in the NFL at 35 years old, was wearing a long-sleeve white shirt under his jersey/pads and at first Joe thought it was a complete pass with McLendon sitting on top of a Giants receiver. Between the white sleeves and the white pants, Joe thought a Giants player caught the ball.

McLendon came into the league in 2010 with the Steelers and he seriously considered retirement last offseason. The chance to play again for the Super Bowl champs and maybe win another ring lured him back.

Despite all of these years in the NFL, last night was his first pick. He admitted after the game he had one other shot and dropped the ball. McClendon was determined not to repeat the mistake, but wondered if he ever would get the opportunity.

Pressure from White gave McLendon the chance to make up for his first mistake.

Return Of The Grave Diggers?

The Grave Diggers, the name the Bucs’ secondary glossed themselves with after running a gauntlet in the playoffs last year, looked more like grave robbers when you combined all the injuries to the cornerbacks and how the pass defense suffered mightily without guys like Sean Murphy-Bunting, Carlton Davis and at times Jamel Dean.

With SMB’s return last night the Bucs played so much better.

So with SMB’s return, Mike Edwards’ third interception of the season and Antoine Winfield’s fumble recovery, SMB’s forced fumble and passes defensed by Jordan Whitehead, Winfield and Edwards, are the Grave Diggers back?

At least for one night they sure are. And if the pass defense improves much with having SMB back on the field, imagine what may happen when Carlton Davis returns?

Last night after the game, Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians hinted that Davis is close to returning.

This is just a damn good Tuesday, man!

25 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Greg Says:

    Isn’t or IS close to returning?

  2. Medicated Pete Says:

    Pete’s so hungover he might have to call 911 to send over an ambalance or just continue drinking or both. #GoBucs

  3. ModHairKen Says:

    Two thoughts. Steve McClendon, good for you. Hard worker. Shows up. No drama.

    Second, if you give yourself a nickname, you haven’t earned it. The Grave Diggers? How about Paycheck Thieves? This was the Giants. Do this to the Chandelier next week, who is running hot, then you can anoint yourself again.

  4. JimBuc2 Says:

    Medz, pour yourself another one. Hair of the dog thing. I mean really, who wants to be sober now? Just don’t drive, OK? Roll a fattie dude, it’s Victor Monday. What, you need someone’s permission? Granted. The party is just getting started!
    LFG Bucs!
    Let’s Go Brandon!!

  5. #1bucsfan Says:

    Glad the boys are getting back to what made them champs. Still need to cut out some of the dumb penalties and tipped ints. ME13 had one and it look like Brate almost tipped another. Gotta ketch those lol. Keep getting better Tampa our run for the 1 seed starts now

  6. Dean Giusti Says:

    If I had to pick a word to describe this win it would be RELIEF.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The “Den of Depression” is a distant memory……Raymond James Stadium is the home of the World Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers….

    Devin White, I believed was instrumental in another Daniel Jones interception….

    Only complaints are:

    JPP lining up offside…..happens every week….WTF?
    Where were JPP & Shaq last night?
    Our return coverage has got to be the worst in the NFL……Darden had no chance on most of his returns…..

    There is absolutely no question that Brady is a different QB when Gronk is on the field.

  8. geno711 Says:

    Any one else feels like Suh shows up when he wants to. Full NFL audience crowd on a Monday night game. Suh had his best game since the playoffs last year.

  9. Patrianakos Says:

    Feels like November 2020.
    Be afraid, NFL.
    Be very afraid.
    They are playing defense in Tampa again.

  10. Kev@Inverness Says:

    Better idea JimBuc2, you could tattoo that on those lips. Looks like there’s plenty of canvas space on those wammer jammers.

  11. Infomeplease Says:

    When this TEAM shows up to PLAY, they will WIN!! One in a row.. looking for two!! Way better coaching, play calling, and player execution! BACK ON TRACK!!!

  12. Mike C Says:

    Great atmosphere at that game last night!

  13. Listnfrmafar Says:

    geno I key on Suh a lot, very rarely does he NOT show up. That’s is how you get the safeties up. Check downs, screens & runs then hit them long. Very patient 1st half offense excluding not scoring before the half, that went up Brady’s arse sideways. I am convinced now refs call penalties to slow down momentum or don’t make the calls. The obvious offsides on Giants tackle on their field goal drive which led to a PI on Bucs. And Evan’s illegal formation call, sure looked like he was on the ball when they showed the replay. That is unless he wasn’t supposed to be on the ball. I hope BA’s viagra has worn off, it’s Indy time, the Giants are in the rear view mirror.

  14. Wild Bill Says:

    After two lack luster losses this game was a must win and the Bucs got excellent performances from the whole team. Offense, defense and special teams all balled Out! What a difference! 4net was one of the few bright spots in the two losses and he continued to shine in this game. He has made me a believer! Most consistent determined player on the team. Nobody has played harder and been more consistent both pounding the rock and catching passes out of the backfield. I take back every negative comment I have made in the past. Nobody on offense has worked harder and been as consistent as 4net! Respect!

  15. JimBuc2 Says:

    Funny, your girl seems to like ’em. Tatoo that.

  16. Coburn Says:

    JTS needs to develop his pass rush moved a bit more, like an inside one in particular. Saw him stood up and shoving back and forth with the tackle. Otherwise still showing potential and almost had Jones a couple times. Shaq has been quiet but almost have joness a couple times. Cam gil should get a few more snaps in obvious passing situations. You rarely see #49 but it’s often good what you see

  17. Kev@Inverness Says:

    Hey JimSuck2, #ThankYouBrandon!

  18. D-Rome Says:

    Joe lost cash last night taking the Giants and the points and Joe cannot feel better about it.


    Evans is inching closer to yet another 1,000-yard receiving season. He now has 679 yards receiving and just needs 321 more yards to stretch his current NFL-record streak of seven consecutive seasons to start a career with 1,000 yards or more.

    The future HoFer will be the next Buc to have his number retired along with his name in the Ring of Honor.

  19. Buc1987 Says:

    They beat a 3-7 team at RJS.

    There I threw the cold water.

  20. BA4President Says:

    Joe, here’s an article I’d love to read: Who is the greatest Bucs GM of all time? McKay or Licht??

    I don’t think my boss would appreciate me doing the research to figure it out while on the clock, haha

  21. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    I have thought the whole season the problem with the defense was the injuries! I mean you can’t expect career back ups to run such a complicated defense that leaves corners on islands!! … Davis is I think the most underrated corner in the league!! I mean look at the receivers he totally shuts down!! And Dean is underrated too! He doesn’t have that quick cut ability because of his length and what, 4 knee surgeries… But you are not going to beat him deep and your not going to run him over!! Once they are all back Davis should be back outside and Dean and bunting back in slot!! Then you have Sherman for quarter or dime situations… That’s a pretty damn good defense right there man!! Underrated and raw!!

  22. Timbucs2 Says:

    So happy for Evans on that record.

    But Mark Alstott will always have a place in our hearts.

  23. Joe Says:

    Joe, here’s an article I’d love to read: Who is the greatest Bucs GM of all time? McKay or Licht??

    It’s an interesting question for the offseason. Licht’s win-loss record is awful. Is that all on him? He didn’t hire Lovie. He did hire Dirk Koetter — and he had one OK season. And Licht hired Bruce Arians and it was his brainchild to make a run at Tom Brady.

    McKay was wonderful at the draft with one major flaw: His offensive skill position evaluations (outside of running back) sucked! Six of the top seven guys — six! — who caught passes for the Bucs in the 2003 Super Bowl season, McKay never drafted nor did he draft Brad Johnson.

    And as we all know, McKay did not acquire Chucky. McKay wanted to hire Marvin Lewis and Joel Glazer basically told McKay to work on the draft and he would take over the coaching search. Unlike Licht, McKay’s win-loss record is excellent.

    Joe is going to do research on this probably over the spring: Licht is one of the very few men in NFL history to have had both the No. 1 overall pick (for being the worst team — not acquired by trade) and the No. 32 overall pick (or the final pick in the first round for winning the Super Bowl).

    Off the top of Joe’s head, the only men to have ever pulled that off are in the Hall of Fame

  24. Crickett Baker Says:

    Great article, Joe. I was surprised, however, that NONE of the reporters asked JPP wtf was going on with his penalties..

  25. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    SORRYJACK – Thank you for being one of very few that actually have intelligence about the Defense !! I mean , EVERYONE keeps saying “wait until AB and GRONK return from INJURY then the offense will be unstoppable ” … So why doesn’t the same apply to the INJURY DEPLETED DEFENSE ?? Like you said , get em all healthy and let’s see what people say then ! SOO MANY BANDWAGON FANS WE HAVE , Still not satisfied with the DOMINANT performance on both sides of the ball last night … And the REF’S are out to get the Bucs , crappy call’s against us , but other teams get away with holding our Dline almost EVERY play , EVERY game ! GO BUCS