The Morning After

December 6th, 2021

(Photo courtesy of

Any time you beat the Dixie Chicks in their crib, it’s a wonderful Victory Monday. Pour the coffee and let’s go.


You, you’ve heard the worn-out football cliché “balanced offense, complementary football,” blah, blah, blah. Feeding your best weapons had the Bucs on the roll yesterday, not kindergarten nonsense where everybody has to share.

Sure, nine different Bucs players caught passes from 17-game-loathing, salad-bar-hating, park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking, tequila-shooting, smartphone-phobic, waffle-grilling, trophy-throwing, roller-coaster-scared, numbers-rules-peeved, helmet-tossing, football-punting, Bucs-Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady.

But Brady isn’t stupid.

Brady leaned heavily on his four ballers. That would be Chris Godwin, Playoff Lenny, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski. Yeah, nine guys caught passes from Brady but all but five went to the Four Horsemen.

That’s smart football: Put the ball in the hands of your ballers!

And what run game? The run game wasn’t the best option so why beat your head against the wall and waste snaps? It’s all about points and Brady put the ball in the air to his best players.

Joe also loved how Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich had an epiphany yesterday and on the opening drive didn’t try to slam Playoff Lenny up the middle on first down. Bravo, Mr. Leftwich, bravo!

Playoff Lenny Has Changed

Anyone notice how Playoff Lenny has morphed into such a different player? He came into the league as a battering ram. Now? He’s a pass catcher. Brady has really begun to lean on Playoff Lenny in the passing game.

In the past two games, Playoff Lenny has been targeted 16 times. That’s quite a bit. Maybe that’s because defenses are keying on Playoff Lenny in the run so much that the Bucs are trying to catch defenses snoozing on the short passes out of the backfield?

Anyway, Joe finds it cool how much Playoff Lenny has transformed. Before long, Playoff Lenny is going to turn into Kevin Faulk, another running back from LSU who morphed into a receiving back for Brady.

Surprising Defense

Joe was fixated yesterday on the third-down defense. It seemed the only way the Bucs could get off the field on third down was with a sack. Yeah, or a forced fumble. But damn if the defense didn’t make plays when they absolutely had to.

Joe was sweating how the Bucs defense was getting pushed around. Then Joe got a text after the game: The Dixie Chicks hadn’t scored one friggin’ point in the second half.

Wait, what, really?

That’s true. And the Bucs of late have been on a nice defensive roll in the second half of games. In the last two road games the Bucs have given up seven points in the second half. You’re going to win every game with this offense with defensive production like that.

In the past four games, the Bucs have allowed a total of 33 second-half points. That’s a little over eight points per second half on average. If the defense can keep up that average, the Bucs will be fine.

Joe just wishes the third-down defense would be a stiffer.

You Win In The Trenches

While Joe doesn’t like to parrot old football clichés, largely because they are empty words, the following is a football truism as old as the game itself: If you win in the trenches, you win.

The Dixie Chicks simply couldn’t get to Brady. The Dixie Chicks got one quarterback hit on Brady and no sacks. That’s it! One hit.

The Bucs’ defensive line? Far different story.

The Bucs had 11 quarterback hits on Matty Ice. Yes, 11, led by Vita Vea and his capped tooth with three quarterback hits (that’s Warren Sapp-like). And of course, the Bucs had five sacks, two each from ageless Ndamukong Suh and Vea.

Wanna know where the game was won yesterday? Look no further than the trenches.

The Best of Times

Joe received a Twitter last night from his good friend Mike Weber, a producer at WTSP-TV Channel 10. Weber noted that we are living in the Glory Years of the Bucs.

Joe always considered the late 1990s and into the 2000s were the glory years. That team had a crazy long run with a defense for the ages that lasted for an 11-year period. Playoffs were expected, not hoped for. People chatted throughout the offseason how to strengthen the team to get to the Super Bowl, not what the Bucs should do to get a wild card berth.

The dismal Lost Decade numbed Joe to all of that joy. The losses methodically sucked the hope away from Joe. Still, to this day, with the end of the regular season five games away and the Bucs virtually having the NFC South locked up with a four-game lead, Joe still has that sense of dread, waiting for something awful to happen.

Why? Because year after year in The Lost Decade, Bucs fans as a collective group took a boot in the nuts virtually every Sunday. It’s like we have battered child syndrome or PTSD.

But Joe thinks Weber is on to something. The Bucs are in the best 20-game stretch in the history of the franchise — with a veteran team that knows how to win a Super Bowl. And it has the greatest at quarterback who has put the team in position to make a run at a Super Bowl repeat.

Why shouldn’t this be the best of times for Bucs fans?

39 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    This is the glory years b/c under Tony Dungy we couldn’t score any points let alone a 1st down

  2. SteveK Says:

    Let’s Go Buccaneers!

    Great win!

    Let’s get ready to host Buffalo and do some scouting tomorrow night on MNF.

  3. Joe Says:

    This is the glory years b/c under Tony Dungy we couldn’t score any points let alone a 1st down


  4. Buczilla Says:

    Licht has set our team up to win now and in the long term unlike Chucky and Bruce Allen way back when.

  5. Tampabuscsbro Says:



  6. Medicated Pete Says:


    Pete likes the rollercoaster ride that is the NFL. Standing on the Skyway Bridge when we lose then enjoying the euphoric victories

  7. SlyPirate Says:


    TB12 just won his 24th game as a Buc. That ties him with Vinnie Testavirde and Josh Freeman for firth winningest QB in Bucs history.

    2 more wins will tie with Brad Johnson
    4 more win will tie him with Winston

  8. Crickett Baker Says:

    ..Yeah! And penalties? What penalties? 😀

  9. Buczilla Says:


    Lol, wow. Our quarterback history is truly pathetic. I knew it was bad, since I’ve lived through it, but just wow. Makes me even more grateful to have Brady even if it’s only for another few years tops.

  10. bucschamp Says:

    pass catching Lenny could be the key moving forward. defenses won’t be able to figure him out

  11. BillyBucco Says:

    What a positive post and I agree 100%.

    What a fun team to watch now that Gronk is back.
    AB will help take it to a level that still makes Tampa the favorites.

  12. Orlandobucsfan#1 Says:

    Amen, brother.

  13. RunRunPassRay Says:

    I think I’m sterile from all those kicks in the nuts over the years

  14. Leighroy Says:

    The run game wasn’t working? Or they CHOSE not to run it at all on the opening drive of the game?

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Pass-catching Lenny is still a battering ram. They just found a different way to get the ball into his hands. So many times I’ve seen him get a checkdown behind the LOS then run over people to get excellent yardage.

    These numbers don’t seem real to me, but Pro-Football-Reference (through 11 games) says that he has 51 receptions in 62 targets (82.3%) for 354 yds receiving (of those, 21 were for 1st downs BTW).

    Here’s the part that looks unreal: Lenny’s Yards Before Catch (YBC) is 10 yds TOTAL (as in 0.2 YBC/reception average). His Yards After Catch (YAC) is 344 yds TOTAL (as in 6.7 yds/reception average). And he’s being used largely as a checkdown back with lots of defenders in front of you once you catch the ball. Lenny’s a battering ram once he gets the ball in his hands.

  16. Mike W Says:

    Bucs fans will be talking about the Brady Bucs for decades to come. We really may never see anything like this again in our lifetimes. Enjoy. Soak it in.

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    Joe, you’re not the only one. Yesterday had me squirming watching Atlanta convert 3rd down after 3rd down. BUT, the defense made plays when it had to.

    Lenny HAS transformed, and he looks like a much more rounded, all-around back.

    Interesting and telling stats Defense Rules!

    This offense is ridiculous! And to think we’re “missing” weapons?!

  18. Kentucky Buc Says:

    They’re getting Lenny out in space against linebackers and DBs instead of battering him against d lineman. This gives him a great chance to break a tackle for extra yards not to mention he’s beating the crap out of DBs who then have to try to cover the great Buc receivers. BA BL TB know exactly what they’re doing with using Lenny this much in the pass game. How would you like to be a DB who just scraped himself off the ground after LF ran over you and then have to cover Evans, Godwin or Gronk on the very next play. These short passes to LF and Godwin are essentially runs.

  19. adam from ny Says:

    remember that time we surprisingly knocked off the falcons in their building, with i think it was a 2nd year jameis winston, and he tossed a spectacular touchdown into the end zone to austin sefarian-jenkins for a wild catch and an upset win…

    it was also early in the season, like week 2 or 3 or something…

    at that time i think the falcons were top dogs in the division…

    this was before the saints took control of the division and they had like three 7-9 seasons in a row…

    no real point here…just remembering a great victory in atlanta a few years back

  20. Bird Says:

    Yah. If we could just find a way to play defense in the first half.

    And people keep complaining about short passes/ check downs on offense. Defenses are taking out no risk it / no biscuit with 2 deep safeties.
    So bucs throw short some games. Last game it was running Lenny

    I like it. We are practicing to win on offense all three ways : throw deep/ throw short / run it up their bum. Good luck to opposing teams. Godwin / evans/ gronk / oh and AB coming back. Unstoppable

    Brady showed a little more emotion yesterday. I liked it. He seemed off / checked out last few games. He got that fire / was having good time yesterday again.

    And yea godwin will get paid 18-20 mil per year by bucs w cap going up

  21. Ptwalk Says:

    So in a nutshell we have a team that might not get off the field on 3rd down consistently enough but I think we force teams to be patient and take the underneath stuff on long drives. And to do so without committing a penalty, fumble, sack of int. which is by the way how our offense is playing, with the the best to ever do it that way. So you have to beat Tom Brady at his own game with 2 of the best underneath weapon in the league in Gronk and Godwin. Good luck doing that.

  22. STL-BucsFan Says:


  23. BucsBeBack (Artist formally known as: BringBucsBack) Says:

    Adam, that was game one of the 2016 season & Koetter’s 1st game as HC. Also, the year the Falcons went to the SB.

    Yes, Joe’s favorite TE, ASJ, had a big game & so did the pass-catching RB out of WV (forget name). I remember a HUGE catch & run for a Tuddy where he broke 4 or 5 tackles! The season seemed promising after that win but, nope, Bucslife, lead by #5 was our reality! Ah, the bad-ole days!

  24. Rayjay1122 Says:

    I was wishing Vea would leave his tooth out. Wear it like a battle scar and badge of honor. Then I found out he likes corn on the cob and apples.

  25. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    How about that goal line stand…..1st & goal on the half yard line and the Falcons had to settle for a field goal……
    How did we do it…….we couldn’t play 10 yards off the receivers……

    I hope BL has learned an important lesson……that running up the gut on 1st down doesn’t work….

    The other problem that needs to be solved is running an empty backfield on 3rd & 3…….WHY?

  26. Oneilbuc Says:

    Pete. Dungy was the coach that changed the culture of this losing franchise. He was one of the reason I became a Bucs fan after the oilers left . I can’t stand how some of yall disrespect former player/ coaches. Dungy was the coach who brought wining to Tampa. The bucs was a joke back in the 80s and early 90s until Dungy came . Some of yall treat Dungy as if he was Shaino who set our team back for years because he traded all of our good defensesive players. And Gruden won with the team Dungy built and every body knows it . Gruden is overrated and now I’m starting to think Dungy gets hated on because he was a black coach . Look how every one ignore what Greg Shaino done but constantly talk bad about Dungy and the bucs didn’t start wining until he came and that’s a fact !!!

  27. brooks Says:

    I’m soaking it in its glory days for us. We need a knockout performance next Sunday against the Bills!!

  28. Boo Radley Says:

    This has to be said. I lost A LOT of what respect I have left for BA after he publicly criticized Gronk when he slid into the oncoming point blank DBs. The GOAT TE’s 3-5 broken and cracked ribs haven’t even KNITTED 100% yet, not to mention his punctured lung, and BA’s is calling him out for being a p****??! Seriously??

    I know that BA doesn’t give a rat’s back-end about my or any other fan’s respect but if he keeps running his mouth, especially when he hasn’t all the facts, his LOCKER ROOM will let him know if it hasn’t already.

    Last, to his credit, BA first said “bad [play] call” on the attempted screen pick-six (In your own Red Zone when you are just trying to get off the field at half-time with a two-score lead? Dhuh?!) but then he said “poor execution”. By whom? Nobody missed their block and Brady got the ball out fast and on target. That play was very similar to the worst call in SB History when the Seahawks had the game won on the Pat’s goal line when Pete Carroll CALLS A PASS PLAY. The rest is history as Malcolm Butler sniffed out and anticipated and CHARGED on the pass. This is exactly what that heads-up DB did in somehow getting between Brady and Fournette in less than a second to steal the pass.

    Perhaps by “poor execution” BA meant that the GOAT SHOULD HAVE KNOWN it was the dumbest ‘situational football’ play call and to just ground it or throw it out of bounds. Yeah, I’ll give BA the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he meant the latter. /smh

  29. Buddha Says:

    BA is by far the best coach and best offensive mind in the long and jaded history of this team. He tells it as he sees it and the players respect and LOVE him. They play hard, are well prepared, and determined. This is the NFL where the line between winning and losing is thin. You have to bring your A game each week and the opponent spends all week preparing specifically for your offense and defense so that you often have to make in game adjustments on the fly.

  30. Buddha Says:

    Just look at yesterday…lions over vikings, chargers over Bengals, Seahawks over 49ers, Steelers over ravens…all outright underdog winners.

  31. Jmarkbuc Says:

    OMG 😱

    I agree with just about everything in O’Neill’s post.
    Definitely a first for me.

    And Pete.. on the bright side the other team couldn’t score either.

  32. orlbucfan Says:

    Still, to this day, with the end of the regular season five games away and the Bucs virtually having the NFC South locked up with a four-game lead, Joe still has that sense of dread, waiting for something awful to happen.

    Why? Because year after year in The Lost Decade, Bucs fans as a collective group took a boot in the nuts virtually every Sunday. It’s like we have battered child syndrome or PTSD.
    +27, Joes! Hey, talking about PTSD? Be a Bucs fan for 42 years. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief at times. 🙂

  33. Mike Says:

    Bruce should look in the mirror once in awhile when calling out his players! Your on the 8 yd line with seconds left!! Just sit on the damn ball and take it into halftime!! DUMB CALL COACH!!!

  34. HeyItsAdam Says:

    Dear Joe,

    I’ve been a Bucs fan since I moved here in 1980. I have been a STH since 2005 when the Bucs called me and told me my number came up on the original “Waiting List.”

    I’ve seen extreme highs and the lowest of lows.

    But being a STH during the “Lost Decade” I can only describe it one way – It was like watching “Jurassic Park” every single Sunday and cheering for the goat.


  35. Lifer Says:

    The impact of Playoff Lenny cannot be understated. Go to 4:22 left in the 3rd quarter and watch where he catches this ball. 5 yard behind the line of scrimmage. First contact at the 44, 5 yards shy of the first down. He gets 7 more yards, crosses the 50 yard line, and gives the Bucs a first down. We thought bringing in Bernard for the pass catching back would be great for Brady (James White v2.0) but Playoff Lenny has taken that role and is doing amazing things for this team when Evans and Godwin and others are double teamed.

  36. Lifer Says:

    The impact of Playoff Lenny cannot be understated. Go to 4:22 left in the 3rd quarter and watch where he catches this ball. 5 yard behind the line of scrimmage. First contact at the 44, 5 yards shy of the first down. He gets 7 more yards, crosses the 50 yard line, and gives the Bucs a first down. We thought bringing in Bernard for the pass catching back would be great for Brady (James White v2.0) but Playoff Lenny has taken that role and is doing amazing things for this team when Evans and Godwin and others are double teamed.

    Also underrated and should be praised after this game, the versatility of Chris Godwin. Long plays, short throws, and now even hand-offs. BL and TB decided to let him have a game and it definitely worked. That’s the Godwin I was hoping to see since he was franchise tagged in the off-season.

  37. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Oneilbuc ..”And Gruden won with the team Dungy built and every body knows it”

    I have not been a gruden fan since BEFORE he was fired after the 2008 season. His ways just rub people the wrong way after a while.

    But it is not honest to say Gruden won the SB with Tonys team.
    It was Tony’s defense but not his offense.

    Gruden Brought in 2 WR Keenan Mcardle, Joe Jurevicous, 3 TE Ken Dilger, Ricky Dudley, and Marco Battaglia, and RB Micheal Pittman.
    So that is 6 different offensive players.

    I believe that 4 of those were starters.

    So it was not Dungys offense, and in fact that is why Tony was let go, he could not get an offense to score enough to win, specifically against Philly in the Playoffs for the last 2 years of his time as a Head Coach of the Bucs.

    Dungy could have done the things Gruden did, but just seemingly would not.

    In the words of Rich McKay back then “We are not a QB driven team” Wow that says it all about the offensive mentality of those Buc teams under Dungy.

    I am sure you remember Brooks and Sapp talking about the Standard they were held to by Tony, but Brooks said the offense was not held top the same level of accountability by Dungy. That is Derricks words not mine.

    But if Tony would have only built an offense to go with that World Championship Defense, he would stayed and won the Super Bowl with the Bucs.

    So as much respect is given to Tony by so manyand rightfully so, and yes he is a good man, but this is just keeping it straight, again I have not been a Gruden fan since before they let him go back in 2008,

    But it is not fair to say Gruden won it with Tonys team.

    It was Gruden’s offense and Tony’s Defense that won the 2002 World Championship

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  38. Oneilbuc Says:

    1976. I can agree with you on some of your post . But back then football was different from today. They have more rules than they had back then. Gruden did bring in those players but at the end of the day we were more of a running team than a passing team remember pound that rock !!! And I loved it !! But without that defense we wouldn’t have won nothing . But when Dungy came that’s when the bucs culture change . I just hope we can keep winning post Brady and Gronk. But I’m definitely enjoying the winning right now. I just hope we become a great franchise with a rich history of winning for now on . I’m just tired of the media and these fake bucs fans who’s here just because of Brady . I defend the bucs all the time where I live and all of them say the same thing yall winning only because of Brady and the national media have made the superbowl all about 1 guy and that’s what I hate but at the same time I’ve always enjoyed us winning even last year !! Go bucs !!

  39. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Oneilbuc, for me, after watching this team since the first preseason game in 1976, and ALL the Losing through the years, I just do not care anymore about why they win games. lol
    You know whether people say it is all Brady or because of something else, that kind of stuff has not mattered to me for many years now. Losing sux, lol I just want to see the Bucs win.
    Let people whine if they want to about why the Bucs win games, they are still winning lol
    You know like Joe just posted the other day about the Bucs winning the last 17 of 20, including a Super Bowl, that is better than anything this team has ever done. Truly the Glory years are here now.
    I stated that in several posts back in the summer about this being the Glory years of the franchise. I stated that because I thought this current Bucs team would sustain winning longer than the 2003 team with all the drama that started, and basically caused them to implode.

    So let people complain about the Bucs winning and their crying Brady Brady Brady blah blah blah. Just call the Bucs Champs, at least until this season is complete. lol, And maybe by some miracle the Bucs can win again this year with a beat up secondary.
    Who knows, but right now the winning is fun.

    Before Dungy came, the only winning the Bucs did
    was when they made the playoffs 3 times in 4 years from 1979-82. Then it was 13 long years of more losing seasons until Tony’s second year in 1997.
    Tony VERY MUCH changed the culture at 1 Buccaneer place.

    The reason I soured on Gruden was because of how the team and culture began to implode, disintegrating from within. You know like the very public drama between Gruden and Keyshawn, and other things that happened under Gruden’s leadership like Keenan Mcardle saying Gruden did not keep his word to him about his contract, that soured Keenan bigtime. That very public drama with Keyshawn on the sideline going back and forth with Gruden during a game would never have happened under Dungy.
    The culture just was not the same at all and started to break down publically in 2003, just the very next year after winning the Super Bowl.

    With that said, I am still thankful for the good that Gruden did.
    Like you said without the Defense they would have won nothing, your right, but without the offense they would have won nothing also lol which is why Tony was let go in spite of so many Buc players and many Buc fans liking him.
    That pass to Jurevicius in the NFC championship game was the play that “cracked the code” so to speak against that Philly D.
    The the previous 2 years the Bucs seasons ended in Philly because the Bucs offense just could not handle the Eagles Defense.
    And of course in the same game Bucs fans enjoyed Ronde making one of the greatest plays in the history of the franchise when he took a pick 6 to the house to seal a trip to the Super Bowl. Wow what a moment it was. “Tearing down the Vet”, Like Keyshawn said lol
    A good example of Complementary football like DR points out many times lol.

    But yes “Joe” I agree, scoring points ultimately trumps Complimentary football many times lol lol
    Even though it is a TEAM game.

    GO BUCS!!!!!