Schiano Man (Christian Izien) Proves Clutch In First NFL Game

September 10th, 2023

“Todd, I told you Christian Izien could play!”

It was a Toes on the Line moment.

The 5.5-point-favorite Vikings looked like they were about to control the game. Before this particular play, Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield had played horribly. The Bucs’ running attack was worse than last year. The defense was solid (except for guarding Justin Jefferson).

How long could the defense hold out with such little support?

Minnesota had the ball on the Bucs-13 with 23 seconds left in the first half. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins tried to hit K.J. Osborn at the two-yard line but instead, Rutgers product and Schiano Man, Christian Izien got a pick.

The rookie nickel corner saved the Bucs’ bacon to keep the score at 10-10.

“I went out there with confidence because of the preparation I had all week,” Izien said. “My teammates kept reassuring me, that I was out here for a reason. They had confidence in me that I could go out there and do my job.”

“That was big for me.”

Izien explained that knowing he had won the starting nickel corner job, as an undrafted rookie no less, gave him confidence. But he added his teammates encouragement boosted that confidence.

“It is always good to go out there with confidence,” Izien said. “That’s what the game is all about, confidence. How I came here and that I didn’t go in the draft, I put that all behind me. I came [to the Bucs] to ball.”

Not only did Izien have a critical interception, he also had a helluva of an open-field tackle to get the Bucs defense off the field on third down earlier in the game.

Izien said he was surprised he wasn’t targeted more by Cousins — because he was a new face.

Joe asked Izien if he thought he would be targeted more because he is a rookie? Why would Cousins target receivers running on Carlton Davis’ or Jamel Dean’s turf when they could expose a rookie?

“I felt like I was going to be a bigger target,” Izien said. “I wasn’t.”

Now that there is tape of Izien in a real NFL game, the way he played in clutch moments, he might be targeted less.

Izien finished with three tackles, a pass defended and an interception.

22 Responses to “Schiano Man (Christian Izien) Proves Clutch In First NFL Game”

  1. Sly Pirate Says:

    Play of the YEAR!!!
    It might stand for a few weeks.

    Best undrafted free agent start ever. Welcome to the Bucs

  2. Rod Munch Says:

    He won that job as early as I ever remember for a UDFA. A pretty remarkable find.

  3. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Thanks Schiano. Schiano always had decent defenses in his Bucs stint.

  4. NJbucs23 Says:

    Great scouting

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Confidence is crucial for a rookie….especially an un-drafted one……and he got it in game one!!!

  6. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Great play, but also blew back to back plays later in the game to let the Vikings score. He’s still a rookie, I get it, but let’s not act like it didn’t happen

  7. adam from ny Says:

    izien is very strong…like a little hulk…he just snatched the ball away from that dude like “what what punk, gimme dat sh!t”

  8. Duane Says:

    Hmmm … JBF is not talking any more about how take-always are not as important as sacks.

    It’s just one game, but takeaways were clearly the margin of victory today. The CBS broadcast crew stated exactly that just before the start of the second half, Ryan saying that the first half looked like the score should have been 28-3 Vikings but for the Bucs takeaways.

  9. adam from ny Says:

    if you were watching the game closely and not just chugging brews…they were going after izien and exploiting him a bit as well…

    other teams will see this and scheme to work him over…he still is a young rook

  10. EternalSon Says:

    Great start, Izien!

  11. EternalSon Says:


  12. Pewter Power Says:

    Schiano definitely knows defense but quarterbacks not so much

    Ever since the first preseason game I’ve been a fan of Izien

  13. stpetebucfan Says:

    It was a great debut! Sadly he also got to learn that the Bucs sometimes need to play two hand touch on defense with the zebras.

    I won’t go as far as saying that interference call was the worst I’ve seen but given the circumstances it was really poor. A zebra making a very CLOSE call at best that could have changed the entire outcome and a call that came suspiciously late. Perhaps I just missed the flag toss on TV.

    Whatever I’m glad Izien got a real baptism in his first game. Our DB’s played very well.

  14. RGA Says:

    The DB’s gave up 344 yards of passing to Kirk Cousins, they should and can do better. Bowles needs to play more man which is their strength, stay away from zone as much as possible.

  15. adam from ny Says:

    yeah but they might have give up close to 250 of those yards in the first half with all those non stop big chunk plays…

    in the 2nd half they seemed to def get that more under control…

    the D has to work on figuring that out…other good teams will try to copy that against us moving forward

  16. Wild Bill Says:

    New guys made big plays on both offense and defense. UDFAs showed up!

  17. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist and Founder of Says:

    The kid is a baller.

  18. Morgus the Magnificient Says:

    ALSO, it was a BS PI call on Izien.

  19. orlbucfan Says:

    Bucs Radio fan here. Licht has a nose for sniffing out UDFAs. I have a bunch of new player names to learn. The Vikings’ offense is no cupcake. This is a very good learning experience for the entire Bucs team.

  20. Jay Molina Says:

    Let’s pump the brakes a little. He did play well, but he also allowed both of the Vikings TD’s so let’s not get too excited.

  21. Jerid421 Says:

    YEAH!!! What Jay Molina said!!!! ^^^^ Dude got burned on the first touchdown over the top. Then, he didn’t wrap up on the goal-line pass to Mattison that resulted in a touchdown (which also featured Carlton Davis loafing around the goal line and watching him miss the tackle instead of gang tackling). And his “interception” was actually a strip of a completed pass. So, let’s temper expectations and pump the breaks on crowning him Rookie of The Year.

  22. Bob Buc Says:

    Morgus the Magnificient Says:
    September 11th, 2023 at 7:58 am
    ALSO, it was a BS PI call on Izien.

    Agreed. That call was sooooo soft.