Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints

December 20th, 2021

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This was supposed to be a coronation, the official end of a 4-run atop the NFC South by the Saints.

New Orleans arrived in Tampa without its head coach and two of the NFL’s premier offensive tackles. Riding a 4-game winning streak, the Bucs were averaging 37.5 points per game at home, unbeaten at Raymond James Stadium.

All signs appeared to point to a joyous evening for the home team, but one sign over in the corner read DETOUR. Before a prime-time audience and thousands of disbelieving fans, only half of the Buc team showed up.

The Saints displayed more jam, more energy and a better game plan while taking a major step toward an NFC wild-card berth. Adding injury to insult, several key Tampa Bay players were hurt on a night to forget.

The Bucs punted eight times and committed two turnovers. Special teams were anything but special. Pass protection was an issue from the start.

This coaching staff doesn’t get a pass, either.

Here’s some friendly advice, Mr. Leftwich — don’t take this game tape with you when you interview for the head coaching job in Jacksonville.

Now we wait for the extent of the injuries heading into Sunday’s matchup in Charlotte.

Tampa Bay’s hopes for the No. 1 seed took a big hit and Tom Brady’s credentials as league MVP took an even bigger one. His passer rating of 57.1 was about the same as his completion percentage and by the end of an excruciating night, he was punked by Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, a former Gator who picked off Brady to seal the deal.

Here’s how the Saints ran their winning streak against Tampa Bay to seven consecutive games during the regular season:

* The Saints executed their defensive game plan to perfection — pressure Brady with a 4-man front and play tight coverage to make him delay his release point. Brady’s targets struggled to achieve separation. Virtually every one of Brady’s 48 passes was contested and several drops didn’t help Brady’s cause. His most memorable throw came when he tossed his tablet in disgust behind the Tampa Bay bench.

* In what may have been the worst game of Rob Gronkowski’s glittering career, he latched onto only 2-of-11 targets as Malcolm Jenkins shadowed him all over the field.

* In case Leftwich wasn’t watching, let’s remind him the Bucs averaged 5.6 yards per carry on a night the passing game stunk up the joint. So why would Leftwich dial up runs on only 20-of-73 snaps? There was also a deep pass to Jaelon Darden on third-and-2, a deep ball to Gronkowski on fourth-and-1 and a handoff to Ke’Shawn Vaughn on third-and-1 instead of a QB sneak.

* The Buc defense was terrific, holding the Saints to 53 yards in the second half and 3-for-16 on third down overall. Alvin Kamara was no factor and New Orleans was tackled for a loss eight times on 31 rushing attempts. Leftwich wasn’t the only offensive coordinator who had a rough night — a healthy Kamara, coming off a big game last week, touched the ball only 13 times in 60 snaps.

* Cam Jordan led the way up front for New Orleans, but let’s not bury Tristan Wirfs. He was beaten cleanly by Jordan for only one of the four sacks posted by New Orleans. Alex Cappa was victimized time and again as protection broke down far too often.

Lavonte David

* Lavonte David led the charge for the Buc defense with 11 stops, a sack, 3 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He was on point from the start, limiting Taysom Hill’s effectiveness as a runner.

* Special teams were no help, whatsoever. Ryan Succop missed a 45-yard FG try, Bradley Pinion had an off night and Darden continued to show little juice as a returner. He averaged 5.9 yards bringing back punts and 16.5 yards on two kickoff returns. It’s time for a change.

* Even when Chris Godwin and Mike Evans were on the field, this offense went nowhere. The Bucs averaged 4.1 yards per snap on their 13 possessions and it’s only fair to give the New Orleans defense credit. During their 7-game hex against the Bucs in the regular season, the Saints have allowed an average of 15 points. Even in their playoff win at New Orleans, the Bucs needed four takeaways to finish with 316 yards of offense.

* In the span of a few hours, the Packers turned away a last-minute 2-point try to edge the Ravens before cheering on New Orleans. That No. 1 seed now seems like a longshot, even if the Bucs win out to finish 13-4.

* The Bucs could have used a healthy Breshad Perriman because Darden, Scotty Miller, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard combined for all of four receptions. Brady had only one completion of more than 19 yards all evening. After a dud like this, can you blame Buc fans for struggling with separation anxiety?

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

19 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    Did ira quit doing the podcast

  2. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Saints have our number. Total rethink of game plan is necessary. Go to run first and ground and pound-to hell with no risk it-no biscuit.

  3. Swampbuc Says:

    The Bucs will be lucky to win their 11th. The Bills and now the Saints figured out how to stop the offense and Boron can’t seem to adjust. Pass rushers aren’t going to worry about the edge, they’re going to just bull rush right up the middle. Ugly fugly.

  4. Sean Says:

    I put this in the earlier post but the main problem is stupid and stubborn coaching. They don’t adjust. It’s almost impossible to score 0 points in today’s NFL. This was disgusting and very telling loss.

  5. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Bucs could run the ball on every down and score more than 9

  6. Swampbuc Says:

    Right on the money, 1976.

  7. SaintsFan59 Says:

    Even the announcers were taking up for the “banged up” Bucs instead of asking why Tantrum Tom is such a poor sport. And in case you missed it: it’s your LB who knocked Winston out for the season with a totally irresponsible hit. So karma comes around guys, karma comes around. Would be poetic justice if all three of your injured don’t see the field again this season.

  8. zzbuc Says:

    1- When you speak about TB12 you better wash your mouth bro
    2- Total irresponsable hit? You better watch the game again, It was not a hit, and it was not on purpose Devin White is a good friend of the turn over machine
    3- Poetic will be watching you guys on the playoffs,oh, sorry my bad, you will watch the Bucs on TV, because Saints aren´t playing.
    4- By the waym, how many SB do you have? Sorry I remember just 1….Google how many does the Bucs have….

    Bye bye see you again next season

  9. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Hey saints fan I am glad you root for a team that’s cool with what the catholic church did to those little boys.

  10. Coburn Says:

    Devin white trying to stop Winston was not irresponsible. He was just trying to make a play and grabbed what he could. It’s unfortunate. Injuries really shouldn’t be wished on either team. I dont blame saints for our guys getting injuried. They just came out flying around and making big hits and it happens. Gotta give it to saints for flying around so fast and clearly being hungrier and ready to bring jt

  11. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Ummm let’s see…remember when the Bucs staff was fined and actually faced year suspensions for actually paying a bounty for CHEAP HITS.

    Just STFU…as a Saints fan you have as much right to talk about cheap shots as Houston fans does about cheating in baseball!

  12. Bird Says:

    Guys leave ndog alone. I mean its pretty obvious the coward came back posting as a saints fan. Like he was ever a buc fan
    Well again maybe its jaMeis almighty

    Either way …two huge founding fathers of the messiah cult aka the nutsmuggler brigade.

  13. gotbbucs Says:

    Leftwich has zero feel for the game. The run/pass ratio has always been an issue.

  14. westernbuc Says:

    You forgot “thank god Antonio Brown is still on the team”

  15. Aaron Says:

    I can’t believe I just read a post from a Saints fan about cheap hits and Karma.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    OJ Who?

  17. Darin Says:

    Calm down! Let’s not forget. Or let’s remember for those of you who weren’t there. The Bucs lost both regular season games to the saints in both super bowl winning seasons. Sounds to me like I’m glad it happened!

  18. Robert Says:

    Bradley Pinion and Succop have been bad this season. They should be replaced before the playoffs. Our special teams stink and there’s only a few weeks left to get it right.

  19. Bucs Guy Says:

    Pinion and Sucop will still be here because of their cap hits. Pinion has one more year at $2.9M and Succop has two more years at $3.25M and $3.75M. Pinion hasbeen going downhill and Bucs should look to replace him in another year,