The Morning After

November 29th, 2021

(Photo courtesy

If you were like Joe, you struggled to get to sleep last night. Joe is still freaking fired up from that game! Let’s get rolling, so grab your coffee. It’s Victory freaking Monday!

Big Time Win

Yeah, Joe knows the Bucs had big wins last year, obviously with all the playoff games and the Super Bowl. But off the top of Joe’s head, Joe cannot remember such a big win in the regular season.

It sure seemed like a version of Groundhog Day. The offense was asleep at the switch in the first quarter. And when a starting corner, Jamel Dean, left for the game with an injury, the pass defense quickly collapsed and looked just like the same defense in losses to the slimy Saints and the WTF.

Oh no, this cannot be happening? Joe even wrote two scathing stories about the pass defense and the slow-starting offense at halftime. Thankfully, Joe never published them.

When Playoff Lenny scored from 28 yards out for the game-winning touchdown, Joe’s voice was lost from hollering so much. “Playoff Lenny! Playoff Lenny! PLAYOFF LENNY!!!” Joe was punching the air jumping off the couch! Joe actually had the shivers.

That drive was an absolute big boy drive and just a savage AF run. In Joe’s eyes, that served notice this Bucs team is not to be effed with this season. And Joe is confident things will get better. Vita Vea will get healthier. So too will Devin White. And Carlton Davis is coming around the corner. Joe pretty much has given up hope of Antonio Brown until the playoffs. If he shows up before that, great. That’s gravy.

The Bucs just a couple of weeks ago would have been doomed trailing by two scores in the third quarter the way the defense couldn’t get off the field unless it was a turnover.

The official NFL Gamebook had the Colts losing three fumbles and Colts quarterback Carson Wentz throwing three picks (NFL Network last night had the Bucs forcing five turnovers). Forcing six turnovers is freaking wild.

Joe said last week on the Ira Kaufman Podcast if the Bucs pulled out a win yesterday, Joe would be lead the bandwagon for a Super Bowl title defense. What the Bucs did yesterday is what championship teams do to threats: They stomp them out and score when necessary.

The only thing Joe can see stopping the Bucs from playing in Los Angeles in February is injuries.

Damn, what a game. What a win!

Big Time Debut

It wasn’t optimal to have Ali Marpet miss the game. It was announced Saturday that Marpet would not play. Not a huge concern. Aaron Stinnie replaced Marpet. For Bucs fans who may not have paid close attention last year, Alex Cappa was lost for the playoffs in the first playoff game at Washington. Stinnie, the pride of James Madison, replaced Cappa and the Bucs didn’t miss a beat.

But yesterday, Stinnie got hurt in the first quarter and they had to turn to Nick Leverett. It was the first time the Rice product had taken a snap in the regular season. Uh, oh.

Joe then flashed back to this summer and put the following out on Twitter to reassure Bucs fans:

Now at training camp, Joe focuses primarily on the first-team offense and defense. Maybe some on the second team. The rest? Well, if they are on a different field Joe has to worry about the big boys first. While it sometimes frustrates readers, Joe knows which side of the slice his bread is buttered. Joe and most readers care more about Ali Marpet than they do Nick Leverett. Fans care about stars. Only roster cultists care about bubble players more than starters.

Still, Joe had heard good things about Leverett from coaches and fellow media types. Then one day, Joe was watching a pass rush/pass blocking one-on-one drill. It was Jason Pierre-Paul’s turn to face Leverett.

Joe thought, “Oh, boy. This kid is going to get totally schooled.” Instead, Joe almost freaked out seeing Leverett put JPP on his back! It wasn’t a pancake, Leverett just slammed JPP to the turf when JPP tried a move on the second-year man from Rice. Whoa!

That stuck in the back of Joe’s mind when Leverett entered the game to square off on DeForest Buckner yesterday. Joe thought: Well, if Leverette can handle JPP in a one-on-one drill, he should be able to give Buckner a challenge inside with help from Donovan Smith and/or Ryan Jensen.

Outside of a play or two, Leverette played damn good ball. Enough that Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians gave Leverette the game ball. Well done, kid.

Joe thinks it is safe to suggest Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht knows what the hell he is doing when it comes to offensive linemen.

Big Time Tackle

How many of you, maybe a dozen years ago, watched a Steelers-Colts playoff game when Jerome Bettis fumbled late in a three-point game as he was about to score a game-sealing touchdown in Indianapolis? The ball was damn near returned for a touchdown.

It took Ben Roethlisberger’s shoestring tackle at midfield to save the game for the Steelers. They would go on to win the Super Bowl.

Joe had a flashback to that play when Mike Edwards may have made a season-saving play.

The Bucs had just gone up by a touchdown on Playoff Lenny’s 28-yard run. On the ensuing kickoff, Isaiah Rodgers damn near scored running it back for 72 yards. Not unlike that playoff game at Indianapolis (held at the old Hoosier Dome, which is now the Indiana Convention Center across the street from the Colts’ home at Lucas Oil Field), Edwards’ arm tackle to push Rodgers out of bounds reminded Joe exactly of that Roethlisberger tackle.

If Rodgers scores there, who knows if the Bucs even win the game? The way the Bucs defense was playing, it’s entirely likely Colts coach Frank Reich goes for two to win.

All of a sudden homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs could have gone in smoke for the Bucs. And who knows what happens after that? Yeah, Joe is taking leaps here but so far, Edward’s tackle may be the biggest of the season.

Big Time Pick

Just two plays after Edwards’ tackle, the final play of the game, Reich and Colts quarterback Carson Wentz decided to target the bottle of cologne, Pierre Desir. And why not? Since he came to the Bucs because the team was so riddled with injuries at cornerback, Desir had regularly been fried. But what were the Bucs going to do, play Lavonte David at corner? Chris Godwin? Giovani Bernard? The Bucs had to ride their remaining horses. Desir sealed the win with a pick! It took weeks but finally Desir proved he was worth his contract by finally making a play. And it was a huge play. Again, if the Colts score, who knows if the Bucs even get to overtime?

Big Time Play-ah

Joe was absolutely stoked the way Playoff Lenny played. And after the game, Joe was still shaking from Playoff Lenny’s 28-yard touchdown run. How about the blocking on that play? From the offensive line down to Chris Godwin!

Joe got a text from a friend in the Midwest (not a Colts fan). Joe’s friend gave an interesting comp for Playoff Lenny. Joe’s friend said Playoff Lenny is Ottis (O.J.) Anderson. Right away Joe said, no way. Joe remembers seeing O.J. Anderson in his prime, in person from the second row of the end zone at Busch Stadium.

Anderson, for his big size, was quick as hell and had six seasons of 1,000-plus yards rushing to prove it. Playoff Lenny isn’t that quick. But the more Joe thought about it, Playoff Lenny does run a little like Anderson when Anderson was on his final legs as a Super Bowl hero with the Giants.

That’s a pretty good comp.


29 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Swampbuc Says:

    Pumped off the charts. 4 starters lost in six minutes, two scores down, the defense forces turnovers like glory days and Lenny runs like a grown man. Not sure Lenny reminds me of OJ at all. Lenny reminds me of the Laverne Bell of the Steelers. Patient to find the hole then explodes. Sneaky quick and agile.

    I can hear JPP – “Run his azz over!”

    One of the great wins.

  2. Alexander Nascimento Says:

    Great win!!!
    Now, can this injuries stop!? Please!?
    Go Bucs!

  3. Francisco Guzman Says:

    They might need to run the table to have any slight chance at a second seed. The packers only have one tough game remaining the way i see it. At the ravens.

  4. SOEbuc Says:


  5. Sean Says:

    Hopefully the injuries don’t make this a pyrrhic victory. The 3 seed may be inevitable. But a home game against Vikings or 49ers depending how the bottom shakes out seems manageable. Maybe Rogers will misplace his Midol or get on the Covid list again and the Bucs can move up. Watching that Packers game, Matthew Stafford is the ultimate stat stuffer with no clutch gene.

  6. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Just my opinion, and I’m super hyped we won, but I think this is a little bit of an overreaction.

    The Bucs just beat a team that was barely above .500 (and now is at .500), other than Johnathon Taylor nobody on the Colts offense is even worth mentioning, and despite winning the turnover battle the game came down to the last play.

    The Bucs didn’t just let the Colts convert often on 3rd down, they let the Colts convert on 3rd AND LONG. FIVE TIMES!!! 3rd & 15, 3rd & 13, 3rd & 10 (twice), and 3rd & 6 at the end of the game (which set up a game tying TD).

    Props to the Bucs D for shutting down Taylor for most of the game outside of that one drive, but Carson Wentz (!!!) had his way with the defending Super Bowl champs for much of the game. Homeless lookalike TY Hilton had a resurgence.

    Outside of a few nice throws to Gronk, Brady was checkdown Charlie and had 4 three-and-outs and a pick, also two poor throws went right through the hands of two Colts defenders. Evans and Godwin were dressed up as ghosts for a late Halloween surprise. Thankfully Lombardi Lenny and Rojo showed up to play.

    Todd Bowles busted zone coverage was easily exploited by the Colts. At what point do you separate the blame on the injuries from the blame on the play calling?

    Leverette played a heck of a game for an undrafted, inexperienced 3rd stringer. Won’t take away from that. But if the same game had been played by, say, Donovan Smith or Tristan Wirfs, we are not sitting here praising him. He had a bad false start on the game-winning drive, gave up a crucial sack when Gronk was wide open, and caused Brady to be pressured multiple times which resulted in poor throws. I’m willing to give that he was going against Buckner a lot, and glad he didn’t give the game away, just saying he is only being praised because he’s a 3rd stringer and the Bucs would not want that type of play consistently. He definitely could’ve been worse.

    I’m incredibly happy with the win, but I’m not gonna act like the Bucs just won a playoff game, or even beat a playoff-caliber team. They did not. Don’t get it twisted, this was a sloppy win; but a win nonetheless. Just my two cents. Go Bucs!!!

  7. Buczilla Says:

    Great stuff Joes and my voice is still sore.

  8. adam from ny Says:

    ok i can finally take my little colts voodoo doll and toss it in the garbage…

    on to my well used, pin poked, dirty birds voodoo doll…

    throwing hexes like it’s 1984

  9. Izod Says:

    Might’ve been the best win of the season because it was the first time this team really overcame major adversity against a quality opponent.

    That said, the refs were for a change, pulling BIG TIME for the Good Guys. We just needed a few of those PI calls to go the other way or not get called and the outcome of this game is completely flipped.

  10. adam from ny Says:

    i think frank reich was the quarterback in that insane comeback win in buffalo many moons ago…

    where the buffalo bills played the houston oilers and got down 35-0…jim kelly was maybe hurt and reich was the qb – and they came back to win the game 38-35…

    they did a steve sabol nfl films special on it on espn back in the days…

    joe prolly remembers, but you yung guns prolly have no idea what i’m talking about…


    #BumPhillips #EarlCampbell #DanPastorini

  11. westernbuc Says:

    I used to be one of those roster cultists, paying attention to all the bubble players, reading obscure camp battles in the summer. And then I realized no one was paying me to do that, so I stopped

  12. Joe Says:

    joe prolly remembers, but you yung guns prolly have no idea what i’m talking about…

    Playoff game vs. Houston Oilers. In college, Reich beat Bernie Kosar and the Canes down like 30 points or something ridiculous in the second half.

  13. Ptwalk Says:

    @Walkdaplank that Colts team started 0 and 3 then went 6 and 2 and were the hottest team in the NFL. To go on the road and face the hottest team, with the adversity that we had in the first half and still win, is not an overreaction at all.

  14. Alanbucsfan Says:

    O J Anderson kept Jim Hanifan employed with Cardinals for 5 years and if he had the Bucs’ OLine, he might be in HOF. Fournette is playing well and Brady trusts him on the checkdowns.
    The Bucs’ OLine is best in NFL.

  15. DoooshLaRue Says:


    Thank you for typing all that and I agree with you.
    Excited and happy for the fortunate win, but tempering my energy with reality.
    This is a very sloppy yet lucky 8-3.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    WalkdaPlank … I share your concerns about our offensive & defensive performances yesterday, but that’s pretty much been the story of this year, largely because of injuries IMO. This team is badly beaten up yet our 8-3 record tells me that we continue to find ways to win. And that’s a very good thing.

    If I had to pick a phrase to describe our current Bucs team, it’d be ‘Inconsistent but Gritty’. The offense sputtered quite a bit yesterday (inconsistent?), BUT … it put up 38 pts. Our defense also sputtered quite a bit (inconsistent?), BUT … it stopped FIVE Colts’ drives with takeaways & pretty much silenced the primary weapon in the Colts’ arsenal. Neither our offense or defense was ‘pretty’ yesterday, BUT … they got the job done through sheer GRIT by playing great COMPLEMENTARY FOOTBALL. And that’s a critical attribute of a champion IMO.

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    It’s a great win, “gritty”, to steal from above.
    Thankfully the offense showed up. I wasn’t sure after 2 quarters of play.

  18. Joe in Michigan Says:

    WalkdaPlank Says:

    “Other than Johnathon Taylor nobody on the Colts offense is even worth mentioning.”

    WalkdaPlank thinks Quenton Nelson isn’t worth mentioning.

    Lamarcus thinks/thought Antoine Winfield Jr. is too slow.

    Swampbuc thought the Bucs wouldn’t win another game and go 6-11.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  19. mg Says:

    Playoff Lenny reminds me of Joe Morris of the Giants.

  20. SB~LV Says:

    Lets not forget Johnny on the spot

  21. Tampaabaybucfan Says:

    I don’t discount that victory at all….

    I think one thing that is overlooked is the Colts gameplan…..once they got the lead,,they should have gone to mostly a run game….they didn’t and that caused them to turn it over……giving us extra snaps on the offense…and we did our thing.

  22. Listnfrmafar Says:

    This sums up the season so far, great players make great plays, not so great players don’t. Bucs have too many not so great players starting that’s why it will always be a challenge and the coaches are not good enough to turn so so players into at least good ones.

  23. sauron's eye Says:

    This was a great team win. All the talk last week was about Taylor, he was contained, not stopped. Lenny had a monster day and smoked Taylor in the RB comparison, 4 TDs for Lenny. Offense started off like garbage, need to clean that up and get more players healthy. 4 turnovers by the Colts, kind of dooms you when that happens. Defense was porous, buy made some big plays.

  24. Go Bucs! Says:

    Oh yeah! I cannot wait to end my shift to binge watch highlighs and comments

  25. Rob in Land O' Lakes Says:

    “The Bucs didn’t just let the Colts convert often on 3rd down, they let the Colts convert on 3rd AND LONG. FIVE TIMES!!! 3rd & 15, 3rd & 13, 3rd & 10 (twice), and 3rd & 6 at the end of the game (which set up a game tying TD).”

    DR – I respect your opinion. Any thought on why on 3rd & long, the opposing TE or slot receiver is ALWAYS open on a 10-12 yard hitch? Once or twice, it happens, but this seems to be a serious hole in this defense.


  26. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Enjoy your Angry Run Scepter tomorrow Lenny. That 28 yard TD sealed the deal.

  27. Pete Says:

    Can we just enjoy the win. Beating a quality opponent on the rode in the NFL is never easy. Add 4 starters lost in the 1st quarter only compounds it. Great team win. Go Bucs!!

  28. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    Pete – AGREED 👍

  29. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Don’t see anyone not enjoying the win you two we just don’t conform to your oh happy day it’s all sunshine and puppy dogs. We know it should have never been so close. It’s hard to celebrate a sloppy win. You all need to come down off your cloud