Careful With One-Score Losses

April 6th, 2023

Close games.

Joe is very surprised to have not heard the Bucs crowing about this (yet).

Warren Sharp, the noted football handicapper turned stathead, Twittered out interesting intel on the Bucs and other teams yesterday. The Bucs had a handful of one-score losses last year. Sharp added them up and found 12.

So the Bucs lost four one-score games last year. That’s a big potential swing in the regular season record. When Dirk Koetter was head coach he always raved about how the Bucs were so close in one-score losses and how the team’s record could be easily flipped the next season.

The thing is, that can easily be spun the other way: Why did a team lose one-score games? That often comes down to one mistake, one wrong decision and one wrong playcall.

For example, if Todd Bowles doesn’t take the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands in Cleveland, there is a fair shot the Bucs win that game in regulation.

Now factor in Brady retired. Do fans really believe the Bucs would win those one-score games if Baker Mayfield or competing Kyle Trask was the quarterback?

The close losses are comforting with the knowledge that the defense, without top pass rushers, kept the Bucs in games. But should Joebelieve the Bucs can turn those one-score losses into 2023 wins?

21 Responses to “Careful With One-Score Losses”

  1. Rand Says:

    horse shoes and hand grenades

    by one score or a blow-out

    unfortunately it’s still a loss

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Your last paragraph question Joe makes it sound like you’re blaming the offense exclusively for those close losses. Looks to me like it worked both ways last year. Brady brought us back several times in the last quarter for wins, but the offense also fizzled several times. It was probably a push on the season, which is probably about right for a 8-9 team.

    I’ve long contended that every point counts, regardless of when it was scored in the game. Every one of those points … scored or allowed … contributes equally to the win or the loss. Still, there’s no question in my mind that BIG PLAYS are a huge part of almost every NFL game, and that fans tend to remember the BIG PLAYS closest to the end of the game the most.

    Bucs problem last season was multi-dimensional I think : we gave up too many big plays; we didn’t make enough big plays; we fell behind by too much too early. That was especially evident against the better teams like the Chiefs and other playoff teams. It’s hard for me to envision our offense scoring dramatically more points this season, but our defense MIGHT be better. A bunch depends on the draft and how well some of our youngsters like Hall, JTS and McCollum come along this season.

  3. sasquatch Says:

    Look at the teams bunched up with us and below us. They all suck. There’s nothing to thump your chest about here. Look where ATL is!

    There’s not much new here. The Bucs were terrible in 2022 no matter how you spin it.

  4. bob in valrico Says:

    Judging by the grouping above us. You could make the case case that 72 %
    of the NFL teams were more competitive than us.

  5. garro Says:

    Can’t for the life of me understand your point or your chart!

  6. garro Says:

    The reason we came up short on alot of those is because Byron didn’t unleash Brady until it was too late.

  7. garro Says:

    And giving up third and longs became our defenses forte late in games.

  8. Goatfarmer Says:

    One point losses count as a loss just as much as giving it up to KC lioke a crack whore. One score losses are for losers.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Garro … Took me awhile too, but it looks like (for instance) the Chiefs (17) played 17 regular season games in which they either won (14 wins) or lost by 1-score (they had 3 losses by 7 points or less). In the case of the Bucs (12), we won the 8 games but lost 4 games by 1-score (Packers, Steelers, Ravens, Browns).

    Not sure what the relationship is supposed to be between wins and close losses however, unless it’s supposed to indicate that those close losses could’ve gone either way (Bucs could’ve been 12-5 instead of 8-9?). Seems like looking at 1-score wins versus 1-score losses would tell more.

    Bucs won 6 games by 1-score, and lost 4 games by 1-score last season. Bucs won 6 games in 2021 by 1-score, and lost none by 1-score in going 13-4 (makes sense to me). In 2020 we won 3 games by 1-score, and lost 3 games by 1-score in going 11-5 and then going on to win the Super Bowl.

  10. Mike Says:

    All those stats tell me is that the NFL is a competitive league.

  11. R0n@Tampa Says:

    One stat to add is the Bucs have been in the post season 3 straight years and are back to back division champions. Bucs have an opportunity to string together division titles like the 49ers of old and the patriots in recent times. Maybe even exceed both clubs. Bucs will be good for a very long time and the other 3 teams will stink for awhile. I for one will enjoy watching the playoffs every year.

  12. Dooley Says:

    “It’s hard for me to envision our offense scoring dramatically more points this season, but our defense MIGHT be better.”


    Don’t think improving on our 25th ranked 18.2 ppg average is going to be that tall a task for Dave Canales to clear to be honest.

  13. RustyRhinos Says:

    “Do fans really believe the Bucs would win those one-score games if Baker Mayfield or competing Kyle Trask was the quarterback?”

    No way they do. Why do we support a garbage team like this? Forget about it. Let’s all go to JoeJagsfan Or JoeFinsFan. Then we can watch some real football! Never ever a one-score loss, with either of these teams. EVER. Never a QB controversy, never ever has the Jags and Fins ever made a bad draft choice, they are always in the playoffs, and every 1st, 2nd, 3rd round draft choice is a future Hall of Famer. They are always in the top 5 in Offense and Defense categories.

    Why again are we Buccaneer fans? To be browbeaten at how bad our team’s personnel and coaching decisions are, how bad our draft choices are, or how bad we will be this upcoming season. How bad our 2nd round QB is, or how bad our newly signed former 1st round QB is, and how bad they both will be together this season. How we need to #ColapseforCaleb and on and on and on. Facts- Joe’s has a great website and blog with a lot of great information, and cool stories, with a bunch of fluff and stuff. But to be hit over the head again and again and again about our shortfalls and the mountains we need to climb over.
    Can JBF not have any positive reporting/things Joe finds interesting as a daily segment? Ira is always an interesting read.
    {{kicking my soapbox down the alley}}

    GO!!!!! BUCS!!!!!

  14. Goatfarmer Says:

    The defense has been exposed. Ignore the data but it is right there. Gave up 33ppg to playoff teams on average last year. Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks are shaking their heads. It’s a mirage that these guys are good. They don’t know their assignments but at least they bust coverages and can’t tackle.

    KC 41
    SF 35 (with Brock fargin Purdy ( LOL)
    CIN 34
    DAL “playoff” 31
    BAL 27
    SEA 16

    At least they only gave up 500 yards to the Ravens.

  15. Dick LeBeau Jr. Says:

    If Baker or Trask were the QBs, what could’ve happened? We don’t know. Why? Because they weren’t playing in those games. It’s tiring that you continue to bash these guys before they’re allowed to play a full game. Hell, we could’ve won those games. Say we needed the QB to scramble for five yards. Well, I’m sure Baker would’ve been able to do that or willing to more so than Brady. Say Trask was more willing to throw the ball deep when he saw someone get open and then hang in the pocket a little longer and take a hit than what we saw Brady doing from the start of the season. Stop trying to compare those two with situations we have no clue on. Do better.

  16. Joe Says:

    It’s tiring that you continue to bash these guys before they’re allowed to play a full game.

    If you consider that “bashing” you must live a very soft, sheltered life. If Joe is going to bash someone, there would be zero doubt about it, trust Joe.

    But hey, if you think Kyle Trask or Baker Mayfield are Tom Brady’s equal when it comes to winning close games and coming from behind, knock yourself out.

  17. Dooley Says:

    “If you think Kyle Trask or Baker Mayfield are Tom Brady’s equal when it comes to winning close games and coming from behind, knock yourself out.”

    let’s be real, 2022 Tom Brady wasn’t equal to 2021 Tom Brady and there seems to be some disconnect discerning Brady the player from Brady the legend in the minds of football fans. There is reason to believe, 20 something year old players can offer more athletically than a 45 year old player, and to contest that it cannot be the case would take a lot of intellectual gymnastics.

    Sort of like using 6 games/a third of a season to call the defense “exposed” when the data indicates our offense scored less points than our defense allowed for the first time since 2018.

  18. LouisFriend Says:

    One score loss ratios and totals are virtually meaningless when determining team strength. The best indicator is actually games with 2+ score differences. For instance the Bucs were 2-5 in 2+ score games last year, while the Chiefs and Bills were 7-0 in the same outcomes. One of Bellichik’s people brought attention to this fact years ago. And time and time again it’s a very simple way to measure just how good – or horrible – a team really was.

    Ignore the one-score talk entirely, within it lies the most mediocre of results.

  19. lambchop Says:


    Why aren’t you equally fixated on the horrendous running game last year? Maybe because you’d have to admit that the OL was a huge reason our offense sucked last year.

    Brady had his distractions, Gronk was retired, we had an OC who couldn’t scheme himself out of a cardboard box, and the OL was decimated in the middle.

    If the running game was clicking, you’d have an argument that Brady deserved most of the blame. Lenny doesn’t drop off like that for no reason.

  20. Mike Johnson Says:

    All this tells me is, Brady’s age and physicality caught up with him last year. Couple that with every mans downfall..a beautiful woman leaving you. We lost 3 games last season that were easily winnable had brady been on point. And thats the truth/ Face the Music.

  21. Dooley Says:

    “Why aren’t you equally fixated on the horrendous running game last year?”

    Because this team has been bottom 3rd running the ball in terms of rush production since 2015, we were bottom 3rd in the league in 2020 and won a super bowl. It wasn’t just the OL that attributed to our league worst run game.

    I don’t get tunnel vision or fixated on one particular thing about this team and I’m also not going to reserve critiquing a particular player just off the strength the majority of football fans deified him. I got no problem being lied to, I just draw the line when people try to get you to believe a lie. Run game sucked, our pass game wasn’t anything to write home about in 2022 either. There’s no one person or scenario to blame for an 11 point drop in point production between 2021 or 2022, but I do believe everybody should be held accountable not just the other 10 guys on the field with Tom Brady because that’s an irrational way to look at things. If you or anybody else are alright lying to yourselves have at it, but film does not lie and everybody associated with our offense last year had a good amount of terrible film.