Bucs Offense Looks Uglier From The Numbers

September 25th, 2022

Sputtering offense.

The Bucs offense has been sluggish, to be polite, the first two weeks of the season. Can that change today?

Just eye-balling the offense you can tell something is off. Is it too easy to say the Bucs miss foot-rubbing tight end Rob Gronkowski? Is it because the wide receivers can’t stay on the field? Or is it a new offensive line, save for Tristan Wirfs?

Rich Hribar of Sharp Football Analysis broke down numbers that would have Bucs fans freaking out if Mike Sullivan or Marcus Arroyo were running the offense.

* 26.2% of Tom Brady’s pass attempts have come on first down, the lowest rate in the league.

There is a reason for this: Bucs receivers are decimated by injuries and the backups have played like USFL rejects. At least Playoff Lenny can produce. Additionally, with the offensive line new/hurt, the best way to get your 45-year old quarterback broken is to pass 50 times a game.

* 16.9% of the Tampa Bay rushing attempts have resulted in a first down or touchdowns, 29th in the league.

Either the new guys on the line are overrated in their run-blocking abilities, or defenses know the Bucs will run and are ready for them.

What do you think are the chances that slimy Saints head coach/defensive coordinator Dennis Allen told his defense last week, “The Bucs like to run up the middle on first down.”

* The Buccaneers have turned 17.9% of their first and second down plays into a first down or touchdown, the lowest rate in the league through two weeks.

Former NFL suit Michael Lombardi on his podcast, “GM Shuffle,” likes to say that the best way to get an offense to hum is to pretend you are in the CFL and avoid third downs. Stathead and handicapper Warren Sharp harps on this a lot with statistical evidence.

Well, it’s hard to convert first and second downs into a new series of downs running the ball, and even harder when your running game is plodding.

Last week Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich claimed the offense was improving on a lot of things. When Joe asked him to name some, Leftwich said he liked how his offense is getting a “hat on a hat.”

He’s not wrong there. But at least to the casual observer, little else is working well.

42 Responses to “Bucs Offense Looks Uglier From The Numbers”

  1. teacherman777 Says:

    I want more screen passes.

    Screens to Leonard Fournette so he can punish CBs.

    Lets se Ko Kieft on a screen pass. A 6 ft 5 FB running at a CB?


    And more screens to Darden and Miller.

    Lets use their pass rush against them.

  2. MonkeyMan Says:

    Play Rudolf for christ sake

  3. SufferingSince76 Says:

    As long as they’re getting it done, that’s all that matters. If this team ever gets healthy, look out.

  4. Kody Says:

    Teacherman –

    Totally agree. Our O is and has been way too predictable for far too long. The run up the gut on 1st down is so expected, it’s a bad joke by now. Would love to see a LOT more screens, end arounds, fake end arounds, jet sweeps, fake jet sweeps, and reverses. You know, really mix it up. Utilize Miller’s explosive speed. Get White going in there. White really needs to shine his rookie year. Same with Ko; hell yeah, make him run the ball as FB.

    With practically all our starting WRs out today, and maybe Lenny, too, guys like Miller, White and Ko have to have a HUGE game today. Hopefully they come through!

  5. DungyDance Says:

    I like screens too, but Leftwich never ever ever calls them. With the line till dinged up, a lot of last week is probably coming again. Lenny is awesome but he’s getting WAY too many carries. He’s going to get worn out or injured if we keep up that pace.

  6. Tim Says:

    Am I the only one that notices that we run up the gut EVERY first down??? If every team knows that, we won’t do too well, will we? Notice that this lack of creativity happens the first year after Arians retires. Hmmm…

  7. Listnfrmafar Says:

    All of the above. Wr’s stink, oline rookies, no receiving TE and predictable. You can get away with being predictable if you.have the talent to back it up. EVERY Bucs fan, DC and defensive players know Lenny is running up the middle of 1st down. Other than the Pat’s who have no clue who their OC is, I would take any other OC in the league over BL.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘What do you think are the chances that slimy Saints head coach/defensive coordinator Dennis Allen told his defense last week, “The Bucs like to run up the middle on first down”.’

    Last year I would’ve agreed with you Joe; this year, not so much.

    Bucs ran ‘up the middle’ (say over or between the guards) on 6 of 28 total 1st down plays in the Dallas game (21.4%). We ran over the tackles on another 3 plays (10.7%) and we ran end/outside on another 8 plays (28.6%). We passed on 10 plays (35.7%) plus had 1 kneeldown (3.6%).

    Numbers were considerably different in the Saints’ game. Bucs ran ‘up the middle’ (over or between the guards) on 10 of 26 total 1st down plays in the Saints’ game (38.5%). We ran over the tackles on another 4 plays (15.4%) and we ran end/outside on another 4 plays (15.4%). We passed on 6 plays (23.1%) plus had 2 kneeldowns (7.7%).

    So over those 2 games, Bucs ran ‘over the middle’ 16 times out of the 54 first down plays that they had (29.6%). And it was much more significant in the Saints game (10 times) tjhan it was in the Cowboys game (6 times). But the reverse was also true … Bucs ran around the end much more in the Dallas game (8 times) than they did in the New Orleans game (4 times). Maybe they found a weakness out there?

  9. mg Says:

    just win baby

  10. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Can’t make this shat up. Around the NFL shatting on BA, calling him the old grandpa that shows up and says whatever he wants. Thanks Bruce, sure could use ME13 today. Sometimes as sad as it may be you have to out an old dog down. Lose this distraction.

  11. Listnfrmafar Says:

    DR, to your point, RAN on first downs. When you say off tackles were any of those up the middle that bounced off tackle?

  12. Lt. Dan Says:

    Currently 2-0 after two away games against two highly rated defenses. We are down numerous O-linemen and several starting WR’s – yet we are 2-0 after two away games against two highly rated defenses. R-E-L-A-X.

  13. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Only one stat that matters. 2-0

  14. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Lt. Dan, GB’s D is ranked 7th, Dallas 9th and Saints 21st. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  15. Lt. Dan Says:

    @ Listn – GB played Minnesota and Chicago (two juggernauts?) while New Orleans and Dallas had the Bucs anemic (for now) offense on the slate. #Bubblenotburst.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Listfrmafar … Regarding your question: I can’t tell from the way the information is provided. IMO it really doesn’t matter though. I’m confident that BL tries to create a game plan that capitalizes on opponents’ weaknesses then adjusts accordingly as the game progresses. It hasn’t been pretty for the past 2 games, but it HAS been effective. In our case, Bucs’ offense has played some pretty decent COMPLEMENTARY FOOTBALL. Let’s hope that works today, because right now the Bucs’ defense (and especially them creating turnovers) have been critical to our success.

  17. Bucfan Says:

    I wish Leftwich success in getting a head coaching job next year. Perhaps the Bucs can hire a real O/C that can mix up the play calling a bit.

  18. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Lt. Dan/ #bubbleboy, Bucs played the 17th & 24th ranked O. Dal played 7th & 23rd Bucs, NO played 15th & 23rd. No so Bubbleicious!

  19. PassingThru Says:

    The offense will remain constipated until the receiving options and O Line improve. This isn’t rocket science.

  20. Listnfrmafar Says:

    DR, I would agree with you regarding Dallas, but NO looked very same o, same o to me. I also believe NO was protect Brady at all costs and shut down Winsten. Not sure how you can game plan when you don’t know who is playing. This will most likely be same as NO protect at all costs. The run D is concerning but I wouldn’t be surprised if GB’s first play is play action streak down the sidelines. Roger’s can’t chase the GOAT handing it off and he has a pretty BIG ego.

  21. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Until Bucs get full receivers package back on the field you can presume offense will be plodding , so why not make your D the best it can be?? So come correct Jason Licht on your horrid mistake signing Hicks and sign SUH!!

  22. SufferingSince76 Says:

    BA had nothing to do Evans getting tossed. He doesn’t control Mike. Give your hatred a rest.

  23. Hodad Says:

    I think we tried only one toss sweep to Lenny last week, and it gained about 6 yards. Someone should tell Lefty it’s allowed in the NFL to try and round around the defense more then once a game. With those numbers BL won’t be interviewing for any HC jobs next year.

  24. Goatfarmer Says:

    Game 1 the Bucs didn’t punt in the first half. Did. Not. Punt.

    Gained over 350 yards for the game and dominated the Cows DL. Not plodding. Just not good in the red zone.

    Saints game was a whole different story, and yeah, the combination of factors Joe mentions are yuge. So Tom and Byron need to agree on a fix.

  25. Barbosa Says:

    Wilder to the left. Wilder to the middle. Wilder to the right. Win with defense.

  26. #8 Says:

    Beasley goes nuts today.
    db12’s 10. Bucs 24.

  27. BucsNoles Says:

    Until this team can get healthy, I dont care how they win.
    Just win the game and move forward.

  28. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Unfortunately, we won 2 games with running up the middle……I expect BL to continue that….
    I hope he realizes our D won those games.

    We need to use the backs & TEs more in the passing game.

  29. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    When your offense goes from averaging 30 per game in the previous season to only 16 per game this season , you are plodding.

  30. rrsrq Says:

    Tyler and OJ are gone, but I would feel a little better with then in the line up, familiarity, even though OJ didn’t do much when Gronk was out, but he would’ve gotten the reps with Tom

  31. Beeej Says:

    Well, 18 of 24 first downs were a run, and considering Lenny had 24 carries for 65 yards, they were expecting it

  32. Winny Testaverde Says:

    The term offensive genius is thrown around a lot in the league. Pretty sure Leftwich will never be considered a genius. There’s a reason he wasn’t hired as a head coach when his stock was at an all time high following the 2020
    Championship Season.

  33. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Suffering @ go back and watch the entire video, BA started the trash talking, why do you think he was warned by the NFL?

  34. b4l Says:

    It’s going to be a lot better this week

  35. D-Rok Says:

    We would really benefit from more screens until we get our WR’s back and get our downfield passing game in a rhythm.



  36. Winny Testaverde Says:

    ListenFromMomsCar…still with the BA agony stuff? You remind me of FanBoy Florio whose “breaking news” is Brady breaking not one but two Microsoft Tablets during the game. You both are battling for an Edward R. Murrow Award for best investigative reporting!

  37. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs ran effectively against Dallas. Saints have a tough D and kind of have our # – but we still ran well enough against them to control some clock and keep them off of Brady…..

    “You are what your record says you are”

    2-0 vs good teams in our division – on the road.

    Keep doing what’s working. Run the damn ball! Pound that Rock! – Unleash all 3 of our RBs today and scheme them the ball.

    The cavalry of Evans, Godwin, Gage, Beasley and Julio should all be available and hopefully healthy targets within 1-3 weeks. Once we have all our passing weapons on the field – THEN the passing game will “open up” naturally……..


  38. Goatfarmer Says:

    BA must have beaten Liszt up or stolen his girlfriend in a younger time. Such irrational hate for a man universally regarded as one of the best coaches in history. But of course the Patriots fan who follows Brady is more of an expert than all the players, coaches and other NFL professionals who earn their living in the sport.

  39. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Pickgrin@ Brady is now 6-0 against Dallas, Saints was a different story. Winatesricle@ I was simply rebutting Suffering@ post, no need to get your testies in a bunch. Watch the video in its entirety, FACT JACK!

  40. Rod Munch Says:

    So, basically, those of us that said with Arians yelling in the ear of Leftwich to open things up, he’s just going to run up the middle on every 1st down – it appears that to be the case.

  41. Buc king Says:

    Mike’s been banged up…him getting a week off will not be a horrible thing…
    I think we are still better then Greenway with out him and I don’t down play Mike the best receiver in bucs history n top 10 reviever kin nfl history in my eyes.

  42. BucU Says:

    Julio ruled our AGAIN for today. If ya can’t play you have no value in my book. Should’ve put him on injured reserve. This is ridiculous.