Byron Leftwich And The Play-Action Pass

May 30th, 2022

Bucs OC Byron Leftwich.

Here are wild play-action stats used (or not used) by the Bucs.

We all know Tom Brady is pretty lethal on play-action. But Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, for reasons he has never come clean, doesn’t like to use them.

Given how Brady led the league in passing last year, it’s hard to quibble with how he was used by Leftwich.

Now the Twitter feed @NFLRums likes to lift info from accounts and only about 20 percent of the time cites a source. But the intel this feed provides is tyically reliable, just unsourced. This Twitter feed last night claimed the Bucs had the second-most touchdowns off play-action passes the past two years.

For example, in 2020, per, the Bucs threw 112 play-action passes, ninth-lowest in the league, yet on these same plays the Bucs had the 11th-most yards in the league.

In 2021, the Bucs were 10th-lowest in the NFL in passing attempts throwing from play-action. Last year the yards from play-action passes were way down, 12th-lowest in the NFL.

Joe attributes the drop in yards (1,149 yards in 16 games in 2020,to 926 yards in 17 games in 2021) to many injuries, specifically to Chris Godwin, foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski and V-card-forging, topless-jumping-jacks-exercising, quitter Antonio Brown.

Still, the Bucs ranked second overall in touchdowns via play-action. That is incredible.

Maybe, just maybe, the way the Bucs succeed with play-action, Leftwich should call more of these?

24 Responses to “Byron Leftwich And The Play-Action Pass”

  1. Mike Says:

    Perhaps by using it less, it catches the defense sleeping and hits home more often.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Maybe, just maybe, the way the Bucs score touchdowns off of play-action passes, perhaps Leftwich should call more of these?’

    Another possibility? PERHAPS play action is so effective for scoring TDs because opponents are looking for something else (since we apparently use play action so little)?

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The perfect time for us to play action is on 1st down…….we seem to always run.

    And, stop with the 3rd and 3…….20 yard passes to the sideline with a covered Mike Evans…..let’s just get the 3 yards.

    And…..Byron, here’s a hint…….play action passes don’t work with an empty backfield…….

  4. Goatfarmer Says:

    Empty backfield play action – LOL!

    DR has it right. Since we don’t fake a handoff very often, when Tom makes the move the D believes it’s a run and commits, opening up the field for TB.

    I remember there was a time where we would try a play action and the opposing D would just ignore the fake handoff because our run game sucked so much.

  5. sasquatch Says:

    One of the things that makes it effective is the defense buying into the run. It’s more effectively deployed when your running game is working. Otherwise, it’s just wasted movement. If they get more out of the running game this year, their play action percentage may go up as well.

  6. tampabayallday Says:

    Using it less actually hurts the team overall.

  7. Bojim Says:


  8. firethecannons Says:

    Perhaps Joe or Ira could ask Byron next time they are in an interview situation with him, at this point not using it is hurting our team performance. especially going forward with 2 decent running backs that play all 3 downs. We need to run it more and use play action more.

  9. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    I think the run game will be a bit better.
    Lombardi Lenny has White on his heels this year.
    Shaq mason is a really good run blocker; better than Cappa.
    Goodeke is supposed to be a really good run blocker, but we’ll see. The two rookie TEs are supposed to be excellent blockers. Having two duel threat RBs makes run/pass harder to guess. Face it, if Bernard’s in the backfield it’s a pass and since Jones couldn’t block or catch or chew bubblegum …..

  10. Biff Barker Says:

    Byron’s not the type to open up the playbook using trickery.

    We have a great roster, a real OL, best QB on the planet, and some new faces. Gage, Otten, Ko, and White all have stepped in spit luck have a chance to impress TB and BL.

  11. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    It is effective because we hardly use it!
    If we are number2 in the NFL for scoring off the play action pass, we are using it enough.

  12. BillyBucco Says:

    I believe if there ever was a quibble between Brady and Bruce, it would be over exactly what you said.
    Always trying a home run on 3rd and 3.
    That has NEVER been Bradys MO.

  13. Biff Barker Says:

    Play action can keep the chains moving. We need to wear out the opposing D. Keep them on the field.

    Let’s gas their D and rest ours.

    Tommy knows how to score with the talent here.

  14. Joe Says:

    Perhaps Joe or Ira could ask Byron next time they are in an interview situation with him, at this point not using it is hurting our team performance.

    Leftwich has been asked several times and he won’t answer. Claims he doesn’t know anything about number of play-actions called. This is a good example of why his press conferences are a waste of time.

  15. Lt. Dan Says:

    Mahalo Joe’s for bringing us Bucs content on a holiday! Props.

  16. SB Says:

    Travis Joneson arrested this morning for DUI.
    Dumbarse. There went your chance at making the roster.

  17. Eddie Marz Says:

    For play action to work you have to commit to the run. Once you prove you can run,pass. Brady’s good enough to make anything work, but use every option to your advantage. GOBUCS!

  18. GOB Says:

    Contrary to popular belief, PA success rate is uncorrelated to rush attempts and rush success rate. Running PA is just as effective when you rush 30% of the time as it is when you run 50% of the time.
    It’s also a misconception that the more you run PA, the less reactive a defense will be to it. That’s untrue. For the life of me, I don’t understand why it hasn’t been used more. You don’t need to establish the run for effective play action.

  19. Goatfarmer Says:

    SB — wow man, these days if anyone drives while impaired they automatically qualify for a human effplant nomination. But an professional athlete is even dumber. Take an Uber fer chrissakes. What.The.Hell.

    Toast Jonsen.

  20. GOB Says:

    Play action passing actually get more yards per pass, than straight drop backs. Brady knows this. So does BL. Just the threat of a run is enough to make LBs and safteys bite. The down and distance is not a factor, expect on third and long.

  21. Goatfarmer Says:

    I think we can all agree, we’d like to see Bucs run more as a percentage of total plays, and use more PA when passing.

  22. GOB Says:

    GF, it just makes sense. I think the last two years, Brady has been on a mission to prove he can sling it all over the yard. I’d hate to think the reduction of PA passes has anything to do with that. His last few years in NE, the Pat’s transitioned into a power run team. Like I said before, no correlation exists between running attempts, running success, and PA success.

  23. David Says:

    With Lenny and the rookie, I expect them to run more under BOWLES and therefore, use play action more during the passing game.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Amazing how many experts are wasting their offensive coaching skills on a message board when they could be schooling the leaders of one of the top offenses in the NFL over the last few years on what they ought to really be doing. I would think the Glazers and Licht would be very interested in hearing how you guys would put your offensive genius to use to best help our team.