Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Vikings

September 10th, 2023

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An opportunistic Buc defense had plenty to celebrate on that giddy plane ride back from Minneapolis.

The Vikings, who went 8-1 at home last season, had to settle for a halftime tie despite dominating in time of possession and total yards. Tampa Bay punted five times in its first six possessions while the other drive in that span saw the Bucs fail to gain a yard, settling for a field goal despite taking over at the Minnesota 18 following a fumble.

Justin Jefferson was enjoying a big first half, but three Buc takeaways allowed time for Baker Mayfield to find his rhythm. Instead of being down 10 points heading into the third quarter, Dave Canales could stick to his game plan and hope the pass protection up front solidified well enough to give Mayfield a fighting chance.

The Vikings made a living out of winning the close ones in 2022. Not this time as the underdog visitors made the key plays in crunch time.

And while there were many accolades to hand out after the 20-17 triumph, there’s also the sense that the Bucs can play considerably better next week in the home opener against the Bears.

When you win the turnover battle 3-0, especially on the road, you give yourself a fighting chance. The one thing that jumped out for Buc fans Sunday was the fighting spirit on this roster.

Here’s how the Bucs won their third consecutive season opener:

New Bucs kicker Chase McLaughlin.

Chase McLaughlin is the Bucs’ new top-dog kicker.

* That’s why he’s here. If Ryan Succop wandered the sidelines instead of Chase McLaughlin, the Bucs don’t even think about attempting a tie-breaking 57-yard field goal with 5:10 remaining. Succop was reliable, but Todd Bowles wanted a stronger leg for moments like these. McLaughlin’s line-drive kick was right down the middle, with yards to spare. It’s no fluke — McLaughlin converted nine times last year from at least 50 yards out for Indianapolis.

* Mayfield didn’t have much of a chance at the start as Minnesota’s pass rush was on him. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores had success with the blitz, but Mayfield had more time in the second half and it showed as he completed 15-of-19 passes in the final two quarters. Luke Goedeke held his own against premier edge rusher Danielle Hunter.

* The run game still needs a lot of work. Rachaad White gained 39 yards on his 17 carries and his long gain was a mere six yards. That’s especially troubling because Minnesota is not known for physical defense.

Baller safety Antoine Winfield, Jr.

* Antoine Winfield is back in his natural safety position and comfort has its advantages. He was all over the field Sunday with eight tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. If healthy, he has the look of a Pro Bowler.

* Jefferson is going to get his … he’s that good. By the end of the season, he could be approaching 2,000 receiving yards once again, but Tampa Bay’s secondary took him out of the game in the second half. After catching seven passes for 138 yards in the opening two quarters, Jefferson was limited to only two additional receptions for 12 yards, frustrating Kirk Cousins and building confidence within the Buc defense.

* Bowles hasn’t been happy with his run defense for the past few years, but Minnesota’s ground game went nowhere. Dalvin Cook was sorely missed as the Vikings averaged a mere 2.4 yards on 17 rushing attempts. Devin White and Lavonte David stuffed the run lanes with precision and it helps that Cousins is no threat to scramble.

“Our expectation was to compete in the run game and they’ve historically been a very, very good heavy front to run against,” said Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell. “They were exactly that.”

* Undrafted Christian Izien experienced the highs and lows of pro football in a single afternoon during an auspicious NFL debut. Installed as Tampa Bay’s nickel back, Izien turned in an extraordinary interception, wrenching the ball away from K.J. Osborn at the goalline. Izien was also involved in some busted coverages. It’s all about handling the growing pains for a talented rookie out of Rutgers.

* Carlton Davis was responsible for a huge play when he deflected a third-down pass in the final minutes to force a punt. With the game hanging in the balance, the Vikings went 3-and-out on their final two possessions. “We’re just getting started,” Davis crowed after Tampa Bay’s stellar defensive effort.

* Overall, Buc offensive coaches won’t like the game film. Tampa Bay averaged only 3.6 yards on 68 snaps and the only play that gained more than 16 yards was Mayfield’s 28-yard TD strike to Mike Evans. Meanwhile, Cousins had eight completions of at least 18 yards. Yes, it was a challenging environment, but Minnesota’s defense was atrocious last year.

* Much to the delight of Buc fans, Bowles played to win. He didn’t think twice about punting from his own 32 with 8:18 remaining in a tie game. Instead, Mayfield ventured left behind Tristan Wirfs and Matt Feiler, converting on fourth-and-1. Mayfield made it by inches, but he made it. Bowles showed confidence in Canales and his players and he was rewarded handsomely for that conviction. Of course it helps when Chris Godwin makes a fantastic sideline catch to seal the deal.

49 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Vikings”

  1. adam from ny Says:

    now let’s thump da bears and get to 2-0

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    TBBF’s 10 Takeaways

    !. No turnovers
    2. 57 yard FG
    3. Devin White
    4. Mayfield scrambling
    5. Special Teams
    6. Great Punts
    7. Going for it on 4th down
    8. Godwin’s catch for a 1st down
    9. Few Penalties
    10. Myron Lewis didn’t suit up.

  3. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Todd Bowles, thats what I took away from this game. Going for it on 4th down in the 4th on his side of the field and calling for his kicker to make a 57yd FG in the 4th quarter of a tie game, when a miss would have put the Vikings close to FG range. He didn’t coach scared, he coached to win. Hopefully that continues.

  4. gotbbucs Says:

    Ugly win, but a win nonetheless. That though was not a good defense that our offense just struggled against.
    Rachaad White tip toeing in the backfield and never attempting to hit max speed on any run isn’t going to get it done. NFL running lanes aren’t gapping like NCAA, you have to hit them when they’re open and get what you can get. He didn’t do anything to make me forget the ever frustrating Leonard Fournette running style. By mid season this team is going to wish like crazy that they had used a draft pick on this last year’s deep running back class.
    Baker needs to settle those feet down in the pocket. My lord that dude has some happy feet. That second half he had great protection and he was already panicking after his first read waiting for a hit that was still three seconds away from potentially happening.
    Very little to complain about as far as the defense is concerned. They bent but didn’t break and made the plays they needed to make when they had opportunities. Having Kancey healthy would be huge for these guys though. He’s just a different kind of cat that this roster has no comparable for, so when he’s not out there they lose a major element of speed.

  5. stpetebucfan Says:

    “The one thing that jumped out for Buc fans Sunday was the fighting spirit on this roster.”

    Whoop there it is! That’s not the only thing but perhaps the major difference from last year. The 2023 Bucs played like they were ready and fired up. Last year starting with the most important position there just seemed to be a lack of committment and real desire…a lot of DISTRACTION!!!

    Another difference that was major…a QB whose nerves are not totally shot by two decades of getting blasted..who was not a freaking immobile statue..who threw the ball away quickly. There were at least 3 plays Baker makes that TB12 does not have in him. Scrambles and that Patrick Mahomes push/flick of a pass to turn a sure sack into a short gain.

    The entire VIBE felt totally different from last season.

  6. Pryda…sec147 Says:

    Jason licht is somewhere, drinking a beer and jumping into his pool

  7. stpetebucfan Says:

    BTW let’s see how long the committment lasts. If they play with their hair on fire all season the Bucs certainly have a shot at the playoffs. Get to the playoffs and see what happens.

  8. Tbbucs3 Says:

    This was Todd Bowels best coaching job as a head coach, last year’s Bowels would’ve punted.

    Also, Racheed White is trending toward Ronald Jones 2.0….runs with no explosion and looks slow (40 times don’t translate to real football)

  9. Beej Says:

    NFC south: Neither Atlanta nor Carolina can pass the ball (both RUN very well, which we’re better able to deal with), Saints looked ok. We have a shot

  10. go dawgs Says:

    dungy ball rules!!!!

  11. Jerseybuc Says:

    White gets 1 more chance than it’s tucker time he was more explosive and better overall

  12. Mac Says:

    I don’t see it with white at all. We should of drafted a rb for sure. Tucker may end up the starter in a few weeks. White dances as referenced too much before hitting the hole.

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    Chicago rushed for 122 yards today at 4.2 a clip … and lost by 18.

    I really don’t get why people care about the rushing game in 2023.

    In any case, if Mayfield can play like he did in the second half, it will open up the run game.

    Also for the dullards repeating what Tiki said, that White needs to run into the back of his offensive lineman like he’s Michael Pittman … uh, no. If you bothered to watch his college tape, White is a patient runner, much like Bell was in his early career. But you still need some holes, and I think as the season goes along, those will start to appear.

  14. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I wonder how Peter King feels about his Bucs “prediction” now. I know it’s only one game, but talk about making him look like an complete imbecile, the Bucs did exactly that to old Peter Puffer! Hahahaha

  15. VATom Says:

    Chris Godwin… dude is amazing, reliable, blue collar. I love me some Mike Evans. But he is lightning, strikes occassionally. Chris Godwin puts in the work week in and week out. Still need lightning to balance his contribtuions. Best 1 2 punch in Bucs history. Hope its not the last season of these two playing here together.

  16. Durango 95 Says:

    Izien got screwed on a pass interference call.

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    The Bucs never lose vs the Bears at home … and the Bears got demolished today.

    The Eagles meanwhile play the Vikings next week.

    That means it should be a battle for first place in the NFC in week 3 on MNF with the 2-0 Bucs vs 2-0 Eagles.

    And the Bucs don’t lose at home to the Eagles.

    But, if you know what I’ve said all summer, you know… well, just enjoy the ride and hope I’m wrong post week 3.

  18. Jerry Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    Chicago rushed for 122 yards today at 4.2 a clip … and lost by 18.
    I really don’t get why people care about the rushing game in 2023.

    Clock management and T.O.P.

    Vikings had twice as many passing yards as the Bucs and still lost.

  19. Joseph C Simmons Says:

    What Rod Munch said. Rachaad White will be fine, as long as the OL gels. White runs like Leveon Bell did in his Pittsburgh days: waits for the hole to develop, then slashes through it.

    The problem has been the OL, you know, developing a hole.

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    Jerry Says:
    September 10th, 2023 at 9:32 pm
    Rod Munch Says:
    Chicago rushed for 122 yards today at 4.2 a clip … and lost by 18.
    I really don’t get why people care about the rushing game in 2023.

    Clock management and T.O.P.


    I understand what you’re saying, but it’s just not the case anymore. The Bucs won today without the running game.

    Also the Bucs controlled the clock and TOP when Brady was here, and did so through the air.

    Chicago meanwhile lead the NFL in rushing last year, over 3000 yards which is insane, and ended up with the #1 pick in the draft.

  21. Crickett Baker Says:

    Playfield! 😀

  22. Popeboy Says:

    I’m not sure why people don’t give credit to the opposition. Flores had a good gameplan and Baker was only sacked once…… Once the adjustments were made after halftime the line was creating great pockets. Uno will be fine you guys will be singing his praise very soon. He has the perfect style for the line we have. In the 4 min drill when when teams know you want to run it we did. Not sure what the expectation is?

  23. Durango 95 Says:

    The Jason Licht trolls decided to take the night off.

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    I’m really shocked that the Giants suck, and Geno Smith sucked. It’s almost like they were both one-year wonders. Who could have ever seen that coming?

  25. Frank Pillow Says:

    RB1 looked slow, indecisive and couldn’t break tackles. His vision was suspect too. Tucker didn’t fare much better, but he’s a LOT quicker into the hole (he can actually read blocks and see open space). Not hard to imagine Tucker taking more snaps as the seasons goes on.

  26. No Mercy Says:

    We just got our first glimpse of Baker Slayfield

  27. adam from ny Says:

    i’m gonna say i think the players were impressed by coach’s ballsy call on 4th down…

    i think everyone who has anything to do with this team had to like that tude…

    a qb with moxy, a suddenly more ballsy coach, young rooks trying to find their place, vets holding things together and playing for contracts, media not believing in this post-brady group, and so on…could very well make for an entire group at one buc walking around quietly with a big chip on their shoulder…

    it took a minute today, but they really pulled it together and took home a victory in a very loud and tough environment to win…

    how nice would it be to thump da bears…and go into what would be a then big home game against the eagles 2-0

  28. Duane in Sanford Says:

    Room for improvement, but I give Bowles credit for getting these guys to play hard, and being the more savvy coach with the calls. He should have stollen Kevin O’Connell’s lunch money and he did. Just one game, but maybe something they can build on.

  29. Outsider Says:

    Ahhh but Fournette was the problem last year at rb right??? Hahahahahahahahahaha

  30. Tbbucs3 Says:

    A few more points to add.

    – Credit to Devin White for playing like an absolute beast today, his performance hasn’t been talked about nearly enough from what I’ve read.
    – Cousins lack of mobility undoubtedly helped the Bucs today, Fields will be tougher to defend than Cousins was today
    – The team culture and energy seemed X10 times better than it was last year….credit to Canales and Mayfield for helping bring a new energy and also helps when you replace washed disinterested vets like Coolio Jones and Lenny Fornette (who remains unsigned) with a younger more hungry roster.

  31. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    * Overall, Buc offensive coaches won’t like the game film. Tampa Bay averaged only 3.6 yards on 68 snaps and the only play that gained more than 16 yards was Mayfield’s 28-yard TD strike to Mike Evans. Meanwhile, Cousins had eight completions of at least 18 yards. Yes, it was a challenging environment, but Minnesota’s defense was atrocious last year.

  32. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    September 10th, 2023 at 9:31 pm
    The Bucs never lose vs the Bears at home … and the Bears got demolished today.

    The Bears have beaten the Bucs at home 17 times, literally.

    Darn facts……

  33. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Just realized that Kirk has to play the Eagles in 4 days. Ouch!

  34. Citrus County Says:

    I stand in agreement with stpetebucfan. Something is strange though. Mr. Coach Bowles appeared weak and indecisive last year and perhaps even ineffective. How did such a miraculous transformation take place ? Perhaps the puppet master strings have been severed. I have posted earlier that Mr. Coach Bowles did not convey strength in command leadership. I take back that statement and admit my misjudgment. If Mr. Coach Bowles can become the Bucs Mike Tomlin and Baker Mayfield can become our Drew Brees this franchise may indeed achieve stability.

  35. Rod Munch Says:

    Dododoouche…. I wasn’t being literal.

    However, since 1998, you know when they built the new stadium, the Bucs are 7-4 vs the Bears in Tampa. That’s the 3rd best home win % vs another team I believe, only the Vikings (7-1 by my count) and Packers (8-3 by my count) are worse in Tampa.

    Dang, makes you wish the Bucs had stuck in the NFC Central instead the boring and dull NFC South.

    Bucs are 3-5 vs the Lions though, for a preview of what is coming after that Eagles game.

  36. Buddha Says:

    Curb that enthusiasm a bit. Great win but 16 games remain. Baker 14 for 19 in the second half. Really impressive. Moxie!

  37. Citrus County Says:

    Just speculating … maybe Mr. Coach Bowles was told last year to shut up, sit down and just run the defense and let Brady and Leftnut run the offense. A situation such as that may have contributed to the misbehavior of said OC and the general malaise of the team.

  38. It's Corn Says:

    Hmm so maybe a little better than 32nd, huh everybody-outside-of-the-Tampa-Bay-area?

  39. Rod Munch Says:

    Cooper Rush with a 39.6 QB rating, LOL! What a bust!

  40. Woodenman Says:

    Really Munch getting cocky like the Vikings fans now. Like now we are just going to roll the bears knock it off slow your roll

  41. Rod Munch Says:

    Woodenman – not only the Bears, but the Eagles as well. Calling my shot.

  42. Seattle Buc is back in TB Says:

    Great Read Ira. What I want to know is..where is Ira’s go to joint for a Cuban Sandwich?

  43. adam from ny Says:

    74 Bucs Fan Says:
    September 10th, 2023 at 10:45 pm

    Just realized that Kirk has to play the Eagles in 4 days. Ouch!

    wow i’ just realizing this too…but what that means for us is the eagles will be popping into tampa fresh af on 10 to 11 days rest and time to prepare…

    sometimes in situations like this i wonder if it’s almost good to just go into a philly game and not prepare at all, and go in cold turkey…

    meaning, prepare for the bears this week, and prepare for 2 weeks for the saints, and just wing it vs philly, and see what happens..

    so if you beat the bears and saints, not only did you beat an nfc south opponent in new orleans, but you coast into the early bye week at 3-1…better than anyone anticipated…

    just some late night thoughts while wolfing down food

  44. Rod Munch Says:

    I was very much enjoying listening to Vikings fan panic as they cry about how the Vikings lost the easiest game on their schedule this year, and they could be 1-4 or even 0-5, and they started talking about what they’re going to do at QB next year, should they get someone in the draft or try to trade for Kyler Murray.

  45. K_bassuka Says:

    And that’s why you are the best Sage, always call it how it is. It was an overall great team win on the road and hopefully we play better vs the lousy Bears. Let’s go Bucs!

  46. First Name Greatest Says:

    Bucs proving the “Sage” (LOL) wrong with his 6 win prediction

  47. orlbucfan Says:

    Greetings Ira. Now, Bucs have 13 rookies on the roster this season? Most, if not all of them, are starting? Yeowsers!

  48. CHRISTOS Says:

    Congrats to the team for the win.
    Offense sure needs to improve and get better.
    Defense must improve the coverage a lot. They need to contest and defend more catches and be a little tighter. Turnovers are good but you have to find other ways to stop drives because in some games they will not happen.
    I get the bend but dont break but a top Defense, a really good Defense doesnt bend that much.
    Go Bucs

  49. garro Says:

    As usual you absolutely nailed it Ira!

    “Tampa Bay punted five times in its first six possessions while the other drive in that span saw the Bucs fail to gain a yard, settling for a field goal despite taking over at the Minnesota 18 following a fumble.”

    31 yards total untill the late 1st half drive. That folks is not gonna cut it.

    We will not win many playing from behind with this team. We were lucky to not be down by 14 at the half. Gotta start a lot faster than this and make some adjustments sooner than half time.

    Go Bucs!