Five Things

December 26th, 2022

(Photo courtesy

A win is a win is a win. One more for an NFC South crown. It’s Victory Monday and Merry Christmas!

Playoff Picture

So it’s rather simple.

* If the Bucs (7-8) beat the Stinking Panthers (6-9) at home Sunday, the Bucs will be NFC South champs and will secure a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

* If the Bucs lose Sunday, the Bucs will need help winning the division. A loss hosting Carolina on Sunday means the Bucs must win at Atlanta on the final day of the season and the slimy Saints (6-9) must win at home against the Stinking Panthers the same day.

* The Bucs hold the tiebreaker against the slimy Saints by virtue of sweeping them in the regular season.

* If the Bucs lose both their remaining games, they are toast.

Ryan Succop, You Are Joe’s Hero

Where would the Bucs be if not for kicker Ryan Succop? And some folks wanted to chase him off after last season if you can imagine?

Succop had 12 of the Bucs’ 19 points last night, including the game-winner from 40 yards out. Overall, Succop, a 35-year-old Pro Bowl alternate, is having a helluva season.

Joe already wrote how the Bucs would be in a world of hurt without him. Given how the Bucs seem enamored with the Father Dungy offensive model, Succop might just be the team’s most valuable offensive player.

How strong has Succop been? If he kicks four or more field goals through the next two games (given how the Bucs break down in the red zone, this isn’t a reach), Succop will become the Bucs’ record holder for field goals in a season.

Currently, Matt Bryant (2008) and Martin Gramatica (2002) are tied for the single-season lead with 32 field goals. Succop currently has 29.

Succop has been the only reliable kicker the Bucs have over multiple season through the past dozen years or so since Bryant left for Atlanta. Boy, did the Bucs get lucky with this guy.

When Playoff Lenny Balls Out, Good Things Happen

When Playoff Lenny has 55 yards rushing, it’s a good bet the Bucs do very well. Such was the case last night when Playoff Lenny ran for 72 yards. Whenever Playoff Lenny has 55 or more yards rushing, the Bucs are 12-1. The lone loss was this season to the Steelers.

Playoff Lenny had a strong night with 162 yards from scrimmage, his most in three seasons with the Bucs.

Wrong Guys Playing The Heavy

Joe thought NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth made a helluva a point last night.

(No, it’s not that the Bucs need to run to set up play-action passes. You’d think a guy who owns the PFF tribe would know stat geeks have proven you can be effective running play-actions without running the ball. The Bucs prove this whenever failing offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich gets a wild hair up his poopchute and decides to call a play-action pass.)

Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians had no issue whatsoever in getting in players’ faces when needed. Joe witnessed this first-hand several times. Didn’t matter if it was Tom Brady or Sean Murphy-Bunting or Tanner Hudson.

But with Arians gone, Brady and assistant head coach Harold Goodwin have led the way in being the heavy on the sidelines. Bucs coach Todd Bowles, well, that’s not him and Joe has no problem with that. All sorts of excellent coaches are in the Hall of Fame and they barely said a word when they coached.

If Bowles tried to act like Arians, players would know he’s a fraud. And once you become a fraud with players, you have lost your team.

The Bucs, Collinsworth said, really miss Arians’ fire and discipline. Joe fully agrees.

Historic Collapse On Offense

Props for CBS Sports HQ for digging up this stat. Joe also heard it on NBC’s pregame show last night.

No team that had its starting quarterback for every game has had a bigger one-year collapse of its offense in the Super Bowl era than the Bucs.

The 1976 Bills had a worse dropoff from their 1975 output, but their starting quarterback, Joe Ferguson, was lost in Week 7 of the season due to a back injury. The Bucs have had the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, for each and every snap this year. The Bucs’ offensive scoring is 12.4 points per game less than it had a year ago. That Bills squad was down 12.5 from the previous season.

That should be the final nail in the coffin for failing Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Once the season ends, he should be allowed 30 minutes to clean out his office and then have his access card shut down.

How in the world can you be that bad with Brady at quarterback, Tristan Wirfs at right tackle, Shaq Mason at right guard, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and Julio Jones at receiver? That’s damn near impossible!

Leftwich claims all the time he does what he thinks will win games. After learning of this stat, Joe swears Leftwich is trying to throw games. You simply cannot be that bad with that kind of talent unless it’s on purpose.

Boy oh boy, Jags fans, you guys and Trevor Lawrence really dodged a bullet last winter.

34 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Love reading Joe’s recap while I drink my coffee and get ready for an early shift. I’m still pissed off about that game. Joe, I don’t know if you remember that video of Aikman chewing out the team, and then he goes up to another coach and says he’s sick of him always having to lay into the guys. He lamented that Switzer was an absent coach. An excellent clip caught on NFL Films. Will Tommy have his Aikman moment? We’re really missing other leaders like Gronk, Jensen, and Marpet.

  2. deiter Says:

    “Boy oh boy, Jags fans, you guys and Trevor Lawrence really dodged a bullet last winter.”


    But unfortunately for us though.

  3. Thadeus Says:

    Well look at the bright side. 2 maybe 3 more games and the Bucs horrible season is over. I mean when you have to go into OT to beat the Cardinals, that’s very telling.
    And fingers crossed Tom comes back to New England and brings The Gronk with him.
    At least there he’ll have NWFL ( National WOKE Football League ) caliber coaching. Something they don’t have in Tampa. Guess that being ” progressive ” cost em big time in Tampa. FAIL
    Or…..come to Miami and bring The Gronk and Sean Payton with him. I’d love that.

  4. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Fire Todd Bowles. You can’t fix stupid.

  5. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    Joe, at least give Leftwich an hour to clear out his office.

  6. Buc4evr Says:

    Leftwich needs to be gone after the season. So does Bowles, but I doubt he will get fired.

  7. Allbuccedup Says:

    Did Logan Hall get cut he doesn’t even show up in the box score?

  8. Todd Says:

    Has Ryan Jensen’s swelling gone down in his knee yet in order to get it x-rayed? 🤦‍♂️

  9. Rriddler Says:

    Succup had 13 of the 19 points last night, not 12

  10. dmatt Says:

    Leftwich needs to go but so does Bowles.

  11. Bucs fan from Philly Says:

    JBF won’t talk about Brady not being himself. Super bad reporting on the obvious.

  12. Bucobill999 Says:

    Unfortunately this whole coaching staff will be back next year good luck kyle trask and company itll be a swizz show for sure “2014”ish

  13. Bucobill999 Says:


  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Not to nitpick but Succop scored 13 of the 19 points (extra point)

    And, yes…..once again….Brady bailed out his own poor play with a late game comeback…..

    The reason we were behind is errant passes……interceptions…..failed 3rd down conversion & red zone failures……

    6 points in the first half……6

  15. Mike Says:

    The Glaziers have made so much money the last few years when Bruce Arians was the head coach with this team now they have to be losing money like crazy with Todd Bowles running this team I wouldn’t spend $.10 to go watch a game at the den of depression. Todd Bowles has ruined it for our group that gets together every week to watch the games we decided yesterday that we are done getting together to watch hopefully the glaziers make a head coaching change this off-season

  16. bucnjim Says:

    What they are really missing is Arians weekly game plan. Also his in game adjustments. Bowles and Leftwich are being outcoached from the start of every game and it seems like it takes Brady to bail them out. Brady has been part of the problem especially when he forces the ball to Evans, but while running the no huddle he’s very hard to stop. There are only a couple teams that have the offensive lines to pound the ball and we are not one of them.

  17. FrontFour Says:

    The Sixth Thing
    Brady was awful last night. Sure, blame coaches all you want. But the QB makes the final decision and touches the ball on every play. Any QB not named Brady gets benched last night. We should have put that game away in the first half. Brady now resembles Peyton Manning in his final season. Mostly ineffective.

  18. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Again-most of you just don’t get it. It is this horrid Oline that is the main issue and the REASON that the play calling has to be so Vanilla. Jason Licht should be getting help for this line NOW after Wells got carted off last night. No QB could win consistently with this Oline. Love the way Joe cherry picked Wirfs and Mason when he tried to prop the Oline. WORST OLINE IN THE NFL-PERIOD.

  19. Lakeland Steve Says:

    The O-line is God awful. Jesus himself would wish he was never resurrected if he had to play QB behind this line. Kudos to Wirfs for playing on one leg last night. You could really tell he had no lateral movement. Unless a miracle happens we won’t beat the Panthers playing like we have. We better hope that the Bucs team that played in Germany shows up.

  20. Arn platz Says:

    Bucs O-line < Cardboard cut outs

  21. Bucanero Says:

    Must win is an understatement. Bucs owe us, the fans, that W against the stinking Panthers.

  22. Eric b Says:

    Fire the coaches!!!!!! Now!!!!!! Were dead last in running in every category and he says we need to run the ball more????? Unreal

  23. Arn platz Says:

    Just read an article having Sean Payton taking the Colts job and getting Brady to join him. The writer made a good argument for it.

  24. ClwJB Says:

    As bad as it pains, the best outcome for our future is a loss to the Panthers and miss the playoffs

    We don’t deserve it and this entire staff is so overmatched it’s criminal

    If we do eek in, they likely bounce BL and Bowles just puts another run at all cost meathead in his place – maybe Mike Shula?

    The best course of action is to show this staff the door and bring in a real staff with this core of talent

  25. sasquatch Says:

    I’m becoming more convinced that Bowles has handcuffed Leftwich so that he can’t run the offense the way he wants until they have to go into comeback mode. So, how bad is Leftwich vs. how much is Bowles holding him back? We’ll probably never know for sure, but should have some indication when Bowles’ hand-picked OC comes in next year and drops a turd also.

  26. Joshua porter Says:

    didn’t d white say bowels is that kind of coach that gets all in there butts just not in the public eye. It’s crazy how this man can be so aggressive on defense and pucker his butthole when he sends his offense out there. He either don’t trust good Ole lefty or Tommy.

  27. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Joe I’m pretty sure it has more to do with Todd bowels and the way he wants the offense to run then it leftwich but his play calling has bin terrible too but they both have ruined the offense not just leftwich

  28. Nick houllis Says:

    Nick THE OPTIMIST here.. Joes, I respect the hell out of you guys and Ira but I don’t agree with the whole Leftwich/coaching is the problem.

    THE OFFENSIVE LINE is the problem, and no it doesn’t stick out, because you have the greatest QB to play the game, getting rid of the ball in under 2 seconds. I mean guys, look at every play. Snap Throw. IN time it takes to say those words, SNAP, THROW. that’s how long the play develops. MAYBE, just maybe, this is the best the Bucs can do??? Hainsey and company, are just not that good. look at the evidence:
    Bucs ground game worst ever. Reason O LINE
    Bucs throw the ball in 2 seconds, virtually removing downhill passing. Reason OLINE
    Playaction passes?? you can’t do that without an Oline. Anyone who’s ever played madden knows placation passes take MORE time to develop, and TIME is something the Bucs do not have,
    Donovan H Smith (h for holding), OUT, Ali Marpet, retired, replacement NO WHERE NEAR SAME TALENT, C Jensen INJURED replacement serviceable at best, NOT PROBOWL like Jensen, RG Kappa off to Cincinnati, replacement good, maybe better. RT Wirfs recovering.

    IF you get healthy Donovan H Smith back, and Jensen back (whenever, even if next year) hell yeah I want Brady back for another run.

    There is no mystery. there is no conspiracy. We don’t throw the ball deep because we can’t. we don’t run well because we can’t. we down do play action well because we can’t. Why can’t we/ offensive Line.

    Should it have been addressed during preseason and before trade deadline by management? probably . but this is what we have. Get some healthy O line players back before the playoffs, hell yeah Sapps prediction can come true.
    The OPTIMIST has spoken.

  29. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Nick, good points but Leftwich sucks.

  30. D-Rok Says:

    I’ve said it all year long and will continue to say: The cause of our poor play is our O-line. The effect of poor O-line play is a poor record.

    Not fixing the line blame starts with Licht. Then the coaches didn’t adjust their scheme/plan for year based on available talent. Then WR injuries, then Brady TRYING to still win despite all these failures.

    Yes Brady is a problem due to his turnovers. I think it’s possible (likely?) he is more injured than any of us know. Most of his poor play has been a REACTION to what is unfolding around him. He’s had a few unforced errors/turnovers, yes, as does every QB and every player.

    I don’t believe Brady is “washed.” If he was washed, there’s NO WAY he’d be able to successfully run no-huddle and hurry-up in the 2 and 4-minute offense.

    How is it possible for Brady to be near perfect, at least excellent, when he takes command of the offense??? A washed player cannot play well.

    So, my conclusion is Brady is not washed up. Not yet.

    My only hope is with a championship game this Sunday, will the Bucs pull out ALL the stops and play the best game of the season – which includes not playing conservatively and being aggressive all game long?

    Who cares if the D is gassed after the O goes hurry-up all or most of game? Bowles will have all off-season to allow the D to rest up if they lose these next 2 games.


  31. D-Rome Says:

    Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich have ruined not only their careers but the careers of their assistants (with regards to future NFL prospects). Failing with the GOAT will further fuel longstanding NFL biases which are wholly unfair.

    Bowles should be a one and done coach because at best this team will be one and done in the playoffs the way they have been playing all year.

    According to another post on this esteemed site the Bucs game is not sold out yet. Let that sink in. Tom Brady’s last home game as a Buc could be next weekend and the game isn’t sold out? Why should Bowles get another year? No one can possibly think the team can get a QB better than Brady in the draft. In my opinion keeping Bowles makes sense only if the Bucs sign Lamar Jackson in the off season. Bowles likes to run well, that guy can run and sling it.

  32. Brooklyn Buc Says:

    Do any of you really want to see us demolished by Dallas on national TV, should we happen
    To get in. Better to go for higher draft pick

  33. Mike C Says:

    IT’S the O-line, IT’S Brady, IT’S the Coach!!! Maybe it is all of them Maybe even bad NFL teams are difficult to beat, simmer down and let’s go try and win back to back division titles with Defense, support your team or GTFO.

  34. Defense Rules Says:

    That was a painful game to watch last night. If we hadn’t been playing the #30th-ranked defense in the NFL, we would’ve lost big-time. And our defense, without Vea, Dean & Shaq, would’ve been eaten alive by a decent offense. Sad days in Bucsville.

    This team will get run over by the Panthers UNLESS Vea makes it back. Panthers have won 3 of their last 4 games, and have rushed for 185, 223 & 320 yards in those 3 wins. And in those wins they’ve absolutely dominated the TOP. Bucs need BOTH Vea AND Hicks on the field to have a chance of escaping another 21-3 rout.