Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Falcons

October 22nd, 2023

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Owner Arthur Blank looked a little wobbly walking to the Atlanta interview room after Sunday’s game.

Who can blame him? The Falcons owner knew his team didn’t play particularly well, but hey, a win is a win and his franchise now leads the NFC South at 4-3. Sluggish coming off a bye last week, the Bucs were sloppy and unfocused en route to a 16-13 setback.

That’s three consecutive home losses for Tampa Bay, which now hits the road four times in the next five games.

First up is a Thursday night matchup at Buffalo against a Bills team that was just upset by New England.

At 3-3, the Bucs shouldn’t be in panic mode. What they should be is concerned about an offense that has scored one touchdown in the past eight quarters at home. In particular, this ground game needs an overhaul.

Baker Mayfield threw 42 passes, which is about 10 too many for Dave Canales. But how is Canales supposed to stick with a running attack that was averaging 2.2 yards per carry Sunday before Mayfield’s 31-yard scamper.

After the game, Atlanta veteran Calais Campbell was hacked off because Mayfield’s dash set up a tying FG and almost ruined a stellar defensive effort.

That 3-1 getaway is beginning to look like a distant memory. And those thousands of empty seats at Raymond James Stadium on a sunny afternoon served notice that more than a few fans are starting to lose interest in the home team.

As Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett noted, “You’re not supposed to win when you fumble three times inside the red zone.”

Tell me about it.

Even Blank acknowledged the game shouldn’t have been close. Tampa Bay reached the red zone only twice and the Falcons owned a 156-73 advantage on the ground in ending an 8-game road losing streak.

The Bucs don’t have much time to straighten out this dysfunctional offense because 13 points isn’t going to get the job done against the Bills. Todd Bowles has to stop the bleeding quickly because his defense is playing consistently well and is not being rewarded.

Here’s how the Falcons rebounded from last week’s fiasco against Washington and prompted the Glazer family to reach for the TUMS in unison:

* First things first — this game stunk. It had little entertainment value and if life was fair, the game should have ended in a tie. Both teams were that careless and slipshod. The NFL is a cash machine and there’s no indication general interest in the sport is waning, but NFL Films needs to burn the tape on this one.

* Antoine Winfield Jr. rebounded from a so-so effort last week and turned in some big-time plays. He had a nice pass breakup in the left corner of the end zone in the second quarter, but that was a mere warmup for his brilliant forced fumble as Desmond Ridder was about to cross the goal-line and put the Falcons up by two scores. You won’t see a better play by a defensive back this season.

* Bowles tried to set an aggressive tone from the start, but it backfired. Facing 4th-and-5 from the Atlanta 41 on their initial possession, the Bucs threw incomplete. Given a short field, the Falcons grabbed a 7-0 lead when Ridder rolled left and scored from 2 yards out.

* Tampa Bay’s third possession was a comedy of errors that generated groans rather than laughs from Buc Nation. It started with a false start by Trey Palmer. Robert Hainsey was flagged for holding on the next snap. Two plays later, Hainsey was called for a false start. Suddenly, it was 3rd-and-19, predictably leading to a Jake Camarda punt to open the second quarter.

* These teams combined for five giveaways and split 18 penalties. Watching this error-fest, it’s not a stretch to think eight wins will be enough to take this division again.

* The Bucs caught a break when Falcons rookie Bijan Robinson, averaging 5.0 yards per carry, felt ill before the game and was limited to a single carry. There’s no excuse for the Falcons to rumble for 156 yards on the ground without their premier back. Tampa Bay’s tackling was subpar and there were too many errant angles to the football.

* A Buc game wouldn’t be complete without a futile snap on third-and-short. This one came midway through the third quarter when Tampa Bay needed one yard to sustain a drive at the Buc 12-yard line. There goes Rachaad White into the line. There goes a 1-yard loss, followed by a punt. Sound familiar?

* Mayfield threw a nice 40-yard TD pass to Mike Evans and dodged several pass rushers who appeared to have a clear path for a sack. That’s the good news. The bad news is he averaged less than 7 yards per pass attempt and threw another interception. And let’s not forget he threw two consecutive incompletions and took a sack after the Bucs were in prime position to take a lead in the final minute.

“Baker is hard to get down,” said Falcons defensive lineman David Onyemata. “He’s very slippery and highly, highly competitive when he moves around in that pocket.”

* Lavonte David followed his stellar game against Detroit with a 13-tackle.effort. No wonder Devin White considers No. 54 the ultimate mentor. Speaking of White, it wouldn’t hurt to raise his own game a bit and turn in some splash plays.

* Only the Eagles have topped the 20-point mark against the Bucs through six games, yet Tampa Bay is lingering at .500. It’s starting to feel like 2022, when a listless attack undermined Bowles’ unit. “We just want to have the [defense’s] back,” White says of the offensive struggles. “Whatever goes on out there, we don’t want to be a downer.”

Canales has three days left to raise the bar.

52 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Falcons”

  1. Slacker Says:

    This is the display everyone was expecting entering the season. White is proving he doesn’t deserve big money. Bye! Run game continues to suck. Starting rb is a third down back and the other doesn’t deserve a roster spot. How can they look so bad every week without considering Tucker ? Bad coaching! Very sloppy and undisciplined again. Major beat down coming next week

  2. Jeffrey M Says:

    Getting tired of Bowles coach speak. This guy has had 3 home games in a row that he could not get his team prepared. He has blamed the bye week and his team not listening to him as excuses for the losses. His inability to understand what a head coach is supposed to do/be is deafening. Would be nice to hear someone ask him if he has the ability to ask the GM for a real running back? Its only a matter of weeks until the team stops listening to his 1990’s rah rah and he is basically finished in Tampa.

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    Baker Mayfield threw 42 passes, which is about 10 too many for Dave Canales.


    If he actually thinks that, he’s dumber than I thought.

    You win by scoring points, and you score points by moving the football. If you can’t run the ball – then DON’T RUN THE BALL.

    It’s beyond dumb to just do something you’re not good at over and over and over again because some coaches handbook from the 1950s says that’s how you win.

    Times change. The forward pass is a thing, in fact it’s been a thing for a long time.

    If you’re not good at something, if you literally have a team that is designed to pass the ball, if you two elite WRs, and an offensive line that is really good at pass blocking – then use that to your advantage.

    Just running to meet a quota is a fireable offense – and it comes from the top, that being Todd Bowles.

  4. ATLBuc Says:

    It’s Trask time!!

  5. Bucsfan951 Says:

    If the Bucs had the chargers, redskins, broncos, or even the bears offensive ppg performance, they would be sitting at 5-1.

    When you see it put that way, it sure makes you want to jump off of a bridge! The Bucs offense is worse than the flipping bears!

    You’ll have to excuse me now, I am gonna throw up!

  6. Rod Munch Says:

    ATLBuc Says:
    October 22nd, 2023 at 8:24 pm
    It’s Trask time!!


    Again, if you’re a Trask fan, you absolutely don’t want him starting on the road, on a short week, vs an angry Bills team. Not this game. After this game you got extra days, and there’s no bye week for the rest of the year, so after that Bills game is when a change should be made – if Mayfield is terrible on Thursday.

  7. Bee Says:

    Baker averaged less than 7 yards per attempt. Unreal. He’s so mediocre but before the season so many Baker fans said he can push the ball down field. Yea right….

  8. D1 Says:

    “If you can’t run the ball, then don’t run the ball”

    What happened to “we’re going to take what the defense gives us”

    They have taken away the run!

  9. Voice of Truth Says:

    Bowles is now tanking the career of another potential OC

    This makes what, 4 of his last 5 seasons as a HC replacing the OC but EVERY one of them met the same fate

    Our offense looks just like it did with Byron and TB12 under Bowles – point starved

  10. ATLBuc Says:


    Makes sense. And three losses in a row would be a good reason to make the change, especially when the Oline is protecting relatively well. Also, it will give Baker a chance to perform well against a quality opponent

  11. Bojim Says:

    Nice article. White is a pretty good 3rd down back. Sorry I keep pushing Sneak. I like Mayfield and of course David and Winfield. I think Canales needs to be left alone Todd!! Let him call the plays.

  12. StormyInFl Says:

    “ATLBuc Says:
    October 22nd, 2023 at 8:24 pm
    It’s Trask time!!”

    Aka – #collapseforcaleb

    Putting in Trask is running up the white flag on the season. Might as well start discussing which QB the Bucs new coaching staff can draft with their top 10 pick if they do that.

  13. Bojim Says:

    Also Evans and Godwin. 😁

  14. BrianBucs Says:

    This is Bowles type of football.
    As long as he is the head coach here this is what we will always see.

  15. D1 Says:


    Coming into the game bake was under 7yds per attempt, 6.7. Add one yd , 7.7 per attempt and that’s top 6 in the league!
    For bakers first four years he was top 10 in yds/per att !

    So yeah, he can push it down field. But the game plan had white featured on more than a few plays. I’m guessing you don’t understand what the scheme is from canales. If you and a few others listened to the coach , he stated a million times the offense is not vertical!

    So duh ! Bakers stats per attempt will be lower! Typical Bucs fan

  16. Cody Says:

    Munch , I couldn’t agree more with your take . Running fore the sake of balance and not effectiveness is outdated annd insensible. Also that last drive was as disgraceful display I have ever seen and I put more of the blame on baker . No need to try a home run ball every flipping time , check it down in the flat to white get some yards and make the distance manageable .

  17. RGA Says:

    Baker is the field general of one of the worst scoring offenses in the league. Scoring points is kinda important.

  18. StormyInFl Says:

    Seattle needs to come get their waterboy. He’s pretending to be an OC.

  19. orlbucfan Says:

    Horse manure. Bowles needs to have a long hard chat with his green OC, and put the entire O on Zoom to listen to it. We have got at least 6 healthy receivers. Design the game around them, and fake the other team out with phony running setups. How hard is that??

  20. RGA Says:

    Opponents defensive coordinators are not losing sleep the night before a game knowing they will face Baker Mayfield.

  21. Popcorn Mike Says:

    Bucsfan951 lol but true

  22. RGA Says:

    Joe, are you kidding me, moderate me? Wtf

  23. RGA Says:

    Joe, I see people insult each other, questionable language. My legitimate post gets deleted? I can go to another forum if you like.

  24. Curse of Gruden Says:

    All the Bucs need is a new QB1, OC, HC, and we’ll be fine.

  25. Miller5252 Says:

    He’s not saying we need to run the ball just to run the ball. You need to be able to run the ball so a team isn’t loading up on just the pass and pass rusher have their ears pinned and coming in. The run game is horrible and the defenses are rushing for the pass…. How about a screen or something to keep it from a full sprint to the QB. Canales has to make some changes and quick because the offense is getting very predictable and bland. Brady couldn’t do much better but Trask is the savior….. that makes sense. Savior is playing ahead of the chains and not always playing with 3rd and 6 and 3rd and 8.

  26. Dreambig Says:

    None of this was hard to see. A head coach who has a significant history of losing. An OC who has never been an OC, a running Back who has never produced before, a questionable QB who has his own history of struggles. You can’t ignore all of these factors and pray for some divine miracle that makes all these things not matter. Unfortunately, this points at Jason Licht, he should have known better. Maybe he does and this has always been a financial cut back year and winning was not the top priority. Who knows?

  27. Voice of Truth Says:

    Both G’s and the C are really backups not starters

    We do not have a TE that can block at an NFL level at the LOS it is a huge problem in pass and especially the run game

    Teams just run blitz us by down and distance and the rookie OC nor the HC has any idea what to do…

    Two seasons in a row the HC can’t fix the run game no matter the OC

    Our D is great inside the 20’s and dog spit everywhere else

    Hate watching this pathetic version of the Bucs

    Fire Bowles asap!!!!

  28. Jmarkbuc Says:

    We need a GM.

    This one’s been riding coattails ever since Lovie slipped him in the door.

  29. Voice of Truth Says:

    10 takeaways from section 219

    Ryan Neal is absolutely horrible and should be put on the practice squad Delaney is light years better

    Batted Baker is going to get Todd fired but Todd would have gotten himself fired anyway

    Rashad White is stealing his paycheck – soft as a feather pillow – he is a punk

    Keshawn Vaughn is not even good enough for Arena football – he just stinks

    Both Guards and the Center are third teamers at best

    Devin White will not be playing for the Bucs next year, he is a waste of the #5 pick, dude has no mental game at all and looks slow and hurt still

    We wasted contracts on Dean and Davis. They are both average, at very best.

    JTS and Hall are major busts under Bowles- can a new coach shake them up?

    The team looks like they have already thrown in the towel – no energy two weeks in a row, flat, uninspiring, mistake ridden- lack of focus – lack of physicality- lack of about every aspect of winning football

    Todd Bowles is a dead man walking and will be the first coach in Glazer history to be fired in season after a seven game losing streak

  30. Perimeter Blocker Says:

    I’m starting to look at a draft guide for a running back that has a lean and gets north south! Rachaad White at best is a 3rd down back…

  31. Please Says:

    “ A Buc game wouldn’t be complete without a futile snap on third-and-short.”

    Quote of the first 1/3rd of the season!

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

    Unfortunately, Atlanta looked like the better team today.

    And that was without Bijan Robinson.

    They will prob finish with a better record than us this year (by the looks of it).

  33. Bucs fan from the beginning Says:

    The Bucs offensive woes begin/end with the offensive line – they are awful and get pushed around on every play. Seems like all productive run plaus get nullified because of holding penalties. Get new offensive lineman – Bucs are wasting the careers of good players le Wirfs, Evans and Godwin.

    Ps: RB White is terrible

  34. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    After Thursday’s beat down by the Bills, this franchise needs to seriously consider trading Evans and Devin White. Rashad White has no trade value. Licht has crippled this team with terrible contracts for Davis, Dean and Barrett. Whoever wins the NFC South will get smoked in the playoffs so that should not be the goal. Bucs need to reset and start from scratch. Keep and sign the core players like Wirfs, Godwin and Winfield, Draft a QB in the 1st round and hopefully a new coaching staff will know how to develop.

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

    Also, where is the collective outrage for those 2 vicious helmet-to-helmet hits on Baker Mayfield. Is everyone blind? I still have not heard a mention about those from anyone other than myself.

    Those were ridiculous no-calls.

  36. ElioT Says:

    Licht’s only playoff games were with Brady.

    Just saying…

    This roster isn’t as good as people say it is.

  37. J Says:

    Sometimes it feels as though Canales’ plays take too long to develop.

  38. Cobraboy Says:

    Bowles post- gamer reminds me of Dungy’s ” we weren’t in sync…”

  39. FortMyersDave Says:

    Glazers should put feelers out to Harbaugh in Ann Arbor as it looks like he is going to jump ship at the end of the season. Granted, a bunch of other bad NFL teams such as Chicago, the Rams, etc will probably do the same thing. Some people think that Licht’s connection to the Hoody/Belicheat in NE might get him down here but if he does come, remember his record as a head coach without Brady. Probably better than Bowels but still under 0.500.

  40. Mike S Says:

    FortMyersDave I’d take Belichek with Trask. Not going to happen though.

  41. Mike S Says:

    Reason why I’m so upset is I predicted this back when they signed Baker.

    Retread QB on his 4th stop coming off a terrible season – I knew they were going to put the screws to Trask as soon i heard this signing and I knew they would be a bad football team in the process.

    Baker has performed slightly better than I expected especially in those first two games, but I think we’re seeing what many of us predicted would happen.

    Pop-gun offense. Captain Checkdown. Turnovers. Low scoring slog type games that Bucs can’t pull out.

    For the most part… With Baker occasionally making a play to keep you hooked in.

    Baker made two great plays today – the 40 yard TD throw to Evans and the 4th quarter scramble for 30 yards, but Bucs still come away with only 13 points. This is who he is.

    I think the running game will open up a bit more once Bucs get Trask in there, because Trask attacks down the field. They will have to defend all zones on Trask – deep outs, deep middle, intermediate and short – with Trask throwing from the pocket. They won’t be able to stack the box – they do and Trask will light them on fire. If he doesn’t then we look to the draft next year.

    Its as simple as that.

  42. Rod Munch Says:

    Would be awesome if we got Belichek, and then Brady unretired and came back to the Bucs. If for no other reason than to see the entire Boston metro spontaneously combust.

  43. RuKa Says:

    If you believe this defense played well today just go check how many 3-and-out we forced and how many times the Falcons punted!

    They went down the field at will all day! If not for the red zone fumbles, they would have scored somewhere between 23 and 37 points and this game would look like a blowout!

    Good defenses don’t let an opponent reach the end zone this often!
    And, by the way, the excuse that they were tired because of the offense doesn’t hold: we had the highest time of possession

  44. Pewter Power Says:

    Todd Bowles is an embarrassment and does not get a pass, he hands picked Canales. He doesn’t deserve 100% percent of the blame. The general manager is too high on himself to make any kind of move at running back.

    Vaughn is actually playing a lot more snaps than the previous 3 games. I’v I’d rather see Patrick Laird than Vaughn

  45. BillyBucco Says:

    Bowles will be a distant memory in 3…..2…..1….
    I’m over it.
    Trade Mike
    Trade Devin
    Trade Dean
    Trade Davis
    Trade Barrett
    Give away or cut Feiler and Hainsey.
    Trade Otton
    Cut Gholston
    Sit Mayfield
    Elevate David Moore
    Start Trask after Buffalo.
    Then we gotta see what we have and does Carolina really want another QB at #1?
    Sell the farm and get your guy.
    Or stand pat with a too 5 pick and get your guy.
    They are saying 7 QBs will go in the 1st round.
    We might actually need 2 the way we currently evaluate talent.

  46. adam from ny Says:

    the game realistically could have been a 30-10 type blowout if ridler didn’t turn the ball over so many times by the bucs end zone…

  47. Bbro Says:

    To save a lot of reading, the game sucked, sucked n sucked some more

  48. garro Says:

    Should not have been close is correct Ira. They tried to give us the game and we said…No thanks.

    Go Bucs!

  49. danthebucfan Says:

    Keeping Baker Mayfield as the starter = #collapseforcaleb

  50. It's Corn Says:

    Can Canales do this job?

  51. 1#bucsfan Says:

    While the defense was far from perfect they are playing at a high level most of the defenses mistakes are easy fixes. Better tackling and get back to hang tackling. Tighten up the coverage and get a little more production from the edge rushers. All simple fixes. The offense has gotta help them out. I will say the O did a better job of sustaining drives and keeping the defense off the field as much but the lack of scoring is beyond frustrating. Seriously. How much time will this offense need. I get it new OC who’s never called plays before new QB a few new guys on the oline. The run blocking is the worst in the league which is crazy cause we are prob best in the league at pass blocking. People are calling benching baker which I don’t agree besides the stupid int he’s played better than expected. Besides the lion game and that terrible int he’s our best shot at winning

  52. Lakeland Steve Says:

    BillyBucco, that’s the way losers think.