Clean It Up!

July 11th, 2022

Stop him!

This really shouldn’t be that difficult to figure out.

You can talk about the Bucs not losing a beat despite key cogs gone or temporarily missing. You can talk about the choking Packers. But until someone knocks off the Rams, they are still, to paraphrase Ric Flair, the man of the NFC.

To be the man you have to beat the man!

While the Bucs are 0-4 (in the regular season) against the slimy Saints since Tom Brady arrived, the Bucs are almost as bad against the Rams. Brady and the Bucs are 0-3 against the Rams, including a heartbreaking loss in the playoffs in January.

Typing for, Adam Rank notes that until the Bucs prove they can beat the Rams with Brady, the Rams own the NFC.

Here’s a matchup between the last two Super Bowl winners. One thing to note, even as we talk about the Bucs’ futility against the Saints: The Rams won both matchups against Tampa Bay last year. And the second of the two meetings (in the Divisional Round of the playoffs) required a furious second-half rally from Brady for it to even be close. I know we like to talk about the Bucs being the top contender in the NFC, but they need to clean this up, too.

And when someone suggests the Bucs need to clean up their act against the Rams, Joe thinks immediately of the Tampa Bay secondary and their atrocious play in the playoffs.

Rotten tackling all game long meant Bucs defensive backs needed to be treated at an area burn unit after the game.

Look, Joe is not one to rag about getting beat by Cooper Kupp. He beats everybody. The Bucs were no different. So to kvetch and stomp your feet that the Bucs couldn’t stop Kupp, that’s not fair.

That playoff game was a blowout if not for Brady putting the Bucs on his back and fighting his arse off. And that is largely because the secondary got shredded by Matt Stafford and Co.

For the Bucs to return to the Super Bowl, the secondary must play like a Super Bowl contender, not like some outfit the dog dragged in from the no-defense Big XII league.

39 Responses to “Clean It Up!”

  1. Buczilla Says:

    Yup, the secondary was lousy against the Rams (and others) and they’ll stay lousy in my mind until they prove otherwise. We have the talent back there to sweep our first four games, but I still feel like we need to shore up our outside corners. Carlton is good, but he’s just missing something, whether it’s his ball skills, injuries, whatever. I’m tired of making fun of Dean, but he ain’t that good. Spurts of good play for sure but he’s a mess in my opinion. SMB, outside of playing out of his mind during the 2020 playoffs has rarely been good. Maybe one of our 4 trillion nickel backs or safeties can help on the outside, but I gotta see it first.

  2. FrontFour Says:

    The Rams were more physical than us in the trenches, both side of the ball. Blame the secondary if you want, but there’s plenty to clean up for everyone.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    Poor tackling plagued this team all year last year.
    Bucs fans have to look in the mirror and be honest. We were never in that game. Our offense was futile for the better part of the first half and if Akers doesn’t cough up the ball TWICE and Kupp with another, no amount of heroics would’ve won that game.
    We were never in that game!

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Attaboy Joe, pick on the defense for those 4 losses, but make sure to overlook the offensive flaws (aka, slow starts & turnovers) that contributed big-time to each of those losses. FrontFour is spot-on: ‘There’s plenty to clean up for everyone’.

    Both the Saints & the Rams were much more physical in the trenches than the Bucs were; they stole our lunch money & all we did was whine about it. They came out & punched us in the mouth in all 4 of those games last season, took commanding leads, then held on as Tom Terrific brought us back to make the final score ‘look respectable’. Horsepuckey, this isn’t horseshoes; we got the crap knocked out of us in all 4 games.

    o Rams game 1 (Loss: 34-24): Rams were up 14-7 at end of 1st half, and 21-7 after 1 minute of the 2nd half. Bucs first 3 possessions were punts.

    o Saints game 1 (Loss: 36-27): Saints were up 16-7 at end of 1st half, and 23-7 after 6 minutes of the 2nd half. Bucs’ offense made 3 TOs in that game, 2 in 1st half.

    o Saints game 2 (Loss 9-0): Saints were up 6-0 at end of 1st half. Bucs offense made 2 TOs in that game (both in 2nd half), and punted 8 times. Saints were forced to punt 9 times.

    o Rams game 2 (Loss 30-27): Rams were up 20-3 at the end of the 1st half, and 27-3 halfway through 3rd quarter. Bucs offense made 2 TOs in that game (1 in each half); only thing that made game remotely close was that the Bucs’ defense forced 4 TOs by the Rams (our offense capitalized on 2 of them).

    So our offense started very slowly in each of those 4 games, gave the ball away 7 times, and oh ya, surrendered 13 sacks total in those 4 games. It’s called getting punched in the mouth. We helped the other team to start fast, and then we hung on to lose. But ya, let’s whine about the defense.

    Or better yet, maybe we can blame Suh for being too old. He only had 1.5 sacks, 6 QB Hits, 1 FF, 1 TFL and 14 tackles in those 4 games. Sure glad we haven’t re-signed him.

  5. PSL Bob Says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Joe on this one. Poor tackling in particular.

  6. DG060 Says:

    I TOTALLY concur with Big Joe here. The secondary was the equivalent of the Keystone Cops last year. They either step it up in a big way or go home early.
    Simple as that.

  7. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Correction Joe, Bucs are 0-6 since BA took the helm and Brady was 5-1 against the Rams pre Buc and beat McVay in the SB. What I see as the common denominator is Bucs coaching staff CANNOT match up coaching against these two teams, I wouldn’t put this on any player(s).

  8. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Sorry Joe , but glossing over the fact that the defense created 4 lost fumbles by the Rams (which is what really kept the Bucs in the game) is not fair or objective , you can do better.

  9. August 1976 Buc Says:

    If anyone wants to defend the indefensible bad play of the defense go ahead have at it. BUT THE DEFENSE PLAYED SORRY AGAINST TNE RAMS IN BOTH GAMES LAST YEAR. The question will they continue that crap or get better. Time will tell. I hope they get better, BUT…….We will see.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  10. ben Says:

    Rams also have had better coaching and blew the defense apart.. …hoping our new head coach has learned his lessons .

  11. AbucAway Says:


  12. Dooley Says:

    -Our offense couldn’t move the ball for the first half of that Rams game

    -Succop went 1 for 2 in the first half, thats all the scoring we did

    -Our first TD was scored by Lenny with 16 seconds left on the clock in the 3rd QTR AFTER Jamel Dean forced a fumble on Cooper Kupp.

    -Our offense started the 4th qtr with 3 drives that produced NO points

    -The first offensive drive of the 4th qtr Brady coughed it up on a sack fumble, the Rams coughed it up right back up on the following possession on a botched snap and our offense got the ball back just to go 5 plays and out.

    -Our offense didn’t put any points up in the 4th qtr until there were <4mins left in the game. Even then, the game was pretty much in hand for LA until Suh forced a fumble on Akers and unexpectedly got our offense back on the field w/2:32 left in the game.

    C'mon now Joe, lets not revise history to suit a talking point that can be pulled apart like a smoked pork shoulder

  13. Ash Says:

    Very unlucky with injuries last season feel most of the fall off was related to that than anything else people bring up hope to have more luck with that this season to bucs

  14. Goatfarmer Says:

    Earth to Todd — double Kupp and force someone, anyone else to beat you. I know — brain melting stuff there, I don’t even expect a tip.

  15. August 1976 Buc Says:

    C’mon now Joe, lets not revise history to suit a talking point that can be pulled apart like a smoked pork shoulder

    Talking point, more like go back and watch both Ram games last year, the week 3 beatdown in LA, and then the playoff game. How many points did the Rams have at the half of the playoff game? Yes the offense got it handed to them, Donald and the gang ate the o lines lunch. It was not the offense giving up those points. And in week 3, the defense was non existant at times, Deshuan Jackson waltzing wide open early in the 3rd Qtr for an easy long TD, Thats on the D. It is not talking points that we are reading. We all saw what happened. Maybe go back and watch the games again? Play by Play and see a defense that was not very good in both games. You have to admit there is a problem before it ever changes.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  16. DBS Says:

    On the other hand the Rams coughed up the ball . And their kicker missed also. So your replies mean nothing. Brady took advantage and the score was tied. 0-0 game until??

  17. Strikeboy75 Says:

    Wirfs was out that game…. Enough said

  18. AbucAway Says:

    The Rams averaged 27 points per game last year. In the playoff game against the Rams, the Bucs defense had that until….they didn’t.
    Regardless, the offense was the biggest problem. Wild west type comebacks (or lack of) show which team actually controlled the game, imo.

  19. Dooley Says:

    It’s not an argument FOR the defense being better than the offense, its about the offense being STAGNANT against the Rams defense and that factoring into the loss.

    6 first half Bucs possessions materialized to 3 points total in the first half. 1 made kick, 4 punts, and an INT to end those 6 drives in the first 30 mintutes of play

    Granted the Rams came out of the second half and jumped right on us for a score, but it was a 7 point deficit at the start of the 2nd half and our offense answered with a punt on the following drive and a missed FG on the drive after.

    Yes our defense gave up points, but equally our offense did nothing on enough opportunities to not even be a game changing factor until their last possession of the 3rd quarter. 2 of our last 3 defensive possessions got the ball back to our guys with a 3-n-Out and another forced fumble to even give our offense the opportunity at the late game heroics.

    I’ll disagree with anything that tries to paint that last Rams game as if it were one side or the other, because in all truth we stunk enough in all 3 phases of the game for it to turn out to be the L it was.

  20. OBVIOUS Says:

    Well said Defense and Dooley. I mean, That is the “Truth of the Truth” Your descriptions of particularly that last Rams game is simply spot on. Ad in the Fact that the secondary was playing scared and I’m having flashbacks of eerily familiar games of the lost decade. And I’ve got to give credit to the Joe that coined that phase. “The Lost Decade” Because we specialized in losing during that time.

    The comments are all true. We got punched on both sides of the head (offense and defense). We were just simply Handled in All four of those embarrassing games (Rams/Saints) last year Until we decided “As A Team” to Stop the Abuse! Lead by Tom a little too late but Still, As a Team we decided to STOP letting those guys punch us in the mouth and almost took our manhood back.

    I’m guessing the problem at heart was our third and fourth string guys got bullied first and didn’t punch back. The (Saints/Rams) got in their heads and like a cancer it spread to the entire team in ways that the Vets and Coaches couldn’t recognize and fix in time to turn the boat away from the ice berg before complete disaster. “Except” in that last game against the Rams. We almost did it. We figured it out just about 60 seconds too late. Almost…

    I’m looking forward to some payback!
    GO BUCS!

  21. Wade Landry Says:

    It’s called PASS RUSH….saints and rams neutralize ours, optimize their own =Victory! !….

  22. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Rams playoff game halftime score was 20-3. TWENTY first half points given up by D. The offense scored 3 points in the 1st half. I know the Tampa media is alot like MSM in that they’re so afraid of losing the limited access provided by the NFL that they are reluctant to ask the tough questions of the coaching staff.
    Was the game plan for the D inadequate for this game?
    Were the job interviews both coordinators went on during playoff week a distraction and hinderance to the preparation for this game?
    Considering the production the Bucs D was getting from an injured JPP contrasted with a healthy Nelson, why did JPP receive the overwhelming majority of snaps?
    Why did Bucs coaches call a blitz at the end when blitzes haven’t worked against Stafford all year?
    Unless I missed it, I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation to any of these questions.

  23. SPARKY Says:

    Alan Bucs fan, the answers are yes, yes, hoping the old guy has one more play in him, and finally, if I surprise them with a blitz and it works, I will look brilliant and get a head coaching job. In hindsight if Bowles knew what he knows now, he could of worked harder the week of the Rams game instead of worrying about a new job.

  24. SlyPirate Says:

    Dooley … THANK YOU

    For some reason, Joe can’t recall the first half of this game and puts the loss on the defense. The defense shut down the Rams until the final drive. The Bucs win if the offense does ANYTHING in the first half.

  25. gus georgiou Says:

    23 has been bad since he got here. Can’t tackle, cover his man and gets beat all the time. As long as the Bucs keep putting him out there, our defensive secondary will be weak!

  26. Dooley Says:


    My bad on the score typo, fingers going faster than my brain, but the fact remains both sides of the ball were in position to do more to change the outcome of that game before it came down to the wire, but we can’t act like 3 points in the first half of a football contest is adequate production with Tom Brady under center and the talent we still had on hand in spite of injuries. Does that mean our D had the responsibility of shutting the Rams out?

    Offensively, could we have controlled our tempo in the first half better? Sure, could the defense have not committed the terribly timed penalties they did in the 2nd half that kept them on the field longer? absolutely, but to try to sum the game up scapegoating one side of the ball w/o mentioning the failures in the other 2 phases of the game is just not an accurate recollection of what transpired from the opening kickoff to the last whistle.

  27. Vinny from Vermont Says:

    As has been alluded to here, the coaching (along with questionable play on both sides of the ball) has been a significant contributor to all the losses against the Saints and Rams.

    Bruce Arians was a good HC (compared to the average NFL HC), however, I would like to point out that top tier Head Coaches somehow find a way to win against difficult matchups, especially when you have major talent on both sides of the ball.

    Since his 1st matchup wins against the Saints and Rams in Sept of 2019, he has not won a single regular season matchup against either of these teams. That’s 10 straight regular season matchup losses if my stats are correct!!

    If Todd Bowles wants to put his stamp on this team, figure out what it’s going to take to beat these teams…THEN…go out and execute the game plans like you did for Super Bowl LV.

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    If not for FOUR fumbles by the Rams, that game would’ve been a blow out of epic proportions.

    Bad defense? CHECK!
    Bad offense? CHECK!
    Bad special teams? CHECK!
    Bad coaching? CHECK!

  29. DBS Says:

    If only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Just like the Bucs made mistakes the Rams did too. 0-0. Tie game. Everyone from the USA to Africa knew who was getting the ball in crunch time and who had to be covered like a blanket.

  30. DBS Says:

    If, close and all is over. One person made the call. Gambled and lost. Live by the Blitz die by the Blitz. Now he is the Head Coach. Good Lock.

  31. Alanbucsfan Says:


    Does that mean our D had the responsibility of shutting the Rams out?

    Not shutout but hold them to 10-13 points. Bucs made adjustments in 2nd half that improved their performance and the turnovers certainly were the main factor in Bucs’ comeback- but giving up 20 points in 1st 1/2 of a playoff game is never acceptable and is the result of poor preparation, poor practicing, inadequate coaching or all 3.
    I think it was distraction induced poor preparation and poor practicing.

  32. Mike Johnson Says:

    Cooper Cup made the Bucs look like a HS football team in the championship game. He was like a Marvel comic book character doing what he wanted to do when he wanted to. He made us look real bad. Better find an answer for him this season championship. Just tellin it like it is.

  33. Mike Says:

    That Suh personal foul was crippling too. And so foolish on his part

  34. Listnfrmafar Says:

    DefRules, you can’t have it both ways. In the Bill’s game last year Offense scored to quickly and D got tired. Rams game their defense forced Bucs O to be one dimentional. They were scoring at will. NEVERTHELESS the O with one starting to WR and a limping right tackle and center brought the game back to 0-0. Momentum was on the Bucs side, all the D had to do was hold the Rams for 28 seconds. Blame coaching, ST’s whomever you want but O scored 27 points and it doesn’t matter how they did it.

  35. Craig Says:

    The offense last season was prolific in its sameness.

    Run on first down
    Try to go deep on second down
    Try for first down on third down.

    Rinse and repeat

    The defense needs to get back to basics and the roster needed better depth.

    I hope Bowles’ screaming voice is well rested, if he wants to prove he is head coach material.

  36. Dooley Says:


    So how’s holding them to 10-13 points factor in to the offense not scoring a touchdown(but kicking 2 of 3 FGs for 6 points) for the first 42 minutes of the game? I think we can both agree, that both our offense and defense can do a much better job playing complimentary football heading in to 2022. Whether it be the offense jumping out to a lead, the D has to protect it and not blow it. When the offense is struggling or our defense is forcing 3 & outs and turnovers, it’s up to the offense to reward those efforts with points on our side scoreboard.

  37. matthew veal Says:

    Outside of Brady this is the most important article / topic of tge year imo. Good work Joe

    Imo these are about the trenches. JL and our coaches has the offensive line covered. They are the best. No worries. D

    Defensive is harder. I like the drafted players but nothing is proven. 1 good free agent, seems like it’s not going to be enough. But the TE situation complicates it.

    Just hoping the young dl dudes are a big upgrade. That’s a bit much to expect.

    Fingers crossed.

  38. steele Says:

    Rams, Saints. Circle them on the calendar. Get really pissed off and get it done, boys.

  39. BillyBucco Says:

    We have the players to win these games now.
    We had the players last year too.
    Can’t blame the defense for a 9-0 loss.

    Can’t blame just the secondary for hardly any pressure.
    Can’t blame the offense for a wide open Kupp on the last play.

    I believe beating the Saints is what catapulted us to a Super Bowl.
    Belief is the key.
    They have it, we don’t.