Five Things

October 3rd, 2022

Photo courtesy of

Ugly last night. So many warts exposed. Let’s get to it and harp on a few.

Did The Bucs Defense Get Exposed Or Was This One Bad Game?

Look, Joe is not about to say the Bucs defense is bad, but man did it get slapped around by the Chiefs. In the first half, Pat Mahomes looked unstoppable. So did Travis Kelce.

It was like the Bucs never played these guys before, forget the Bucs had success against them.

Aside from two years ago when the Chiefs dropped 17 points on the Bucs in the first quarter and when the Saints led the Bucs 31-0 at halftime, the last time Joe saw an opponent just impose its will on a Bucs defense was the infamous Tennessee-Ready game. That’s when lousy Lovie Smith and his defense appeared fully blindsided by then-rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Oregon spread-option offense.

What made that loss even more galling was that Lovie allegedly had been scouting Mariota. The way the Bucs defense played in the Tennessee-Ready game, it was like the defense never practiced a snap against a spread-option or a running QB.

That’s where the similarities to yesterday end.

The Bucs have played Mahomes and Kelce and succeeded. Won a Super Bowl over them. Yet yesterday the Bucs never had an answer for Mahomes until it was too late and Kelce went nuts on them in the first half.

Joe wants to call this an aberration. But to prove that the Bucs need to start shutting down offenses again the way they did through the first three games. And here comes Mariota and the Dixie Chicks on Sunday.

Free The Offense

It’s pretty clear through damn near 25 percent of the season, the Bucs cannot run the ball. The Bucs gained — are you ready for this — three yards on the ground last night. Three!

Now part of this was the Bucs had to abandon running because they got behind so much and so quickly. The other was, well, the Bucs were moving the ball through the air.

Last week Bucs coach Todd Bowles vowed that backup running backs would be fed the ball, in part because Playoff Lenny was getting run into the ground … (and partly because Playoff Lenny had a terrible yards-per-carry average?)

Well, Rachaad White had six yards on three carries. Playoff Lenny had negative-three yards on three carries. Sneak Vaughn? He was MIA. He was on the active roster but never got a touch.

Per Father Dungy, by way of Chris Simms, both of NBC Sports, we learned Bowles doesn’t want to pass that much. Yet the Bucs cannot run. When the passing game was finally unshackled yesterday, the Bucs moved up and down the field almost as easily as the Chiefs.

Whether Bowles likes it or not, his first job is to win games. This offense is built to throw. So Bowles should follow what the talent dicates on offense. And the way to win most games with his personnel is to air it out.

We’ll see if Bowles still tries to ground and pound or if he follows his talent and lets them win games for him.

Health is Critical

With Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones and Russell Gage finally all on the field together, it demonstrated what this offense has the capability of doing. But can they stay healthy?

As Joe and most fans sort of suspected, Julio is a walking injury report. If Julio is able to play in 10 games this year that will be about right. He got hurt last night. But dang, if you hope to be a playoff team, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to bank on one of your best receivers?

The offense stunk the first three weeks partly because of who was not available. The offense got jump-started yesterday because of who was available.

Can the Bucs bank on most of these guys come November and December?

That’s the problem bringing in guys like Akiem Hicks and Julio. You just don’t know when they can get on the field of play.

Tom Brady Is Not Over The Hill

Playing behind a run-up-the-middle-on-first-down offense, almost started to show his age. Joe suspected it was that Brady missed foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski.

Alas, Brady showed again last night that when you let the Bucs’ talented passing attack throw, Brady is still quite good. He connected on 39 of 52 throws for 384 yards, three touchdown passes and no picks.

Does that seem like an over-the-hill old man to you?

Next Three Games Offer Healing Time

Last night Joe was talking to Russell Gage and he noted that the offense, when it focused on passing, gave fans a taste of what it can be when everyone gets healthy.

Gage said the Bucs just have too much talent to look like the Chicago Bears, southside edition.

Joe believes the Bucs do have a shot of getting healed up while winning the next three games against Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Carolina. All three are vulnerable.

Joe just hopes Bowles allows offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to be aggressive. This team has demonstrated it is lethal when turned loose.

45 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Arn platz Says:

    Run defense totally exposed. Sign Suh. Stop the bleeding

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Whether Bowles likes it or not, his first job is to win games.’

    I can’t believe you wrote that Joe. Do you honestly believe that a coach of Todd Bowles experience doesn’t understand that? No, the real question is ‘HOW to win’ and he doesn’t seem to share your belief that you win by ‘Pass pass pass until your arm falls off’. In case you didn’t notice, neither does Andy Reid and he’s got a pretty danged good QB too.

  3. Joe Says:

    I can’t believe you wrote that Joe. Do you honestly believe that a coach of Todd Bowles experience doesn’t understand that?

    Joe learned long ago to never underestimate the power of ego in the NFL.

    Bowles seems like a really cool guy and a decent fellow, but re-read the previous sentence.

  4. August 1976 Buc Says:

    It is nice when you are getting 5+ yards a run in the first half, like the Chiefs were, kind of helps out the offense.

    A very common sense question by Collinsworth about they were not jamming Kelsey at the line?

    I ask the same thing, why did the defense just let Kelsey run free and make simple pitch and catches?

    Just not smart football by the defense, and getting man handled to give up the rushing yards like they did. KC had like 168 yards rushing.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  5. steele Says:

    The Bucs D was exposed. The holes in the roster, DL, was exposed. The new guys, exposed. Bowles exposed—poor on every level, tactically and physically. Forget the past. They beat the Chiefs with key guys like (yes I’ll say it) Suh and JPP still playing at a high level.

    No, there is nothing wrong with smashmouth running—IF you have the personnel and the commitment to do it. In fact, it is essential to establish smashmouth so that Brady doesn’t get exposed to pass rush hell, and doesn’t have to desperately save the game coming from behind. This OL isn’t there, and won’t be until Jensen is back. Lenny isn’t great, and there is no game changer at running back. They can smashmouth on lesser teams, but they need to be able to do it against the top teams.

  6. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Great points, Joe. I think it’s reductive by some fans to say we need to “pass more.” A better way to say it is that we need to pass AND run more efficiently. This means mixing up pass and run on early downs, so you’re not predictable. Brady should not be throwing 40x a game. No QB should be let alone an older QB with a beat up line. It comes down to us being behind the chains and expecting Brady to bail us out on third and long. It’s not sustainable.

    The Chiefs were a perfect example of efficiency. They ran the ball and passed the ball effectively because they weren’t predictable. They mixed up pass and run on offense so well that it kept our D on its heels. On the other side, defenses fear no such thing. They know what’s coming.

    No, I don’t want Brady to air it out 50x a game. We can still be a passing offense without that much volume.

    Also, put some damn respect on my boy Donnie Smith’s name. Brady looked comfortable knowing he had his blindside protector back. Frank Clark didn’t do anything against Donnie!

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    KC is a really good football team and Mahomes, I hate saying it, is fun to watch. I suspect they might’ve been carrying a chip on their shoulder for this game.

    I do think our run defense has taken a hit without Suh and they were exploited.

    I don’t care what you say Joe, they HAVE to find that running game. The threat of running the ball opens up the pass. And just imagine with all the talent we have in the passing game what that means. It’ll help keep Brady upright too.

    In all, we gave them a running start with what fellow fans?…a turnover. And the #1 cause for losing games is….

    We better get more stout on defense against the run, and conversely, find our rushing attack if we want to beat good teams.

  8. Displaced Floridian Says:

    Hard to defend against those Houdini sky hook throws of his. After 4 games now i find it difficult to believe we will get this thing back on the road. 2-2 i don’t know how.

  9. LVMYBUCS Says:

    Luv my boys but we were doomed as soon as Bowles took over. I mean Leftwitch is just not a good OC sorry but he isn’t and Bowles needs to know his place. He is good D coach so stay there,u tried to be a head coach before and look what happened. Know ur lane and stay in it dude. Leftwitch please dude go away.

  10. HC Grover Says:

    This debacle is the result of the perfectly executed Bowles Game Plan.

  11. LVMYBUCS Says:

    We should have learned a lesson with Richard Sherman. Stop bringing in these done players.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Displaced Floridian … ‘Hard to defend against those Houdini sky hook throws of his.’

    Excellent point. Mahomes really did look like a Houdini on some of those 1st half passes especially. Overhand, sidearm, underhand … it didn’t matter; he threw them all, and usually after scrambling around for several seconds. There’s not another QB in the NFL who can do that.

    Bucs desperately needed our pass rush to get to him, and it did for 3 sacks, but that’s not enough in his case. I suspect that by mixing up the run & pass so effectively (48% run-pass ratio), that our pass rush had to hesitate momentarily to make sure it wasn’t a run (Chiefs did an excellent job of disguising I thought, thus keeping us off-balance).

    Kudos to them; they were the better team yesterday. Bucs have a lot of work to do now to right the ship.

  13. Colonel Angus Says:

    Revenge game. When Mahomes is on, he is unbeatable. Win these next 3 and everything will be aight.

  14. BucU Says:

    Can we play the rest of the season on the road please? How utterly PATHETIC to lose 2 home games in a row. Glad I had to tape it because of work.
    Now I can delete it as soon as I get home.
    This team sucks quite frankly.

  15. Bobby M. Says:

    This is no news flash but the offense never comes alive until we go hurry up and Brady starts calling his own shots. Leftwich is a terrible OC….he did nothing in Arizona, nothing with Winston, the offense struggles to get going even with a loaded roster of offensive talent. If Leftwich was good he would have been hired by another team. He’s been passed over by Arizona, passed over the last two years of hiring and the Bucs even opted to go with Bowles over Leftwich to replace Arians. He’s like the OC for the Chiefs….everyone knows Reid and Mahomes are the reasons for success there.

  16. Kentucky Buc Says:

    The team was not ready to play. Mostly the defense. Apparently the trip to Miami was a vacation.

  17. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Absolutely exposed from the top down. Bowels had NO answer for a team that relies on one receiver. Everything this team does on both sides of the ball is very predictable. Congrats on the NFC South title this season but don’t see deep in the playoffs. I guess it’s better than being a Baltimore fan and have that moron John Harbaugh as your coach, what a arse clown.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘When the passing game was finally unshackled yesterday, the Bucs moved up and down the field almost as easily as the Chiefs.’

    I get your point Joe, but the Bucs only ran SIX times the whole game. Look at just the first half:

    o First Bucs drive: 2 runs – 4 passes. Result: FG (3rd down pass complete but short).

    o Second Bucs drive: 1 run – 2 passes. Result: punt (3rd down pass complete but short).

    o Third Bucs drive: 0 runs – 6 passes. Result: TD (1st down pass to Evans in corner of end zone for TD)

    o Fourth Bucs drive: 0 runs – 1 pass attempt. Result: fumble (Brady fumbled & KC recovered at Bucs 20 yd line).

    o Fifth Bucs drive: 0 runs – 12 passes. Result: TD (Brady was 8-for-12 passing on that drive; helped by a 15-yd DPI on Chiefs midway in drive).

    That was the whole 1st half: grand total of 3 runs … ALL on 1st down, with only ONE gaining positive yardage (the 2 that lost yardage were both runs around the ends that fooled no one). The other 25 Bucs’ plays were passes. After that first drive, that scored a FG, we only ran it ONCE for the rest of the 1st half.

    And BTW, Bucs ran it 3 times in the 2nd half, ALL on the 2nd drive of the half that resulted in a TD ( RUSHING TD by White). So the run helped our cause, not hurt it.

    The friggin problem is that BL has zero idea how to effectively use the run game. Running Lenny around the ends worked in the Dallas game, and that’s it. Yet BL persists. It’s not about ‘unshackling’ the passing game (25 passes in 28 plays in the 1st half kinda tells me it was unshackled?). The problem is teaching our OC how to game plan and call plays to keep the opposing defense off-balance. He doesn’t have a clue I’m convinced. Strictly relies on Tom Brady’s arm to make his offense work. Very unimaginative.

  19. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    The Bucs should take a look at Jacques Patrick RB if available. He is big & knows how to move a pile. Pretty decent pass catcher also. Was with Bengals before being one of the last players cut.

  20. Dirty Bucs Says:

    I’m really tired of seeing all the negativity and the people talking about being exposed, and we should have done this or that with personnel, or the coaching is terrible, etc. You’re not a coach. This team is one of the best teams our Bucks have ever put on the field. These knee jerk reactions after EVERY game are ridiculous. Be fans. Be supportive. Stop with the BS.

  21. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Bowles is one best current Defensive minds in the game but he is being exposed by his play it safe run offense. We have the best trio WRs in the league and arguably the best QB, why does he insist to run the ball? Hopefully last night’s game changed his mind.

  22. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    Too many defensive minded HC’s are still living in the 90’s

  23. Kody Says:

    Bucs have terrible, terrible coaching. Terrible play calling.

    Great coaches know how to fire teams up, get them motivated, inspire them. I don’t see any fire in this team at all.

    All I see is ultra-conservative play-it-safe play calling. Nothing gutsy. Nothing creative.

    Same old same old game after game. Opposing teams read us like a book and know all our tricks because we don’t have any.

  24. PSL Bob Says:

    You’re absolutely right Joe. This team is built to pass. Bowles needs to stop pretending otherwise. When the passing game is in full gear, as it was last night, you can sneak in runs here and there and they will be effective. But, this o-line is just not built to run the ball. The Chiefs o-line, on the other hand, was kick ass. They outplayed our defensive front. Simple as that. We’re a good team but not a great team. We’re only an average team when we try to run the ball as much as we throw it. Let Brady do his thing!

  25. Cchead Says:

    JTS is not an NFL player. I have never seen an edge rusher this weak. He provides nothing to the defense, nothing. He runs around and does NOTHING. What a BUST.

  26. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    On a positive note, I think Mike Evans is playing the best ball of his career. He’s had some amazing catches this year that were just as difficult but not as flashy as those OBJ catches. Last night was amazing

  27. Show Me the TDs Says:

    White tackles just like he did in college. He drags people down. He is physically gifted, but seems to be trying to preserve his body. He should have cut Mahomes in half on the play where Mahomes was at the 2 yard line and blooped a TD into the end zone. Hit someone and they’ll quit dancing.

  28. Jersey Bucs Says:

    Any defense gets exposed when you can’t get home with your front four. This team hasn’t drafted an edge rusher worth anything since Chidi Ahanatou in ’93 and Marcus Jones in ’96. Nearly 30 years and we still our watching the likes of Noah Spence/JTS types masquerading as edge rushers. Get #9 off the field, play Antony Nelson at edge the majority of the snaps, get rid of anyone not playing or contributing and make some cap room to bring back Suh. Vea obviously can’t make a play without Suh being there. Colts don’t have as much talent on defense and they hammered the Chiefs last week…without their best defensive player!!! That was embarrassing last night, not unlike last years Saints game on Sunday night. Still got faith in that O-line, Licht?…because your offensive coordinator sure doesn’t.

  29. Bowles4President Says:

    Joe, your not wrong about the ego comment. And that’s no knock on Bowles. Every head coach in the big pro sports got the job because they had confidence, which requires a significant amount of self-belief/respect (aka – ego).

  30. teacherman777 Says:

    We can’t run because we can’t run-block.

  31. pewter941 Says:

    Run defense was way better with Suh

  32. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Another problem we have is not throwing past the sticks……to many behind the line to gain.

  33. Eckwood Says:

    Show me the TD ,,, like said before please replace White with Neal on most third downs ……….. White is just very heavy footed and honestly not all that gifted other than straight line speed
    1. Good Tackler – No
    2. Good in coverage – not really
    3. Good at shedding blocks – nope
    4. Good discipline – not really
    5. Real Good straight line speed – yes
    6. Big fat mouth – yes
    7. His own number 1 fan – yes

  34. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Do we really think that Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich has the skillset to be a Head COach and an offensive coordinator ? IF only we have coaches who uses their brain for creativity and knows how to win, the current Bucs right now should scare the heck of every other team.

  35. Kody Says:

    The 3 critical game-changing fumbles in the last three games killed us. Not to mention Brady’s strip suck. How do you teach players not to fumble?

  36. Craig Says:

    The Chiefs watched a lot of film and created a good game plan; the Bucs didn’t and there was no adjustment to counter the Chiefs.

    That is not how you win ball games.

    It becomes the second slow motion train wreck of the week, that makes it worse.

  37. Browsing from DC Says:

    Cowboys game: Ko was basically a FB and Lenny ran wild.

    Since then? Not so much. Glad he got into the passing game a little but he was really needed in the backfield or pulling/sealing off the line.

    No idea why BL abandoned using Ko so effectively after.Game 1 in Dallas.

  38. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    The bucs got out coached … Bring back B.A.

  39. Cobraboy Says:

    I think the D needs a cool nickname to reflect their bad-assery.

    How about “The 2nd-and-2 Krewe?”

  40. Cobraboy Says:

    What this team needs is Vince Penn as HC…;)

  41. Capt.Tim Says:

    1)Hall and JTS were exposed.
    2) cant run if you cant block. If we didnt have Tom Brady- we couldnt pass either. How many times was he sacked?
    3) health is Critical.
    4) Brady is still the greatest QB in the league
    5) we’ll see what the next 3 games offer. I think more of a struggle than we think. When you cant run, or stop the run- you arent a good football team

  42. firethecannons Says:

    I think we need to unleash the pass game whenever possible and get Cade Otton and Ko Kieft involved–how are they ever going to replace Gronk if they don’t get more game reps

  43. David Says:

    I hope they weren’t trying to run so much because Bowles ordered them too.
    I was under the impression with the new left side of the O line and a bunch of missing WRs, they needed to run more the first few games.

    They can run the ball very well if it’s not their priority. They are a passing team that can mix in some runs which then opens up play action. But they are passing team first and they need to come to grips with it

  44. Bellingham Bucs Fan Says:

    Turn off Leftwich’s headset for the remainder of the season and we’ve got a chance.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    SMB and Edwards were the only two members of the secondary that played with some nuts