Five Things

January 2nd, 2023

“Nacho” celebrates an NFC South crown.

Alright. We got a two-for-one special. Today is a federal holiday since New Years Day fell on a Sunday. Most of us get to sleep in a little. We need it to decompress from such an awesome game yesterday and to charge our batteries for all sorts of football to enjoy today and tonight. But you know what else today is? It’s Victory Monday!

Yes Virginia, The Bucs Have An Offense.

So you knew yesterday was special not just by the score of the game, a 30-24 Bucs win to wrap up the NFC South title. But the vibe in the locker room was so much different.

There was a lot of hooting and hollering. It was like a party. Not too crazy, but festive. Dudes were breaking out their red “Conquered the South” T-shirts and brown baseball caps.

It seemed like the offensive explosion in the fourth quarter of 20 points — 20 points! — exorcised a lot of pent-up frustration. The Bucs finally demonstrated they can score points.

The game wasn’t pretty. And at first, it was downright depressing when the Stinking Panthers went up 14-0. The Bucs appeared doomed.

Whoever you want to give the credit/blame to for the offense opening up in the second half yesterday, go right ahead. It’s as if the Bucs made a statement to the rest of the NFL: We can still score and we’re a dangerous team if and when we do.

What took the Bucs until the 16th game of the season? That’s a story for another day. This morning, Joe is here to celebrate Victory Monday.

How ‘Bout That Defense?

There were times the Bucs defense was, well, a little shaky. But it mostly played well. One thing about the defense is how so many different guys took turns making big plays that the Stinking Panthers couldn’t key on any one, two, three or more Bucs players.

The defense was going to hurt the Stinking Panthers one way or another, from someone different just nearly every possession.

Just in the second half alone was a few games worth of plays.

* Sean Murphy-Bunting made a key pick.

* Joe Tryon-Shoyinka flushed Sam Darnold out of the pocket on third down and chased him down the sideline as Darnold kept retreating and he had no choice but to throw the ball away and force a punt.

* Anthony Nelson made a critical strip-sack.

* Vita Vea crawled through bodies to bellyflop on the ball that Nelson popped loose.

Bucs players made key plays from all sorts of positions that Carolina was dizzy. That’s the kind of defense the Bucs will need in the playoffs.

Dynamic Duo Suffocated Carolina Run Game.

Last week Carolina, which has used a newfound run game to make a run at the playoffs, absolutely bulldozed Detroit on the ground rolling up 320 yards. Of rushing alone!

So folks around these parts were worried that the Stinking Panthers might gouge the Bucs in the run game. The two beefy Bucs defensive tackles, Akiem Hicks and Vita Vea saw to it that their streak stood up.

Before yesterday’s game, when Hicks and Vea both started the Bucs were 5-1. When one or the other couldn’t play, the Bucs were 2-7. This was because when both played, teams couldn’t run the ball on the Bucs.

Perhaps knowing this and seeing both Hicks and Vea on the field, Carolina coach Steve Wilks decided to go to the air with Darnold. Was that a dumb move? Well, the Stinking Panthers did jump out to a 14-0 lead.

But just as the Bucs said last week they wanted to do, they did. Hicks and Vea helped make Carolina a one-dimensional team. The Bucs, it seemed, were just fine if Carolina put the ball in Darnold’s hands.

When the game was over with and the dust settled, Carolina’s run game was a shell of what it was against Detroit. Carolina ran the ball 22 times for 74 yards, an average of 3.4 yards a carry.

That, folks, is solid defense.

You’re Screwed.

Joe has to share a cool thing that had to be the worst nightmare for a pass rusher. On a particular dropback by Tom Brady, it appeared Carolina pass rusher Yetur Gross-Matos lined up inside and ran a stunt where he spun to the outside on Bucs right guard Shaq Mason.

What made Joe laugh was that Gross-Matos, after he spun off Mason, took maybe two steps toward Brady and there standing in front of him, both feet planted and body squared up, was Bucs All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs.

Play over! LOL

Wirfs looked like he swallowed Gross-Matos in one bite. Of course, Wirfs is a huge human and through Joe’s binoculars Gross-Matos simply vanished when he tried to bullrush Wirfs.

Joe can only imagine what went through Gross-Matos’ mind when he saw Wirfs ready to eat him alive. Joe can only think that Gross-Matos had the same reaction when Curly of “The Three Stooges” is confronted by a monster.


Funny Story On Offensive Line.

So yesterday in the locker room, Joe was talking to Mason about Mike Evans and how Evans balled out. And Mason was telling Joe that offensive linemen love it when a quarterback throws bombs for touchdowns.

Often, Mason said, offensive linemen don’t see the play as they are engaged with defenders. So they listen for the crowd noise. Mason told Joe how stoked he and the rest of the line was when Brady and Evans connected.

That didn’t seem to add up with Joe. So Joe asked Mason, “Thought offensive linemen get off by a punishing run attack where you are blasting holes open in the defense and blasting defenders so badly they are ready to cry for their moms?”

Mason said that’s true but the line also loves a completed bomb for a touchdown just as much.

Joe thought for a split second and then asked Mason, “Is that because you know you’re getting off the field?”

Mason’s face broke out in a huge smile and he said, “Oh yes.”

19 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. MadMax Says:

    A lot of people think i was smoking something when i said i think we’re baiting teams…but look at the first half of that cincy game and then the last quarter of yesterdays game…its either that or pure luck. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. Now lets win out and get our third SB and the goat’s 8th.

  2. Yucs2Bucs Says:

    No Baiting MM, but everyone in that group should buy the punter something!! Can’t believe that play and at least we get one home game

  3. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Ryan Jensen will work extra hard getting ready for the next two weeks , and when he returns and Bucs begin having a better rushing attack-watch out NFC.

  4. teacherman777 Says:


    “Right tackle?” Shaq Mason?

    You mean “right guard”

  5. teacherman777 Says:

    William Gholston over looked again.

    William Gholston is the main reason we shut their rushing attack down.

    Gholston was all over the field.

    Gholston belongs in the Ring of Honor one day.

    I hope we re-sign him next year for 2 more years.

  6. Tony Says:

    We’re just catfishing teams. Making everyone think we suck like we can’t score & then BAM! We’re gonna go back to averaging 40 POINTS! We’re just reeling them in.

  7. Cchead Says:

    Defense gave the offense the ball at the 5 and they scored. The other 2 TD”s were on drives running a no huddle. All Brady, so by my count not one td drive longer than 5 yards was a Leftwich play called drive. Coincidence?

  8. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    I said before the game that if the D-line won at the line of scrimmage……then this team would have a chance…….well they did that!!!!!

    Any Bucs LONGTIME Fans loves defense……and they balled out yesterday.

    The offense yesterday stalled out yesterday a few times… rushing attack….blocked FG, missed extra point…muffed punt then Miracle kick…..<——–I know all bucs fans were thinking "here we go again…same ol bucs"

    But who knew the O-Line would give Brady plenty of time yesterday?????

    But Byron Leftwich needs to just delete the 1st down inside run with Lenny completely from his playbook…cause that ain't working bro.

  9. NEfan Says:

    Sam Donald threw for 347 and 3 tds and the Bucs were sweating it out with 20+ seconds left. That’s NOT good. Carolinas goal was to score 20, they did and then some. 14 point right out of the gate. The O had to make heroic plays to win. Relying on your punter to be a contortionist seems a bit obtuse.

    The D may have stopped the run and had a few key turnovers but for the most part it wasn’t great.

    The ST coach should be fired today, bad field position ALL game and a blocked FG. A good ST is supposed to help a team not.hurt them. This crap has been going on way too long.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    On a negative note……usually we are talking about Succop helping us win…..bad day yesterday……Missed FG, Blocked FG, Missed extra point…..
    Let’s hope he got that all out of his system.

    I still can’t believe Camarda’s play……unbelieveable….

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Looking at that pic of RNR….I’m wondering what sort of shots you’d need to take if he bit you…….

  12. David G Says:

    When the Bucs win the Superbowl this year, Jake Camarda better get BIG Props!
    If he would have ran out of bounds we all might be ranting and raving about how Brady is getting old( by the way thats BS!) and Mike Evans idone ( Which is even bigger BS) He punted the ball with his right foot running to the left with a 300lb’er in his face!!!! That is a BALLER play!

  13. mike Says:

    We won and thats what matters but I really wish the tampa media would stop acting like the bucs defense has been playing good.

    All week joe you wrote stories and talked about the putrid panthers. Our defense got blistered by sam darnold. yes they came up with plays when it was needed but even when bucs went up 2 possesions the defense let them back in.

    The bucs defense typically starts slow but all the talk is about the crappy defense. the bucs defense has faced a lot of subpar qbs. good defenses get off the field

    vs packers bucs defense if not for a fumble at 1 yard line would have let up 21 points to start packers game, they were shredded by chiefs. the bucs defense let the falcons come storming back in the 4th quarter, they couldn’t get triubinsky off the field, they were shredded in 2nd half by panthers, the ravens shredded them in 2nd half, the seahawks came storming back in 4th quarter, they couldn’t stop the browns, the saints in 2nd game moved ball almost at will, the 49ers destroyed them, the cardinals with nobody should have hit double digits.

    these are real numbers – especially when its a defensive coach that can stack the deck.

    the bucs have played 16 games this year and 10 of the qbs have been

    pj walker
    geno smith

    the bucs won this game inspite of the defense but it seems like it hurts joe too much to give leftwhich his due.


    None of this matters because its a single elimination now and the bucs are 3 wins from a superbowl

  14. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Who knows Ira, maybe Bruce left an omen on the field of play right after his induction. It might have rubbed off on the offensive side of the ball. We had coach Bowles talking about it post game how the team came alive after halftime. Arians might have dropped some laced chicken bones on the field of play to get rid of that offensive hex called Leftwich. Even coach Bowles opened up about the change, interesting isn’t it. I was falling asleep with arms folded during the entire first half. You know what I am talking about Ira, the phrase same old Buc’s was starting to creep into my vocabulary. I was about to scream at the top of my lungs when something dropped out of the sky. It was a football Ira, a football. It was thrown by the greatest quarterback ever to launch footballs. To a reciever that will be, hopefully one day inducted into the hall with your expert analysis.

  15. Buccos Says:

    Any real Bucs fan is over the moon excited right now. How many seasons in our history have we made the playoffs? How many times have we won our division? We didn’t even win the division the last time we won the Super Bowl. That was quite an accomplishment. And now we have a home playoff game with Tom Brady as our quarterback. It’s like we are in a dream. We have a top 10 defense and the number one qb of all time

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    PewterStiffArm…it’s not Ira’s article.

  17. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    Zyon seems to be playing really well on SP. When we punt he is always beating Scotty to the ball

  18. Tony Says:

    That punt should be the punt of the year. Thank God for that because Carolina probably would’ve won it then.

  19. BucU Says:

    Cut Succup. He’s terrible. Let Jake handle field goals.