Run Game Explosion Coming?

November 26th, 2022

Another big day Sunday?

Byron Leftwich calling run plays up the middle has become so comical that it’s a punchline for Bucs fans.

(Joe met and chatted with a Bucs fan in a wonderful museum in Munich the day before the Bucs played Seattle. The gentleman’s name was Mike Luker. As Joe departed, Luker joked with Joe, “Enjoy those Leftwich runs up the middle!” Yes, word of Leftwich’s ways reached Europe.)

But as Jenna Laine of ESPN points out, Leftwich’s big flaw may turn out to be a benefit Sunday. Why is that since even Stevie Wonder can see Leftwich loves running up the middle on first downs?

That is the soft underbelly of the Browns, per Laine.

This is the week the Bucs’ No. 32-ranked ground game will hit a season-high of 175 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. The Browns have struggled stopping the run all year, surrendering 299 fantasy points to opposing running backs through 10 weeks — second-most in the NFL. Their 16 rushing touchdowns surrendered are also third-worst in the NFL, and over the past four games, they’ve surrendered an average of 140.5 rushing yards per game. They are most vulnerable up the middle, which caters towards offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich’s playcalling quite well.

Joe hopes this is the case. But even a rotten defense can overcompensate and cover for a weakness, especially when facing a stubborn playcaller.

If Laine is right and the Bucs hit 175 yards, that tells Joe that Rachaad White went off or the Bucs got major production from Gio Bernard or even forgotten Sneak Vaughn (assuming Leonard Fournette’s bad hip keeps him from playing.)

If the Bucs run for 175 and score three touchdowns, this game should be in the bag.

31 Responses to “Run Game Explosion Coming?”

  1. NEfan Says:

    Ironic hasn’t the Bucs struggled with stopping the run especially in the 2nd half? This is the NFL, if you know it’s coming a team should be able to stop it. Love to see it but I have a bad feeling this becomes a low scoring shoot out in the 4th again. Again, it’s not that Bucs can’t run it’s the predictable play calling that hinders it.

  2. NEfan Says:

    Are you ready for the end around pitch to Otton, option to Godwin, behind flare to Bernard screen pass to Godwin for -15yard on 2nd 1 on the opponents 6 yard line?

  3. Goatfarmer Says:

    Byron is just misunderstood.

    Hardly anyone can understand what he is saying.

  4. Since76 Says:

    The bucs are too predictable. They run on first down the same side most of the time. No imagination. Most defensive coordinators in the nfl have figured bl out. But then so have the fans.

  5. Beej Says:

    We struggled with stopping they run when we didn’t have two decent tackles in the middle

  6. Goatfarmer Says:

    Since the strength of the Browns defense is with Garrett and Clowney, The Misunderstood One will run at the edge and drop Brady back 50 times. Just to prove how he’s not predictable. It’s genius, really.

    He’s just misunderstood.

  7. SOEbuc Says:

    First of all when you use Jenna Laine as your source, everything goes out the window, Joe.

    Second, we have the worst running game, White gets barely over 100 yards and he is some kind of starting RB. He was garbage up the middle and if what Jenna reports, when BL calls his run plays that are so blatantly obvious, it doesn’t matter how bad Cleveland run defense is.

  8. OHBucFan Says:

    Ah, another day, another Byron beating. So be it. This average joe really doesn’t know what to think and certainly acknowledges that the writers of this incredible site have far greater access to the inner workings than this fan in faraway Ohio.
    That said, I wonder if the Bruce Backed Byron actually knows what he’s doing and is attempting to work the plan until it can no longer be worked? What if the OC thinks that the three musketeers making up the middle of the line needs as much work as possible if they’re ever going to get above average? What if Byron knows that run blocking is far easier to be more effective than pass blocking? What if Leftwich knows that by running on first down, he’s saving Brittle Brady from a full third of possible hits? What if the OC and the QB are on the same page and know that if the running game gets going, then the play action pass becomes a far more effective weapon in the arsenal? Brady has the fastest delivery time in the NFL and is amongst the leaders in attempts, completions, etc. Do we really think that passing more is best plan? Is there a way for Brady to fire the ball faster? I don’t think so. Not unless we want to see an increase in interceptions. It appears to me that Brady/Byron are on the same page. Otherwise, we’d see more audibles and less positive body language on the sidelines. I understand the predictable play calling critiques but first down is also the BEST time to run. I’m just not prepared to place all this blame on Leftwich, at least without acknowledging that he’s the first person to know how many times those plays are being called.

  9. Statistically Insignificant Reader Says:

    Skipping over the play calling for a minute. It is very painful listening to Leftwich speak. He may or may not one day deserve head coaching consideration but his speaking inability will ultimately be that downfall. Feel bad for him on that one.

  10. NEfan Says:

    @OHBuc, take away the 1st down run and add a double reverse with back ups for a loss against GB killing a drive, a run up the middle with 36 seconds left in GB forcing Bowles to use his last TO so no TO left to discuss the needed two point conversion.TWO wildcat plays in the same series one for a loss and two an int on SCORING drives, run against Pittsburgh when they had a decimated Db core, just to name a few. I know many of you don’t care for the Patriots but take the time to watch the Edleman and Welker A Football Life, you cannot help by being impressed by the attention to detail during and outside of practice.

  11. D-Rok Says:

    It’s possible to see more running, more passing, or a mixture of both this game. The Brown’s D has talent but they aren’t that dominant, and their back-end has some middle-low rated players. Save for Garrett and perhaps Clowney, this D hasn’t performed that well.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if we pass more or run more. I think we can slow down Chubbs and Hunt some. Don’t think JakeBrisket (LOL) is a scrub, though, he’s been playing fairly well. Also, don’t forget that this is the last game Brissett plays before Watson comes back, so I’d expect Brissett to be at his best to put some good tape out there. If the Good Bucs O shows up, we should win.

  12. D-Rok Says:


    I love those Football Life segments, and I watch most of them. Will be sure to check out Edelman’s. He’s a scrappy dude and very tough, and probably never should have made it to be an NFL WR, but he overcame a lot of adversity. I like toughness in football from any player, so I’ve always liked Edelman.

  13. David Says:

    I just want to see an offensive explosion. I want to see the O play a full game not a last minute drive or 1/2. I want to see them hit 30 points.
    I don’t care about a running game explosion when you have the greatest quarterback to ever do it and a lot of weapons that are healthy finally.
    I want to see them pass AND run the ball and score TD’s in the RED zone!!

  14. Darin Says:

    If she stumbled across that then the brownies know it. Let’s see what adjustments sammich makes. Oh wait he doesn’t.

  15. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Anyone who is trying to DEFEND Byron Suckwich’s play calling should be smacked in their foreheads 20 times in a row.

    Just look at all the QBs in Arizona who’s had their WORST years when he was the OC there.

    To be BLUNT……Byron Suckwich is just a really good guy who was propped up by Bruce Arians in Arizona……this is nothing more than sports politics.

    Now everyone can see since his daddy Bruce is not saving him from making bone headed calls during a game….everyone sees how bad of an OC he really is.

  16. Beeej Says:

    I’ve a buddy (Eagles fan, totally obnoxious about it) He’d just look at our box score and announce we didn’t try and run it enough (as if, the 23rd run into an 8 man box would be the magic one!) Every time we’d start out a drive with 2nd and 8, then 3rd and 7 was invariably yet another 3 and out. Next thing you know, it’s halfway thru the third quarter and we’re down 21-9, and the GOAT has to start slinging it

  17. D-Rok Says:

    Amen, David – good summation about what this fan wants, also. I’d be happier if we dropped 40 on the Browns, even though I doubt it. Aren’t the Bucs DUE for at least a 30-point game? Yep, we are due, unless BL keep be doing what he do.

  18. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    So the Browns are week up the middle….. we should expect a lot of outside runs Sunday. Fire Leftwhich.

  19. Buc4evr Says:

    When will BL learn that we don’t have a good enough O-line to be predictable. The other issue is that Brady never plays well in the first quarter. It is always three and out with some pretty bad passes, or the WR’s can’t get separation. Either way, this team never gets off to a fast start.

  20. Mikejp Says:

    The Bucs should throw on the first down at least 50%.

  21. WillieG Says:

    Leftwich hasn’t exactly made a name for himself by attacking a team’s weakness. I wouldn’t be surprised if he calls for passes more often on first down this week than ever before.

  22. HC Grover Says:

    LOL he will prolly switch to trick plays galore.

  23. Cliff Says:

    Can’t believe Leftwich still has a job. ! ! ! High school coaches know to mix running plays…. Off tackle & end arounds would be a productive change.

  24. adam from ny Says:

    awwww it’s gonna be a dirty uniform sunday, and the ground and pound game will be in effect…

    let’s say we run 70 plays…

    40 will be run…

    this could be fun to watch actually…with brady catching dudes sleeping in the passing game…

    tommy b always has a good feel for the game and will audible out of left’y nonsense to hit a few big pass plays when the db’s are snoozing and expecting “alstott up the gut”

  25. Goatfarmer Says:

    You guys are mean. Only true Buc fans never criticize a coach or a player for being a boob. Show you are a true fan and compliment Boron for his articulate game planning and playcalling. What if he is trying to run up the middle all the time because he do what he do and team need to be what it be to win a game.

  26. Tap-Out Says:

    They still whining … while we winning! Draft SS396!

  27. Tap-Out Says:

    Make it make sense…Whining while we winning!! Draft SS396!

  28. Steve Says:

    Joes, You have connections at 1 Buc. Did you tell them about the folly of running up the middle on so many first downs ?

  29. Joe Morello Says:

    Leftwich has no basis for running on first downs.
    He has no argument that eventually he will turn out to be the gifted shamon of offensive coaches. He just a stubborn man that is sacrificing a team and a season to the wolves. It’s the worst part of watching a game as a fan. A predictable first down run up the middle that 90% of the time leads us to a 4th down punt.
    Leftwich has to go!….

  30. Chuck Stevens Says:

    I’m sorry but as I have commented before,there is no creativity on this offense.
    Tom Brady’s 45 yr old ass has to gain a yard to keep a drive alive because we are so predictable .
    When is enough enough !
    Has anyone looked ahead what could be around the corner .
    Philly,Dallas,the Giants and commanders have very good defensive fronts.
    This milquetoast offense needs Some change NOW !

  31. Chuck Stevens Says:

    This offense is trash!