Wasting A Top-10 Defense

December 29th, 2022

“We’ve let down this team, Byron.”

Joe has a favorite defensive stat when it comes to team defense. No, it’s not sacks.

There’s a metric out there called “percentage of drives ending in an offensive score.” The average Joe might call it, “how often the other team scores when it gets the damn ball.”

It’s not a perfect measure of defenses. It has flaws. For example, if your offense is good, your defense will have more possessions when the opposition will not consider a field goal attempt because it’s trailing by too many points.

Or if your quarterback turns the ball over a ton like Jameis Winston did in 2019, then a defense is dealing with a ton of short fields.

All that side, the Bucs ranked fifth in the NFL allowing a score on just 32 percent of drives. That’s better than every NFC playoff team other than San Francisco, which leads the NFL be a good margin at 24.5 percent.

It’s also better than the Bucs’ percentage during their 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Where the Bucs defense has come up short this season is in forcing turnovers. Only the Saints and Panthers, Sunday’s opponent, are worse when it comes to the percentage of drives in which the defense forces a turnover.

So the Bucs are fifth in stopping teams when they have the ball. They also rank seventh in points allowed and sixth in total yards. The defense is damn good, not great, but more than worthy of the postseason.

As Joe wrote earlier, it’s time for the defense to rise up and win Sunday’s game against a crap Panthers offense and put the Bucs in the playoffs.

A top-10 defense is a terrible thing to waste.

32 Responses to “Wasting A Top-10 Defense”

  1. Jack Clark Says:

    Joe, can you ask Todd Bowels if he wants our offense to score more than 30 points a game? And if he gives some BS answer like “I want us to score enough points to win” can you give him the middle finger?

    Thank you,

    Frustrated Buccaneer Fan

  2. #8's Ghost Says:

    Playing right handed all season. Figure a way to win this game someway somehow Sunday playing right handed.
    15th round vs Dallas.

  3. Robert Says:

    If this team could score 24 points a game we’d be an 11-4 team. It’s ridiculous to think about how horrendous the offense has been this year.

  4. D-Rok Says:

    I was thinking about lack of TO’s today on my drive home from work. Our D is in a seemingly TO drought…yeah we’ve had some, but one thing that COULD propel our team in the playoffs? (Assuming we make it). Turnovers. If our D can start getting TO’s, that will be the great equalizer for an underperforming O. Big IF’s, I realize, but it’s possible, yes?

    Just trying to be optimistic, guys.

    GO BUCS!!!

  5. D-Rok Says:

    @Jack Clark,

    LOL!!!! Bazinga!

  6. D-Rok Says:


    Defense Rules – where you been lately? I need some stats breakdown on turnovers by our D so I can safely assuage my fears that the D is “due” for some game-changing plays. Hook a brother up!!!

  7. Goatfarmer Says:

    This year when the team has had an opportunity to take its future in its hands, it chokes. Expect no difference Sunday. The Bowels is afraid of his own shadow. He’s punt on first down if he could.

  8. adam from ny Says:

    yeah one touchdown more per game on average and we’d be dam good…

    the problem is we are basically down 2 touchdowns in scoring per game this season…

    and that’s a humungous amount…

    nobody is pouting though…

    bitching, yes…………pouting, no


  9. HC Grover Says:

    Soon…the 3rd down punt or quick kick. Can Brady kick too? Ray Graves ghost is hovering over Bowzo Game Plan.

  10. Craig Says:

    What top ten defense are you talking about? Surely not the Bucs. Every time you talk up one aspect of it, it fails. It also doesn’t seem to believe in things, like tight coverage or turn overs.

    Maybe you are talking about any defense the Bucs offense plays against, they look like a top ten defense, stopping Brady like that.

  11. Steven007 Says:

    8 Ball, I can see clamoring for Suh when he’s a free agent. But when he’s on another team that’s going to the playoffs, what’s the point?

  12. mg Says:

    🍻Jack Clark

  13. #8's Ghost Says:

    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
    Plus I’m a ghost, after having jumped off the Skyway due to the birds signing him…so I’m even more pointless now.
    Unless…we go Southpaw & shock the world! (no-huddle)

  14. D-Rok Says:

    Keep the faith, #8. Something will come to fruition soon, methinks. Suh is gone in the wind, so your only recourse is to SUE the Bucs.

    Like you, I have been screaming for much more no-huddle. Will these r e t a r d coaches take notice?

  15. alton d green Says:

    Goatfarmer. Punt on 1st down. I hope Todd doesn’t read these. He will. That way Brady can’t throw an int. GOOD JOB Todd

  16. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    My favorite stat, is Wins and Losses.

    It’s been proven very reliable, especially in post-season.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    D-Rok … Still read some of this stuff, but admittedly a lot less. I get bored easily reading too many comments from whiners. Love it though when knowledgable fans are interested in talking football instead of pissin & moanin.

    Like you, I’m optimistic about Sunday’s game. Panthers thrashed us last game 21-3, but there were things that can be corrected. Defensively, we were missing Hicks up front (and Vea played way too much … 70% snaps), and that hurt big time IMO in terms of not effectively stopping the run. Carlton Davis missed that game, so we started a very green McCollum (who got roasted BTW). We were also missing Logan Ryan, so having him back should help.

    Offensively Brady only got sacked once, we had no turnovers,
    committed only 4 penalties, and kept the ball for 66 plays vs the Panthers 50 plays. You’d think we would’ve scored more than 1 FG BUT … we couldn’t sustain drives (Bucs were only 3 for 15 … 20% … on 3rd & 4th down conversions). IOW, when it counted, we sucked. A big part of that’s on the OLine, but there was plenty of suckage to go around that day.

    Panthers 3 TDs were largely the result of explosive plays. No excuse for allowing those against a team like the Panthers.

    o 1st TD (2nd qtr): Big plays – deep pass (left) for 21 yds; short pass (left) for 23 yds; deep pass (left) for 20 yds & the TD.
    o 2nd TD (3rd qtr): Big plays – run (right) for 60 yds; run (left) for 17 yds & the TD.
    o 3rd TD (4th qtr): Big plays – run (left) for 13 yds; run (right) for 27 yds; deep pass (right) for 29 yds & the TD.

    Explosive plays killed us (and they went after the weak links it looks like … smart play-calling). Having Vea AND Hicks out there should help. Same with having Davis & Ryan out there. There’s no excuse for allowing those 3 TDs … 200 yards covered in only 8 plays. Same goes for our offense though. No excuse for only converting on 3 of 15 of our 3rd & 4th down opportunities. Sunday will show us all what this 2022 Bucs team is made of.

  18. adam from ny Says:


    yeah man, love when you drop the stats and info…keep rolling out the goods…

    also that game if i’m correct was like almost right after they traded off mcaffery and were supposedly tanking for picks – and i actually thought licht could be there laying in the cut and quietly negotiating for one of their lineman, since they were potentially about have a fire sale right around that time…

    so that loss was all the more shocking, because with the state of that franchise at that current time, we were supposed to go in there and straight up wreck shop…

    that was a hard shocking loss – it was right up there as one of the worst of the season…


  19. adam from ny Says:

    i really thought we could pull a d lineman away from them after they dumped mcaffery and robbie anderson in a heartbeat..,they were just about ready to unload their other receiver dj moore too

  20. bob in valrico Says:

    Speaking of explosive plays, the lack of them has to be demoralizing to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

  21. D-Rok Says:

    OK, DR, my man, you hooked me up, and I appreciate it. So after reading your synopsis, combined with intel I’ve gleaned, I’d say this:

    Our D will really limit their run game this week. Hicks and Vea. After we shut down their run game first half (first half about 50 yards rushing) the Panthers will try to go a bit more passing in 2nd half. Having Davis and Ryan will mean the Bucs D will be smart this game. They might get beat for 1 TD, but not much more.

    Color me optimistic, but if these guys come out and play smart and hard, we WILL win this game. 24-17 kinda game, methinks.

    Thanks, DR. Now I feel better, and so should more Bucs fans. We got this.

  22. D-Rok Says:

    Bucs 24, Panthers 17. Margin of error: +/- 3 points.

  23. ClwJB Says:

    Must be nice to live in a dream world

    In reality, they are going to thrash us in the run game and the O will wilt like always

    Say it isn’t so Joe, and we will all call you a liar

    Wake up sheep, this team is the pits

  24. Capt.Tim Says:

    We gave ip 181 yards rushing, in our earlier loss to the panthers.
    They averaged better than 7 yards a carry,?and ran it down our throats.
    Think our run defense will be better Sunday?

  25. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Appreciate the well thought out comments Bucs Bros! The Trolls can go back under your bridges.

  26. catcard202 Says:

    DEF better be committed to stopping the run…

  27. Buccos Says:

    It’s awfully hard to sweep a team in your division. Think about the last time we swept NO. I think it is a good bet that the Bucs win at home and cover the spread. TB12 is due for a good game and I think all of his receivers will be available.

  28. The Anomaly Says:

    Stats like this are not linear.

    It does not take into account for opposing teams having a lead and running out the clock vs needed to throw downfield.

    If we suddenly scored X points per game does not equal an increase in victories.

    We play from behind a lot.

    Yeah…this team is a joke. Licht is to blame

  29. Bigbucfan90 Says:

    Jack Clark speaks for all of us lol

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    D-Rok … I’m looking for a 20-17 Bucs win. Defensively, I think the game will hinge on 2 things: win the turnover differential & keep the run game to less than about 100 yards. Panthers have committed only 2 or more TOs in 4 games this year; lost all 4. Conversely, they’ve committed no TOs in 6 games this year; won 5 of those. They’ve rushed for less than 100 yards 7 times this season; lost all 7. It’s only 1 season, but I’m noticing a trend there.

    Offensively, the Bucs OLine doesn’t match up very well, but danged it can’t keep playing like it has been & expect to win the division. Time for those 5 to rise up & show something more than we’ve been seeing, but they could also use some help. I wouldn’t be opposed to using a 6th OLineman much more often, as well as using 2-back sets more. Try anything to put up 20 or so points; what we’ve been doing surely isn’t working.

  31. D-Rok Says:


    I very rarely put a score on a game – just too many variables, and my guesses are never right, so I gave up long ago on predicting scores. I think your guess at Bucs 20 Panthers 17 is a reasonable guess, and it falls roughly within my margin of error of 24-17 +/- 3.

    It all depends on which Bucs team shows up – the good one or the bad one?

  32. BOAT Says:

    Todd Bowles wasted a top 1 offense.