First Half Offensive Woes

September 27th, 2022

Bucs OC Byron Leftwich.

Joe knows the loss to the Packers has a lot of fans struggling. Joe feels your pain. If not for preparing the crib for Hurricane Beckles, Joe would be knee-deep in a bottle right now.

But be careful, says popular national sports TV and radio personality and columnist Adam Schein. Looking at the Bucs, Schein thinks injuries and health are masking potentially fatal flaws.

Don’t so easily buy the notion that the only thing holding the Bucs back is health, Schein wrote.

The Buccaneers’ only real concern is getting healthy

Um, I’m not quite sure about that, so it’s fiction. … … Those absences cannot be overlooked. But the interior portion of the offensive line is a mess, increasing pressure in the air game and sapping the Bucs’ ground attack.

Also, Tom Brady — yes, I know he’s the G.O.A.T. — hasn’t exactly looked like himself to start the season. He kind of looks like, well, a 45-year-old quarterback. Though you’d never expect a 23rd-year veteran to take a delay of game on a crucial two-point conversion. That was as surprising as it was mind-numbing. The Buccaneers (2-1) have yet to score a first-half touchdown this season.

Next up: A home game against a Chiefs team smarting from a disappointing loss of their own.

That stat on Tampa Bay unable to cross the goal line in the first half this season took Joe’s breath away.

That pattern suggests offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is either not preparing a proper gameplan, or teams are throwing him curveballs he doesn’t see coming.

Hey, Joe used to get on Raheem Morris for having awful gameplans back in the day (Morris, however, often had excellent late-game adjustments). So if Joe used to rap the fingers of past coaches for slow starts, Joe has to be fair and call out Leftwich for the same.

Zero touchdowns in the first half of all three games with Tom Brady at quarterback? That’s on you, Mr. Leftwich.

19 Responses to “First Half Offensive Woes”

  1. B. Mikal Says:

    Thank you

  2. SirClicksAlot Says:

    That delay of game was on the center. Brady clearly called for the ball at 1 second left.

    This offense is built around the WR position. When the wideouts can’t get open and wrong the routes incorrectly- looking at you Permian- this offense will struggle. I know it’s reaction Monday, but let’s give BL a chance to turn this around with a healthy wr core that’s essential to the offensive scheme. He did engineer the best offenses in Bucs history after all.

  3. Waterboy Says:

    To Joe, that is a pattern that suggests Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is either not preparing a proper gameplan each week, or teams are throwing him curveballs he didn’t see coming.

    They had a top offense with Leftwich as OC even before Brady arrived in Tampa so I don’t know that I buy into the idea that he’s suddenly not preparing a proper game plan. I think a combination of turnovers killing drives and not having their top 3 WR’s, starting center, and starting LT are all contributing factors.

  4. unbelievable Says:

    Plenty of blame to go around:

    – Lineman missing blocks / getting penalties
    – Receivers and tight ends dropping balls
    – And yes, plenty of blame for Leftwich and his predictable, unimaginable playcalling.

    Been saying this since 2019: he doesn’t scheme people open in space. It relies on the receivers just being better than the defender who is guarding them.

  5. steele Says:

    I agree with Unbelievable Says. It’s a lot of things, but at the top it’s Leftwich (therefore Bowles). A 23-yr old Brady would not look much different than this Brady, with this offense with its many issues. I am really tired of Hainsey getting a golden boy free pass for the delay of game, which he is refusing to even partially admit. I can’t wait until Jensen returns.

    I am sure that if and when they are closer to fully healthy, they’ll do better. They’ll stomp on lesser teams, prompting kneejerk “Super Bowl team” praise. We will not know what this team is until we get closer to the end, when it counts the most.

  6. JimbobBucfan Says:

    This year we have a new team to a large degree. We have retooled to a large extent. We have new head coach. Everyone is getting their feet on the ground at this point early in the season. The injury bug has bitten, too.

    Do y’all recall the first few weeks when Brady came along two years ago? People were writing the GOAT off. Pundits and a certain percentage of fans were all over Bruce Arians and/or Jason Licht as well.

    By the way, the mighty Chiefs are also going to be coming off a loss for this game. It should be another potential slobber knocker as far as I’m concerned.

    Go Bucs!

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Unbelievable nailed it … there’s ‘plenty of blame to go around’. And yet, we’re ONLY 3 games into the season. And oh ya, we’re sporting a 2-1 record and sitting stop the NFC South.

    It’s obvious that our defense is playing lights-out, and that our offense is struggling. Being #1 defensively is awesome, but I (like Todd Bowles me thinks) am hesitant to get too giddy too early. We’ve played 3 teams who have been struggling offensively themselves (Cowboys ranked #32, Saints #22 & Packers #27 in Points Scored).

    But those same 3 teams are doing reasonably well defensively. Cowboys beat the Giants last night 23-16 to go 2-1 on the season, and probably rank #9 defensively. Saints are 1-2 & rank #19 defensively (but they played us really tough as always), while the Packers rank #6 on defense.

    So our Bucs’ offense has had to deal with 3 tough defensive teams thus far. And we’ve had to do it with a revamped offensive line featuring 4 new starters from the last 2 seasons (3 of whom are making their first starts). Our WR & TE groups have many new pieces (with several dinged up pretty good). Our 45-year-old QB has been ‘distracted’ this season for several reasons, and we’ve got a new HC to round out the changes.

    All the injuries & all the new starters on offense thus far is bound to have an impact, and it has.

    o Bucs scored slightly over 30 PPG average in 2021 & 2020 ; this season we’re averaging 17 PPG.
    o Bucs averaged 23.8 first downs per game in 2021 (and 22.8 in 2020); this season we’re well down from that at 16.7 first downs per game average thus far.
    o Bucs averaged 47.7% 3rd/4th down conversion rate in 2021 (and 44.4% in 2020); this season we’re well down from that at 28.3% thus far.

    Personally I’m happy to be 2-1 given the injuries that we’ve had & the opponents who we’ve faced. It’s unrealistic to expect so many backups to play like starters. We obviously need better play-calling AND better execution from our backups to stay on a winning track until we can get our starters healthy again & back in the lineup. No excuses; buckle up.

  8. Kody Says:

    I think the far bigger problem was the defensive woes. One their first 3 possessions, the Packers cut through our defense like it was a slice of Swiss cheese. Yeah, our D totally turned it around in the second half, but we can’t get off to anymore slow starts like that. We had the same problem last year, we were often slow to start and then came really alive in the second half. Not sure why that is, but gotta fix it. Gotta start each game on fire!!! Gotta be the top tier team we are right from the first kickoff!!!

  9. Bob in valrico Says:

    Slow starts problems are not just new this season. We experienced them last year also when we faced good defenses or good defensive gameplans. Too be sure execution can contribute to the problem. As good Fournette, this offense
    has to diversify and involve other players in the game. Joe has written that Lenny
    probably will wear down at some point this season with his current workload. If
    BL doesn’t start involving our current players with new plays that can actually surprise a defense. IMO, unless you have a player like Kupp or Godwin, 4 yard
    passes are hard to convert to first downs. Some of these plays are where the receiver stops and presents a target and also becomes a stationary target for the waiting defender. I am not sure anybody on the team has the ability to
    catch the ball and squirt into an opening like Godwin from a standstiil. The line has to hold to give Brady time to let get past first down marker.

  10. Bucfan Says:

    In the early drives the Bucs were not agressive and looked content to play for a field goal attempt! That is a good concept when a team has a 4th quarter lead but NOT to set the tone for the game. Stop giving BL credit for a good offense. BA & the addition of Brady are what woke up the offense. Going to be a loooong season if BL sticks to running it up the gut on first down!

  11. Rmbuc Says:

    Last time we had an offensive TD in the first half was against the Eagles on Wild card weekend. Sad but true.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We kill most of our drives with a poor running game and poor timing…..our runs and screens get stuffed…..defenses seem to always know what’s coming…..

    I think our Oline is weaker than most think.

    We have played 3 really good defenses….we’ll see what’s up when we get some receivers back.

  13. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The only play that BL called that sucked was the stupid gadget play that lost 12 yards after Darden’s 25 yard catch.
    The 2 fumbles by Perriman and Cage cost the Bucs probably 6-10 points.

  14. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Don’t call a run up the middle on first & 20, Don’t burn your timeouts, Don’t call 3 straight pass plays on your own goaline, Don’t call a double reverse pass during a positive drive with backups on the field, cover a rookie wr, use a second back, play your starters if they can go in a potential NFC tiebreaker game. Ya see where I’m going here?

    I will say one thing negative about TB12, he seems to be over with coaching this team and let’s the guys that get paid to do it do their jobs. Funny every time Bucs went hurry up and Brady was calling the plays the offense was clicking. HMMM

  15. gotbbucs Says:

    It’s truly amazing how well the defense has played considering the scores of these ball games.
    Look at what happened late in the game against Dallas and New Orleans. When they can play with a lead they are savages. Leftwich and Brady need to figure out how to score points, and fast. This offensive output is absolutely inexcusable, I don’t care who is on the field. Every team has injuries, but not every team has Brady. Brady picked the Packers apart in up tempo, so let Brady call the game on the field more often. Tempo neutralizes pass rush, so wait until the defense gets a package on the field that you can exploit and don’t let them sub in and out.
    Brady has been playing for about a quarter century and been to ten Super Bowls, Leftwich has been calling plays for about five years, who do you trust?

  16. Jor Jor Binks Says:

    Leftwich’s Offense this year thus far has been about as bad as his 2009 performance against the Giants under Raheem “the Dream” Morris when he got benched by (almost every team seemingly) Journeyman Josh Joshson 🤯🤦‍♂️

    If you don’t know about the putrid Offense and QB play that occurred in that 2009, 24-0 beat down, you don’t know what you’re happily missing!

  17. Jgar Says:

    Tom Brady used to get mad and then make defenses pay. Now he gets mad and thinks, I should have retired. I hope he sticks it out, because he gives the BUCS a chance for another Super Bowl. Hopefully he will get something going with Beasley who is in the twilight of his career when it come to receivers at 34. Go Bucs!

  18. Goatfarmer Says:

    Kody – math isn’t your strong suit apparently.

    14 points. That’s what the defense allowed the Puckers. Aaron Rodgers team. The three time MVP, purported other best QB of all time besides Brady. We held that team to 14 points and despite the Bucs offense giving the ball up like a crackhoe at Mardi Gras, they held fast from the second quarter on. That was a stunning defensive performance.

    Yet you complain about the defense. You think the Bucs should be able to shut everyone out? This is the NFL. The difference between the best and the worst is a fine line.

    You must really hate Sundays.

  19. Packer Informant Says:

    @Goatfarmer Aaron Rodgers is a FOUR time NFL MVP. Not 3..