Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Falcons

December 5th, 2021

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They’re just so damned talented.

On a day they forgot how to tackle or close out an opening half, the Bucs just swept the Falcons for the second consecutive year, forging a 4-game lead atop the NFC South with only five weeks remaining.

The Hall of Fame combo of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski came up big, but save some game balls for Chris Godwin and an offensive line bursting with pride and skill.

The Bucs didn’t play a great game, yet they covered the spread and took another step toward challenging for the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed.

There are plenty of areas to improve, but Brady was sharp overall and nobody missed Antonio Brown.

Atlanta couldn’t cover Godwin long, short or in between and Mike Evans had a nice game. Leonard Fournette continues to be a force, leading off the scoring with a one-handed grab in the right corner.

When the front four wasn’t burying Matt Ryan, Tampa Bay’s defense struggled a bit, particularly on third down. Ryan Succop missed an extra point, but the Bucs improved to 4-3 on the road before a marquee home matchup against Buffalo late Sunday afternoon.

Here’s how Brady continued to torment the Falcons — with a little help from his friends:

* Godwin appeared on his way to a 20-catch game before settling for a franchise-record 15 receptions. He makes the tough grab in traffic, he runs precise routes, he has soft hands and he’s physical as hell. In short, he’s this generation’s Hines Ward. He’ll break Tampa Bay hearts if he leaves as a free agent.

* Brady was on his game from the start with 15 first-quarter completions. He made a bonehead mistake late in the half but he also threw some terrific balls. Gronkowski’s second TD catch was a thing of beauty on both ends.

Chris Godwin

* Brady’s pick-6 was an awful throw, but the call was even worse. The Bucs were on their own 7-yard line with only 44 seconds left in the half, leading by 10 points. Then Byron Leftwich got greedy. A completion to Godwin netted only one yard and the Falcons didn’t call a timeout. They were willing to let the clock run out … but Leftwich wasn’t. Then backup defensive end Marlon Davidson made a superb read and interception, giving Atlanta reason to believe. Next time, run the ball.

* Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea had a field day collapsing the pocket and getting in Ryan’s face. They combined for 4 sacks and 5 QB hits, exploiting a soft Atlanta front with pressure up the middle.

* Welcome back, Carlton Davis. You’ve been missed. Nice return with 3 passes defended and a fumble recovery.

* No Buc offensive line has ever played this well, and it’s not even close. For the sixth time in 12 games this season, Brady wasn’t dropped. In fact, he was hit only once on Sunday. He threw 259 passes in those six outings without being sacked. No coincidence the Bucs are 5-1 in those games.

* We’ve asked it before but it bears repeating: can’t anybody tackle around here? Time and again, a Buc defender was in position to make a stop and either whiffed or took an errant angle to the ball carrier. That’s a big reason why the Falcons were able to convert 9-of-17 on third down and stay relatively close. Atlanta converted on a third-and-9, a third-and-10 and a third-and-14. Yes, Todd Bowles has some work to do.

* The Buc offense was a sight to behold for much of the afternoon, Tampa Bay scores came off drives of 75, 75, 75, 87 and 78 yards. Nothing cheap on this day.

* Devin White shared the team lead with 10 stops, but he doesn’t look right. He’s gutting it out at the moment.

* All that’s left in this division race is to put a pewter bow around it. That’s only Step 1 in the title chase, but it guarantees the Bucs at least one playoff game at home, where they are 5-0. Home or away, nobody wants to match up against this team in January.

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28 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Falcons”

  1. John Collins Says:

    Brady tells his receivers and backs he will get them the ball and he does

  2. Rod Munch Says:

    If the playoffs started today we’d be playing… the Redskins. Ugh, I don’t like that. The Bucs would win, but I’d sure rather play someone like maybe the Falcons instead. Lets go Falcons!

  3. Irishmist Says:

    Glad we will be getting the Bills at home with them coming off a tough Monday night game against a division rival. I agree that White looked like he was playing tentative at times. I’d almost rather we put a healthy Minter in there until he is 100%

  4. Cobraboy Says:

    The Bucs miss Brown. The long ball has suffered since he went down, and Miller is not the answer.

  5. Rod Munch Says:

    White looked great when he was rushing. Why Bowles continues to have him play back, then the entire defense looks 100x better when he’s blitzing up the gut, I just don’t get it. But when he was sent up the middle, he looked great, but in coverage, as always, he’s iffy. Easy solution, don’t use him in coverage. Problem, solved.

  6. Rod Munch Says:

    Also is no one else going to point out that Godwin had puke all of his jersey after he got nutted in the game. I don’t know, you get kicked in the balls, puke all over yourself and still come back and dominate the game. That’s a bigly performance. Should get extra props for that.

  7. Brandon Says:

    Devin White hasn’t been good. We played better run defense last week when Minter was in. Let White heal before he hurts us.

  8. Medicated Pete Says:

    Wait till AB is back, Irv

  9. Craig Says:

    Leftwich didn’t get greedy, he got lazy, it is the same lazy crap that was one of the dooms for JW. The play has always been an easy jump, but the Bucs always chuck it in a time or two per game, it almost always fails.

    I realize Shaq Barrett is a hell of a football player, but I think he should be rushing the passer, not trying to be a DB.

    White is a couple of steps slow right now, and should be using that time to learn his position and stay home. He is a great delay pass rusher, if his train of thought doesn’t say SQUIRREL and cause him to chase it.

    Succop has the right to miss once in a while, he doesn’t do it often.

    Godwin might make it into the HOF before Evans, he is a beast in all of the things he does. Saw some great blocks from hin today too. so downfield and some on the line.

  10. Bangkok Buc Says:

    I’ve got tons of respect for JPP and everything he did last year to help win the Championship but he looks spent out there. Sit him down and hope he can recover for the playoffs. He’s a shell of his former self and JTS could use the extra reps and learn to finish

  11. DoooshLaRue Says:


    Munch doesn’t like the way White is being used.

    So angry.

  12. SlyPirate Says:

    Cam Gill. We’ve been waiting all season for Bowles to use him.

    2 games = 2 sacks.

    Keep watching.

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    Craig Says:
    December 5th, 2021 at 10:38 pm
    Leftwich didn’t get greedy, he got lazy…


    Disagree, he’s not greedy or lazy, he’s just not that good at calling plays. The pass to Fournette on the INT, I thought was a flare, but watching the replays, it’s obviously sort of a running downfield screen. The defense knew it was coming because Leftwich is ultra predictable. Still, give the defensive guy there credit, he read the play and jumped the route, but still had to make a good play, and he did. For Brady, he’s blocked by his offensive lineman, he doesn’t see the defensive lineman cheating on the play and going for the ball. Overall that play is a cluster, but all I think it did was seal the Falcon’s fate since you know Brady was mad about it, and Mad Brady = Bucs win.

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    DoooshLaRue – YES, that is something we should be angry about. Use White correctly and the defense is so much better.

    What we shouldn’t be triggered about is McCoy reading comic books, and that making him soft. He’s not really an all-pro player because he likes Batman and he helped pick up a guy he just flattened to the ground. Damn, now I’m angry again. GRRRRR!!!!

  15. Mike in Missouri Says:

    Hey Ira: Tell us, how does it feel to have AB live rent free in your head? Do us all a favor and get over it. He ain’t goin nowhere.

  16. Buczilla Says:

    Good stuff as always Ira! Bad call, bad read, bad throw on that pick six. Lol, if Leftwhich truly is greedy, lazy, and isn’t that good at calling plays, I pray that he doesn’t change anything since all we have is the best offense in football.

  17. Tampaabaybucfan Says:

    There’s only one pass worth throwing from your 8 with 30 seconds left in the half…..and that’s about 40 ya
    rds down the field……

    Devin White, hurt, plays better than most LBs… long as it isn’t injuring him further, he’s better on the field than anyone else….

    JPP is the one who isn’t performing….

    As bad as our defense was…..they pitched a shutout in the 2nd half and only gave up 10 points in the game.

    We may not have missed AB today….but we will. If things align, we’ll be totally healthy for the playoffs.

  18. adam from ny Says:

    jpp isn’t doing well…understandably…

    but joe sho isn’t doing much either – after all that pre-season hype…

    oh well…at least we have ira writing a nice post game takeaway article

  19. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    Can’t believe some posters want to talk so negative about the defense. Our pass rush is very consistent. We’ve got playmakers on every level and that’s what they do. When we need a big play on defense we usually get one from one of our many very talented guys. Been playing with Band-Aids in the secondary, JPP is gutting it out and these guys are still playing fast and physical. This is the NFL. it’s an offensive league and our defense does just fine.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Thank you BigPoppaBuc; I agree, the NFL is an offensive league and our defense does just fine … considering how badly beaten up it is. Every position group has suffered multiple injuries this season, and it looks like we’ve got too many guys who are playing at less than 100% (Whitehead, Dean, Davis, SMB, White, JPP, Vea & probably LVD). Just not seeing the same aggressiveness out of this defense that I saw at the end of last year.

    White needs to sit right now; seems apparent that he rushed back & we’re better off with Minter in there. JPP needs to get his snaps cut WAAAY BACK (this’ll almost certainly be his last year as a Buc).

  21. Bucsfanman Says:

    With 44 seconds and three timeouts every one here would be crying about how they didn’t try to go downfield. And you KNOW it!
    Brady didn’t see the defender and the guy made the play. It wasn’t a bad play call or bad coaching.

    Tackling, tackling, tackling. Boy, there was some bad looking stuff going on.

  22. Bob in valrico Says:

    Love the of effort Shaq Barrett to come from the opposite side of the field and chase down Atlanta running back 38 yards downfield.

  23. TOM Says:

    First off Leftwich really sucks. Everyone seems to want to blame TB for the pick 6 but it was all on Leftwitch. His play calling overall is pretty bad. IMHO Minter should be playing instead of White or at least 75% of the game. White & JPP needs to rest and get completely healthy for the playoffs. What the hell is with the missed tackles. Go back to the fundamentals & learn how to tackle. Last but not least. The Bucs starting CB’s are wimps. Always getting hurt.

  24. orlbucfan Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    December 5th, 2021 at 10:20 pm
    Also is no one else going to point out that Godwin had puke all of his jersey after he got nutted in the game. I don’t know, you get kicked in the balls, puke all over yourself and still come back and dominate the game. That’s a bigly performance. Should get extra props for that.
    This is what I mean about Ungodly not being 100%. Brady has got to target ME13 more as he’s healthy. And what’s with the pick 6s, Ira? How many games this season? 3, 4, more? That’s not all BL. Thank god, this Bucs team is so good, we’re overcoming them. And AMEN, DR and BigPoppaBuc, 5 turnovers by the D?? As hurt as they are? That is solid football right there.

  25. ocala Says:

    Bucs have the best offensive line in the NFL. I am hoping Cappa and Jenson sign multi year extensions.

  26. Bucamania Says:

    So many missed tackles! AWJ had a bunch.

    Major props to the Oline and Godwin.

  27. SB Says:

    TOM Says:
    December 6th, 2021 at 8:13 am
    First off Leftwich really sucks. Everyone seems to want to blame TB for the pick 6 but it was all on Leftwitch.

    I wasn’t aware that you were in the huddle.

  28. BradentuckeyBuc Says:

    “No Buc offensive line has ever played this well, and it’s not even close.”