Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Cowboys

January 17th, 2023

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It ended with a whimper. The season, and perhaps an era.

The 2022 Bucs bowed out passively and decisively Monday evening, run over 31-14 by America’s Team  as a national TV audience witnessed a public beatdown. It was the only game of the wild-card round that wasn’t competitive, at least for a long stretch, and the extent of the drubbing gives the Glazers much to think about in the next few weeks.

Give the Cowboys credit — except for kicker Brett Maher they played a terrific game. They rolled up 26 first downs and each of their first four TD drives covered at least 80 yards. The Bucs were guilty of busted coverages, poor tackling and not nearly enough pressure against Dak Prescott, who nervously started 0-for-3 and then completed 25 of his final 30 pass attempts.

The other side of the ball was equally depressing for Buc Nation. In throwing a career-high 66 passes, Tom Brady played poorly, averaging only 5.3 yards per pass attempt. The run game, used sparingly, provided little help.

Brady thanked the local media after the game in what some are interpreting as a signal he has thrown his final pass as a Buccaneer. What we know for a fact is the Cowboys are headed for San Francisco and Brady is headed to his family and support team as he contemplates retirement.

Should Brady desire to play next fall, he might look at Tampa Bay’s 8-10 record and decide this team isn’t good enough to compete for a championship next season.

Ownership could think likewise. It was that kind of night.

Here’s how Big D made the Bucs look small:

* Tampa Bay’s defense, which had kept this team afloat for much of the season, suffered through a miserable evening. The visitors converted 7-of-13 on third down, controlling the ball for nine more minutes, and went 4-for-4 in the red zone. Prescott had too much time to survey the field as he threw four TD passes and ran for another score.

* Lavonte David led all players with 14 tackles in what may be his final game in a Buc uniform. David turns 33 next week and that’s a dicey age for a team that needs to get younger across the board. Admit it, the Bucs got old in a hurry this year.

* Maher, who missed his first four extra-point attempts, has five days to regain his confidence before facing San Francisco. Good luck with that.

* The Bucs made Dalton Schultz look like Travis Kelce. Schultz caught 7 passes for 95 yards and a pair of scores, schooling Tampa Bay’s secondary along the way.

* The Bucs trailed only 6-0 when Brady tried to throw a pass into the stands on second-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Instead of a fan grabbing a souvenir, safety Jayron Kearse ended Brady’s streak of 409 consecutive red-zone throws without an interception. It was the game’s most critical play and there’s no else to blame except No. 12.

* Chris Godwin caught another 10 passes, but had only 85 yards to show. Godwin deserves credit for a big comeback season, but he’s capable of averaging a lot more than his 9.8 yards per catch this season.

* Were the Bucs a better team than their record shows? Not really. For the season, they scored 327 points and yielded 389. For those mathematically challenged, that’s a minus-62 differential. No wonder Cameron Brate readily acknowledged the 2022 Bucs seriously underachieved.

* In a few weeks, the movie “80 for Brady” will open nationally. We just saw “14 for Brady.” It was a flop.

* Tampa Bay’s first six full possessions went this way: punt, punt, interception, punt, punt, punt. By the time the Bucs woke up with a score on the final snap of the third quarter, they were down 24-0. Brate added an 8-yard TD catch with 2:04 remaining. That could well be Brady’s final TD pass and Brate’s no dummy. — the Harvard man kept the football.

* The return of Ryan Jensen was supposed to give this team a boost, but there was no juice to be found as thousands of Cowboys fans in the house rejoiced. Prescott notched his second career playoff win while Brady fell to 35-13 in the postseason. The offseason now begins for the Bucs. Why does it feel like the end of an era?

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

Ira with his good friend and draft guru Sean Sullivan, general manager of Bill Currie Ford and host of the Best In Class podcast. Sean will help you personally in any way he can. Just ask!!!

25 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Cowboys”

  1. Coburn Says:

    One thing they had in common with chargers second half.Can’t run the ball, become one dimensional… You lose

  2. Max Says:

    It’s hard to keep reloading and going “all-in” 2 years in a row, 3 is just impossible as we saw. Time to get youngry again.

  3. Bosch Says:

    I have absolutely NO interest in seeing the movie 80 for Brady. Even as Bucs fanf I am just worn out hearing about Brady.

  4. steele Says:

    Perhaps more painful than this season is hearing the “80 for Brady” was finished and will be inflicted on the world.

  5. steele Says:

    Did Brady’s mysterious absence from camp involve him finishing his bad movie?

  6. Bucsfan13 Says:

    No, Steele. It was reported that he had a preplanned trip that was made before his retirement. It was one last ditch to save his marriage. Filming finished in the summer. From what I hear, he only has a few scenes. Brady wouldn’t ditch the team to film a movie.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    Well, the end of an era means the beginning of a new one. In a way, I’m glad it’s over. This was an unremarkable season and it really shouldn’t have been. We watched a LOT of bad football this season!

  8. Kenny Says:

    NOT the best feeling after the Bucs lose bad to the cowboys, but it wasn’t there year, they need some coaching changes FAST and if i was a betting man, I don’t think you will see TB12 in Tampa next season, I say take that 10yr FOX DEAL worth over 300 million plus and do that.

  9. gotbbucs Says:

    Halfway through the 3rd quarter I was cheering for a shutout. Say what you will about me as a fan, I’m looking out for the best interest of the franchise. However bad it has to get to force changes, that’s what I want.

    Bowles played the exact same defense last night against Dallas as he did in the season opener last year. Corners playing 10 yards off WR’s and bailing out on the snap. Once Dallas figured that out the game was over, it was just pitch and catch again all night. I get it, we don’t have the horses up front to get consistent pressure, but you’re never going to get in the backfield playing coverage like that. It’s death by a thousand paper cuts.

    I don’t think the Glazers have the stomach for it, but it’s time for a regime change. Problem is they’re already behind all the other coachless clubs as far as interview schedules, and these guys don’t make these decisions quickly, so it might be a week or two before they decide to jettison everybody.

    Anyway, I’m done with this current group. I was going to cut Bowles some slack for the way everything was just kind of thrown in his lap in the offseason, but I just haven’t seen anything to make me a true believer.

  10. Bucs Guy Says:

    If the Bucs dump Bowles (which I don’t believe they will for financial reaons)reasons, who do you hire? First time, young offensive mind or experienced head coach looking for another shot. Heard Norv Turner is avaiIable.. LOL

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Sage, 2 of your observations say it all …

    o ‘Admit it, the Bucs got old in a hurry this year’.
    o ‘Were the Bucs a better team than their record shows? Not really.’

    For most teams, that could be summarized as ‘Major rebuild just got underway’. For the Bucs? It’s anybody’s guess right now.

    Not only are too many players too old, but the same goes for this coaching staff overall. BA brought in the dinosaurs. Their expertise worked while Tampa Bay had top-tier talent, but this is not the coaching staff that the Bucs now need going forward. What we just saw is what we’ll get more of IF the Glazers retain this coaching staff. And yet, no top-tier coach (and assistant coaches) want to inherit an albatross. And that’s what our high number of FAs, salary CAP situation & mid-tier (at best) draft choices represent.

    As a long-time fan, I’ve accepted that the Bucs are in for a several year major rebuild. Could be as few as 2 years if all the right decisions are made, but more likely longer than that (hey, this is the Bucs we’re talking about).

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I must admit, I’m surprised our defense collapsed last night……I thought it was healthy and would perform well…..
    The red zone int from Brady was yet another early game disaster that crumbled the team’s momentum…….a mentally weak team because of mentally weak coaching.
    I have no confidence in Bowles but I guess we need to give him at least a chance with his own assistants. But, I would force him to get younger, leaner, cheaper.

    Thanks Ira….I know you have the Ronde Barber work to do this AM…..

  13. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    Sure we lost. But the important things are guys didn’t get gassed and Julio played.

  14. mark2001 Says:

    Above average talent horribly coached. The Glazers aren’t Culverhouse. This is a business to them. If Bowles doesn’t go, it will cost this team dearly. We have an exciting Jacksonville team to the north. A good Miami team to the south. IF they diddly around, it could cost them a third of the fan base. And attendance?… Birds will be able to nest in the stands, where they can quietly raise their broods.

  15. mark2001 Says:

    Is Todd in the Lovie coaching tree??

  16. mark2001 Says:

    Jason…. if Bowles and Lefty are the branches on the Arians coaching tree, you better prune those twisted branches off the tree.

  17. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    The Bucs were a bad team this year. Their regular season record reflected that and last night’s debacle proved it. The Bucs will definitely be wandering in the desert for a few years as the team recovers from salary cap hell and transitions away from older veterans to new talent. I don’t think we’re in for a rebuild though; it’s more of a reload. There’s still plenty of young talent on the team, so I wouldn’t want to “throw the baby out with the bath water.” I certainly think we have the talent to be competitive as the team reloads. We just need the right coach. Can the Bucs find someone like Dan Campbell? I love what he is doing with Detroit.

  18. A Says:

    I don’t want to see the 2023 for Bucs unless we have major changes.

    Zero hope for 2023 – let’s see, boring offense….we’ll play zone where receivers will run wide open…do you really see more than 4 wins next year?

  19. Brandon Says:

    I don’t understand why more people aren’t seeing the biggest problem… our refusal to throw the ball down the field early. Out of all the throws in the first half, all but about two were five yards beyond the LOS or less. That is a huge problem and why our short routes are jumped and receivers don’t get open. Even an incomplete down the field will serve to keep defenses honest. Hopefully, Leftwich will be shown the door today… and he can take Brady and the fake Buc fans with him. We need salary cap relief and cutting Lenny (the most overrated RB and least effective runner), Smith (Brandon Walton played about as well at a tiny percent of his salary), and a few others might bring it. With a good offensive coach and a solid QB, we can still be in contention. We still have great weapons on offense and a competent D most of the time.

  20. RuKa_44 Says:

    @Joe: don’t you thing that this result and the way the game was played cannot be a surprise, neither is the defense being so bad?

    This year against good offenses we looked exactly like this… the same last year.. the same in the first half of 2020… the same in the first season of Tod Bowles here.
    The playoff run is the exception in 4 years of bad defense. Todd Bowles is supposed to be a defensive guru but I don’t see how and where!!

    That secondary is together for 4 years… in 4 years Bowles was unable to prepare them?? After years together they still have coverage breakdowns and communication problems!! How is this possible?? If Bowles is that good of a defensive kind, how come this happens????

    If the Glazers have balls and care for more than money, they should fire Bowles as well. He will never lead this team to glory. If he could not do it with a veteran group full of good players and with the best player ever to play the game on it, how will he do it when he has a “normal” roster???

  21. Cobraboy Says:

    Bucs circa 2022 was a classic example of what poor coaching produces with a decent roster.

    I don’t blame the players. I blame the coaches 110%.

    Pathetic coaching job since the day BA retired.

    Bowels’ NYJ experience is what he brings to Tampa.

    I hope the Glazers take a hard, non-PC look. If Bowles & Co. are back, RayJay will have empty seats.

  22. John V Says:

    Brandon, how did you expect the Bucs to throw down field last night when the Cowboys had instant pressure on Brady for the competitive part of the game? It’s no secret what happened this year compared to the previous two. Offensive line loses two starters- one to retirement and another to free agency-then gets a ton of injuries…and no Gronk as a blocking tight end.

    Add that to no running game and no quarterback running threat to keep defenses honest and you have tight throwing windows with a small time to throw into them.

    TL:DR the O line crushed this offense all year

  23. Power of Pewter Says:

    As much as Brady’s play slipped this year, Bucs would be a 4-win team without him. And they begin the 2023 season $40 million over the cap, before they even re-sign their own FAs. The Bucs are too old, too highly paid for their production, too often injured…that points to a rebuild. And the office and coaches that created this mess shouldn’t be tasked with fixing it.

  24. Craig Says:

    The best offensive weapon for Dallas was the Tampa Bay defense.

    Dak was not a world class QB last night. All of his receivers had to adjust to the ball, regretfully, the Bucs gave them enough room to do that.

    Their run game was trash too, but our DBs made up for that.

  25. BOB Says:

    GM needs to cut payroll & draft better. Best OL or DL should be 1st pick & 2nd pick. Call Roseman from Eagles for cap advice. He had Wentz 35m dead cap hit & still had cap space last year. Spent too much on LB’s for their production.
    Fournette, Evans, Godwin, Gage, Barrett & David cut or restructured to reduce cap numbers. Whichever way helps the cap.
    Hope Brady retires, but don’t bring him back.