Playing Without Pressure

November 18th, 2022

It’s possible the Bucs won’t play a truly high-pressure game the rest of this regular season.

Is that a good thing for the team? Joe can’t say, but it would be a somewhat rare thing.

At 5-5, the Bucs have a one-game lead in the miserable NFC South and a tiebreaker edge on second-place Atlanta. If Atlanta loses Sunday to the explosive Bears offense (that’s not a typo), then the Bucs could open a commanding division lead by Dec. 1., possibly never enduring a legitimate threat to them repeating as NFC South champs for the rest of the season.

Obviously, the Bucs must play hard and win games, but the point here is that they may not have to operate under the extreme stress that usually comes with December and January football. That stress can make a team tougher and better.

That’s how it went down during the 2020 Super Bowl season; the Bucs found their stride under pressure to make the postseason by winning four in a row after a 7-5 start.

Back in 2007, the Bucs clinched the NFC South crown with a 9-5 record and two games remaining.  Head coach Jon Gruden opted to rest players over the final two games and the Bucs lost in the opening round of the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants.

Chucky told Joe five years ago that one of his great Bucs regrets was not going all out to win those final regular season games. The team lost some of its edge, Chucky said.

Tom Brady has plenty of experience in New England dominating a weak division and staying laser-focused without another team breathing down his team’s neck.

Joe is counting on Brady bringing that wisdom and discipline to the Bucs next month. Or maybe it’s just better to hope another NFC South team starts playing well to at least push the Bucs to play their best.

40 Responses to “Playing Without Pressure”

  1. NEfan Says:

    The NFC is weak, though other teams arr making strategic moves to make their teams better. Bucs have a chance at
    at least the NFC Championship, it nice to see Licht take some I initiative to make the team stronger. If they make it to the SB (long shot) they will be out coached in the end.

  2. sasquatch Says:

    A little pressure would be better.

  3. Upstate NY Buc Fan Says:

    All I ask is that come out firing on all cylinders after this BYE. My son and I will be at that Cleveland game !! please no let down after the BYE like the Washington game last year, unfortunately went to that game also. GO BUCS..

  4. Dooley Says:

    Beg to differ, we’ve got to sweep NO, ATL, and split with Carolina. Also, plenty of little things the team has done better on both sides of the ball since snapping that 3 game skid, so every game should be looked at a litmus test for this Bucs team. There better be some pressure coming from the leaders on this team(coaches included) to not regress to the level of play that got us to be a 3-5 team in the first place.

  5. Redeemer Says:

    The division and the 4 seed is nearly a lock. Getting the #3 should be the goal. 6-1 might get that done, depending on Dallas, and SF. Eagles and Vikings probably wind up 1-2. I don’t believe in either team, and think the bucs actually matchup well against both. Said it before, I’ll say it again. Brady will be in the divisional round. He’ll have the ball in his hands, with a chance to go to another title game.

  6. adam from ny Says:

    “it’s a bucs life”

    don’t worry at all…we will manage to bring the pressure to ourselves…

    it’s how we do…


    #NoSmoothSailingInBucsville #EvenWithTheGoatSteeringTheShip

  7. Dooley Says:


    Just go on and sprinkle some more jinx on there

  8. adam from ny Says:

    hopefully we split the pair of games: san fran and cincy…i don’t see us winning both…

    hopefully we win the final 3 as well…

    the christmas game in zona is dangerous, if dudes get all nogged up and sauced out in their rooms the night before…

    a 5-2 finish would be nice…6-1 is possible with the weak schedule…4-3 would kinda suck…

    at least we could get to 10-7 with a 5-2 finish

  9. CleanHouse Says:

    What about if they go 5-7 and The Joes and Ira have another meltdown? 5-10?

  10. captivajim Says:

    Brady will be psyched to beat Jimmy G & the 9 Ers …be great if we go 7-0 which would likely make us #3 seed

  11. adam from ny Says:

    i’d be stoked with 6-1 run

    finish 11-5

  12. Goatfarmer Says:

    Joe wrote, “Obviously, the Bucs must play hard and win games.”

    Ding ding ding ding.

    Bowelswich excel at having the Bucs come out so flat and uninspired, it’s been disheartening. Disgusting, even. Not sold on this coaching staph to prepare the team well or to have them energized to win.

    Germany at this point is an outlier. Repeat that performance and then we can start measuring trends.

  13. TAMPA BAY DEMON™ Says:

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    On that eventual SB Champion NY Giants game vs our BUCS…..
    Did we NOT have a pretty dominant lead at halftime of that game?

    Bad memory.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We need to keep winning. We don’t want it to come down to that last game with Atlanta.

  15. Redeemer Says:

    Dooley, lol. I wish I had that power. My gambling account would have a lot more cash. A big advantage for the bucs, is they haven’t, and will not face a team that’s had extra rest. May not sound like a big deal, but I think it is. Especially down the stretch.

  16. Crickett Baker Says:

    “Coaching staph”!

  17. Cobraboy Says:

    This team has NO business taking ANY team on their schedule lightly.

  18. DungyDance Says:

    Demon – we got out to the first lead but we were down at half time. I was at that game. Really cold as I recall. Not Garcia’s finest hour.

  19. Your Mom Says:

    i think it’s better than not to have a soft schedule because you can limit some of the snaps guys take… i wouldn’t sit anybody out to “rest” any different from usual injury rests, but if you start everybody and then get a 30 point lead, it’s going to mean they are less banged up by the playoffs.

    Since we are in the Chucky wayback revisionist(?) history machine, let’s consider that the bye the Bucs got in the playoffs in 2002 was incredibly useful to refresh them for the final push. Nobody got lazy from resting that week.

  20. NEfan Says:

    Articles like this scare the shat out of me. This is the NFL any given Sunday. Jets beat Buffalo, Lions beat GB, Pittsburgh & Carolina beat the Bucs. Play every game like it’s your last

  21. MerryPlankster777 Says:

    We specialize in losing low pressure games, this year.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    Lets assume the Bucs are actually going to win games, which is not a sure thing, the pressure would come from trying to get that 3rd spot, which might be in reach.

    But looking at the remaining schedule, there’s no reason the Bucs can’t go 6-1. They should be easily favored in 5 games, all which should be must wins, then if they can get one win out of the Cinny and San Fran games, they’ll be in great shape. Also, it’s not out of the question that they can just win all 7, and be on a 9-0 run going into the playoffs, now that would be quite a story after those horrible loses.

    Of course all of this has no chance of happening if Leftwich is the same Leftwich we’ve seen in the first half of the season. They had better be making some changes during this bye week behind the scenes – even if we don’t know about them publicly, they had better not think the run game is magically fixed after one good game on a super soft surface where the big guys were not able keep traction.

  23. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Beat the brakes off of everyone – there is the goal.

  24. SteelStudBuc Says:

    49ers… Am I a joke to you?

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    I love discussions like this ‘Playing Without Pressure’ piece. It’s great to go into the weekend with a laugh reading some of the comments. Cobraboy nailed it … ‘This team has NO business taking ANY team on their schedule lightly.’

    We’re on a high obviously after drinking lots of German beer, but let’s not forget that the Bucs have scored over 21 points ONCE in 10 games, and that was in a loss. Up until these last 2 wins (by a TOTAL of 8 points), we’d lost 5 of 6 games and were 3-5 at the (almost) halfway point in the season. Now all of a sudden 6-1 the rest of the way is very possible? Just a couple games ago we were talking about backing into the playoffs with a losing record.

    What killed us in that losing streak more than anything was injuries, and the lack of DEPTH to compensate for them. Remember when we had Delaney AND McCollum out there as CBs? Nice young men, but neither ready to jump into starting roles. Same with Hall BTW. Well, our depth hasn’t changed; we’ve just gotten some starters back healthy.


  26. NEfan Says:

    Well said DR. If you can lose to a team that was 1-5, you can lose to any team. I just don’t have confidence in the coaching staff or staph. I can’t see Shanahan losing to a Bowles schemed D and the final game with Atlanta hopefully means nothing but if it does they are out for revenge and let’s not forget Cappa knows the Bucs offense.

  27. BucU Says:

    I’m with Goatfarmer. Straight up.

  28. Colonel Angus Says:

    Starting the season at 3-5 is enough stress I would think. I hope their goal is to finish 12-5 and not be 8-9 division winners. The embarrassment of the p!ss poor first half of the season should have their attention now.

  29. steele Says:

    Having underperformed to this point, quite miserably, you think “pressure is off”, and this bunch can act relaxed for the rest of the season? They should be on their knees thanking their NFL rivals, especially their miserable division, for sucking and regressing, because that is what is giving them any shot.

    This team still hasn’t played a consistent game. Or a consistent series of games. Don’t talk p-p-playoffs, just win a game in good form. Put away your swag until January.

    Saints, Bengals, and especially 49ers will be major tests.

  30. Goatfarmer Says:

    I just can’t get off of the Bucs losing to the Steelers with bartenders and waitresses in the secondary, and Mitch Trubisky at QB. And then it got worse — getting drummed out of the stadium by the Panthers who had just traded away their only known skill players, fired the coach and were playing for #1 draft position. They didn’t just beat us, the KILLED us.



  31. George Says:

    Every game in the NFL is hard. There are no gimmes . As long as we have the current coaching staff every game is a possible lose.

  32. CrackWise Says:

    Brady knew coming to the Bucs meant he had another WEAK division to dominate.

    This reason alone is what he will be in TAMPA in 2023

  33. CrackWise Says:

    Why he will be in TAMPA in 2023

  34. rrsrq Says:

    A Monday night against the Saints after the last outing with ME and Lattimore, they will have to find a way to block out the pressure as the Saints maybe playing for their playoff lives or even pride

  35. orlbucfan Says:

    It’s the Bye Week and Bucs go into it at 5-5. One game at a time people! Geez, I know a pile of you weren’t around during the 1980s. THAT was dismal! BTW, I like that pic of ME13 and CG14. Those two are buds off the field, too.

  36. Hodad Says:

    There’s always pressure to win in the NFL. They didn’t feel pressured when they lost to Carolina, and Pitt I bet. White said they got bored when Atlanta came back on them. I’d say the pressure is on to keep winning. If it isn’t, see Pitt, Carolina.

  37. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    The Bucs need to play each game like it is a playoff game. They should feel pressure each week. They have not played like a team that can take any game for granted.

  38. D-Rok Says:

    Bunch of good comments here, guys.

    Maybe if the coaches can’t figure it out, sure seems like we have, mostly, some astute observers and fans!!

    P-P-P-P-Pressure? Pressure? LOL

  39. Steven L. Benner Says:

    Brady & the Bucs need to beat the 49ers! I appreciate them as a team…but they have not given Tom Brady the Respect he deserves!!! He was supposed to play for Sanfrancisco but the Shanahan Staff did not believe in him and didn’t want to convert to Bradys way of thinking. THEIR LOSS!!! Jimmy G. Was Tom’s Backup in NE. Tom needs to show them that they messed up by not taking the Goat and setting for his backup. It’s time the Bucs show the 49ers who’s the better team!

  40. garro Says:

    Pressure??? Really???
    Pressure is what great teams and players thrive on.
    AND there are no GIMME games in the NFL!

    Joe, As I recall the pressure you speak of was not on us during our last Superbowl run. After the bye week we came back determined and confident. I think the “pressure was on our opponents to stop us and our defense was lights out the last part of the season.