First Place Bucs

December 10th, 2023

Season-changing catch?

Joe thought for sure through most of the win over the Dixie Chicks today that Bucs coach Todd Bowles’ fate was sealed.

When the Bucs failed to get a first down late in the game trailing by three, Bowles’ reacted to the failure by bending over and grimacing like someone kneed him in the nads. He had all the looks of a coach that had four games left in his career.

Now he and his team have it in their control to host a playoff game next month. The Bucs are in first place in the NFC South.

“Next game up mentality,” Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield said on the Buccaneers Radio Network amid a raucous Bucs locker room with music blaring.

“We just found a way to win,” Cade Otton said after the game on the Buccaneers Radio Network. “Super proud of the guys for believing.”

Even with the Bucs leading at halftime (by two) and into the third quarter, only the Bucs could make a lead feel like they were getting their tails kicked in.

Some 85 yards of offense at halftime? How? Embarrassing. Outrageous. Yet the Bucs still found a way to win.

It was ugly. It was embarrassing. It was shameful. Yet it was a win.

The Bucs are in first place. And with four games left, they control their destiny. A home playoff game is a real possibility.

My how quickly things change. The Bucs went from looking at the draft and maybe a coaching change to being in first lace on Dec. 10.

Only the Bucs, man, only the Bucs.

58 Responses to “First Place Bucs”

  1. sasquatch Says:

    They’re still looking at a coaching change. That’s happening. Bowles would have to win a playoff game to stay, and even then I wouldn’t say he deserved to keep his job.

  2. Jack Clark Says:

    Feels good being in first place, glad I’m not a NE Fan

  3. bucs107 Says:

    Teams that win like this can become dangerous in December

  4. HC Grover Says:

    Hot Dog…Hot diggity dog….The season…It’s Alive. The Pack game will be awesome. The players are hungry now and playing hard. Plan 9 is stuck in orbit. White is outta here. Now is the time.

  5. Tbbucs3 Says:

    The run game came alive today but Canales play calling just doesnt allow the O to get in a rhythm.

    He’s probably the most conservative play caller in the league

  6. ElioT Says:

    4 games left, not five.

    A win is a win, but I’m just sick of accepting less than excellence from this team.

    Still losers per the record, the eyeball test = bleeding eyes, and tied for the lead in the worst division in a long time.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Far too many 3rd downs…….need to throw early & often.

  8. VATom Says:

    I think they win One of the next four. And I am not a pessimist. They just look horrible and inconsistent. I can’t believe we don’t look better in December ball! It’s ridiculous. The points are great. Really. And hat’s off to the players and coaches for fighting. But it looks so baaaaaaaaaaad. I cannot fool myself into believing this team is going anywhere. But I feel happy for the players. Good job. Maybe there will be a miracle and they’ll figure out how to play consistent ball in the next 4 games.

  9. rrsrq Says:

    If it’s a home playoff game against the Cowboys, I’m pretty sure the stands will reek of Cowboys fans almost like a Cowboys home gain

  10. rrsrq Says:

    It just looks difficult

  11. Lakeland Steve Says:

    Baker Freaking Mayfield, he is one tough SOB. How can you not like him.

  12. ElioT Says:

    Look, we all know what we saw.

    This team is nowhere near deserving of a playoff birth.

    Very lucky to be in the league’s most pathetic division.

    Everyone with half a brain knows the Bucs need a total reset from top down ASAP.

  13. infomeplease Says:

    I was very surprised BM kept calling CGs number late. The two were not clicking at all. Then they connect when the Bucs needed to. Then Otton scores! The football Gods weren’t helping either. That bad pass interference call on ZM. Nothing was there at all! But the Bucs prevailed! That’s all that matters!

  14. Couch Fan Says:

    If it’s a home playoff game against the Cowboys, I’m pretty sure the stands will reek of Cowboys fans almost like a Cowboys home gain
    And they will blow us out like its a home game for them to.

  15. CTBucs Says:

    Underrated performer of the day was Zyon McC. He had some big breakups and a huge tackle in the redzone. I think he has all the tools to be a good corner. Dean can get traded and we can survive with CDIII, Zyon and a fast slot rookie

  16. orlbucfan Says:

    How are the Bucs in first place? They have a 6-7 record. Word is the division is called the NFC Suck. Shaking my head. LVD was out there playing. I had it on my usual Bucs Radio. Still can’t get over the fact that there were ZERO OR CLOSE TO IT HOLDING CALLS called. League needs to eliminate that joke call.

  17. Leslie Opyd Says:

    How about that ref call on mcullum trying to screw us .that penalty never happened and changed the game !! NFL sucks !

  18. infomeplease Says:

    Another scary close game.

  19. Tony Marks Says:

    I aint going to lie. Can’t believe I am saying this but Canales might have had one thing right

    The run game DOES look like its coming along.

  20. WyomingJoe Says:

    Ooooooouch! This must REALLY HURT you Baker Haters! Love this Bucs win. So should all the real Buc fans.

  21. infomeplease Says:

    Bucs redefining the term “winning ugly”!

  22. unbelievable Says:

    Meh. Who cares? We’re just polishing the turd that is Todd Bowles, and all this means is that he’s gonna come back next season and force us to watch this absolutely pathetic and inept slop for another year.

  23. captivajim Says:

    Koo missed a few kicks…

  24. Couch Fan Says:

    I look at it this way. It doesnt matter what we think of the QB position. If we win the division all that means is the rest of the division is free to fire their terrible coaches and get better while we are stuck with ReTodd for another season. Lucking ourselves into the playoffs is not worth another year of Bowles imcompetence.

  25. Architek Says:

    This is a bad team that’s poorly coached.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Exactly Couch.

    I’ve tried to give Bowles the benefit of the doubt over and over, even when many were quick to write him off.

    But he sucks out loud as a head coach. Stubborn, clueless and inept. With a soft arse defense that looks worse and worse every week.

    What possible playoff team does anyone think we’d even have a remote chance against? Dallas? Nope. San Fran? Nope. The Eagles? Absolutely not.

  27. realistic-optimistic Says:

    This team has a lot of problems. Watching them is like watching a fish flopping on the ground. Anybody bragging on that QB display has lost touch with reality (or they’re trolling). At least the run game is warming up.

  28. Davenport Says:

    With the 19th pick in the 2024 draft, and following their blowout playoff loss, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select, the THIRD BEST corner in the draft… another piece to shore up Todd Bowles defence.

    (This is what they are earning by winning. Excited?)

  29. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey joes, Canales sucked! So edit me out. This was a Cardiac Bucs win. BTW, There was no holding calls. NFL needs to get rid of that ‘penalty,’ How are the Bucs in first place? There are 6-7.

  30. stpetebucfan Says:

    #expectations The Bucs were forecast to win 2 games by S.I. and many other orgs. The “smart” money in Vegas said they’d win 6.5 games this year.

    So if you had laid that prop bet would you feel good about your money.

    IE The Bucs only need one more win to beat the “smart” money. Think they can win 1 of 4. If they win 3 and get into the playoffs they will have exceeded expectations as the “wise man” said…”bigly”!

    I’ve been entertained! Guys have played with heart. They have made boneheaded mistakes and should have won two more. Baker now has TEN career 4th Q comebacks which should be 11 if not for the Houston choke.

    I think they are showing improvement.

    D.R. has made a point about the Bucs that showed up today for Atlanta. Teams like the Bucs and Atlanta usually have no depth. That bit the Falcons today although the Buc D failed to take advantage of TWO backup OT’s.

  31. orlbucfan Says:

    Well, you guys have some tech gremlins on here.

  32. stpetebucfan Says:

    Not big on “luck” because it usually goes both ways but not today at the end of the game.

    First ME13 gets a terrific toss from Mayfield in the endzone, makes another heroic circus effort and is literally less than a second away from another dramatic TD.

    Not a bad call but when you watch that replay and see Mike’s hand touch out of bounds with his second foot INCHES from tapping in bounds,

    Then Drake London catches a ball on his fingertips between the Bucs two best defenders in the secondary. it looked like Winfield thought he had the int if he knew he didn’t he was in position to light up London forcing a drop.

  33. godlovesbucs Says:

    Ok, I will say the bucs don’t look like a playoff team. But they do look more like a playoff team than the saints, Panthers or falcons.

  34. Beeej Says:

    We win 2 games in a row and 90% of the posts are STILL negative

  35. RGA Says:

    It’s good to see the defense step up and improvement in the running game, QB play has been poor all year and is not progressing. Baker is terrible!

  36. Buc Fan in CO Says:

    Destiny: noun. the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future; the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.

    Destiny, by definition, cannot be controlled.

    But they absolutely have the opportunity to earn their way into the playoffs.

  37. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Baker mayfield is da mañg.

  38. unbelievable Says:

    2 in a row… but only 3 of their last 9 lol.

    That doesn’t look like “improvement” to be after a 3-1 start, but hey what do I know

  39. stpetebucfan Says:


    With all due respect….you posted the very defintion of improvement! If a team is riding a two game losing streak and turns it into a two game winning streak that’s an improvement. If a team goes 1-6 then goes 2- ZERO…again that’s the definition at least statistically of improvement.

    But I take your point. You don’t see any improved play in the Bucs run game, nor their passing game, nor their D. I can understand why. But some of us do see some good things beginning to happen.

    I’ll take ANY win over a division rival in their Mercedes ANYTIME! I do not care about stats and style points…correction..I do care about ONE statistic!

  40. Kalind Says:

    How can anyone look at this product and say “oh hell yes. Gimme another year of this!” Who cares if they win the division (just to get destroyed in the first round at home)?? They still need to clean house. This is not a dynasty in the making. This is week to week survival, courtesy of a horrid division. This is not a quality path going forward in the long term.

  41. Bucs Guy Says:

    Don’t see the Bucs winning @GB or against Jax. Maybe against the Saints. If nothing to play for, they’ll Mail it in @Carolina. Probably 0-4 or 1-3.

  42. Bucs Guy Says:

    Jayden Daniels QB or DE in 1st
    Jeremiah Trotter Jr LB in 2nd
    Sedrick Van Pran C in 3rd
    Also like Braelon Allen big RB out of Wisc in 3rd
    Other needs TE, CB, G (prefer to get in FA), WR
    Re-sign Evans, LVD, Winston, McLaughlin, Wirfs
    Let go Tryon, Devin White, Vaughn
    Baker is a maybe keep and I’m assuming Jensen is done

  43. Bucs Guy Says:

    If Daniels isn’t available, maybe consider trading back a few positions for an extra day 2 pick.

    This all assumes the Bucs don’t win the division.

  44. Gipper Says:

    The beer guzzling Bucs”fans” whose chief contribution to this website is to write ‘so and so sucks”, don’t know much about football. With not much of a stretch, Tampa could be 8-5 right now. They should not have lost the first Atlanta game nor should they have lost the Houston game. Both games were lost in the last seconds because of defensive breakdowns. Mayfield is doing his best to go along with Canales play calling. Pretty obvious that when offense is needed Baker delivers. His stat line this year compares favorably to just about any top rated NFL QB.

  45. D Cone Says:

    Last time Mayfield got outplayed by basically a rookie he lost in the last few seconds. Almost happened again.
    Less than 50% passing and 144 yards in a must win game. That guy really sucks. I’m sure the BFFC ( Baker’s Fellatio Fan Club) will be fighting for the first chance to kneel down before their Football Savior and congratulate him in their own special way.

    Send a fruit basket to the defense because they didn’t suck as bad and were the reason for the victory. Poor play but we’re directly responsible for 9 points.
    Bowles said he couldn’t win with Field Goals. He did. Two missed one’s by Atlanta.

    Baker gets another 1st year starter next week. Bucs playoff probability is at 57% list week and Baker Stocks are dropping. Ain’t nobody penning a deal for 20m+ next season with the shat he’s been putting on tape most of the last 8 weeks. Not even with the final drive. Maybe Bowles will stay and Run it Back
    With Mayfield. Birds of a Feather thing.

  46. unbelievable Says:

    @st Pete – I agree on the division win, but yea I don’t see this team improving in any areas really. Maybe the run game, but only by a little.

    Still sloppy.
    Still inconsistent.
    Still struggle to score.
    Still struggle to move the ball.
    Still soft on defense when they’re in crunch time.

    I’ve lost all faith in Todd Bowles. The way he wants to win will only results in mediocre barely .500 seasons at best

  47. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Seriously? Coulda woulda shoulda?

    This organization is poor, and has been for years. We should be grateful TB12 was able to hold his nose and give us relevance for 3 seasons..

  48. Jmarkbuc Says:

    St. Pete

    I know you’ve been around plenty long enough to know this team isn’t good. From the top down.

    There’s no way you can say Dean, Davis and DWhite play with heart. Or brains. Or guts. Or skill. Not enough to compete with real teams.

    Don’t get me started on Sho-Stinka.

  49. Heath Hunt Says:

    I hate winning games. This sucks. Why can’t we just lose like the Panthers?

  50. Defense Rules Says:

    I’m trying to get excited about winning, but that’s proving to be harder than I expected. When the season started, I projected the Bucs to be anywhere from 10-7 to 7-10. Since we’re currently 6-7 and still get to play the Panthers again, there’s an excellent chance we’ll fall someplace in that range. Problem is, this team is playing terrible football, and we’re beating teams who happen to be playing even worse football than we are. Hard for me to be joyful about that, even in December.

    The NFL has been a BIG disappointment this year IMO. We’re pretty close to achieving parity it appears, which seems to be their ultimate goal. Problem there is that it’s a parity in which just about all the teams are playing mediocre football.

    Today’s game is yet another example. Bucs gained 290 TOTAL yards … 142 yards passing and 148 yards rushing. That’s an AVERAGE of 4.3 YPP; sorry but that’s disgusting. Mayfield was 14-for-29, but on the good news side he did throw for 2 TDs & run for 3 yards. Bucs were 7-for-18 on 3rd & 4th downs, made a total of 16 1st downs, and punted 6 times in 11 drives.

    We won the game primarily because we shot ourselves in the foot fewer times than the Falcons did. They moved the ball up & down the field for 434 yards of offense, but coughed it up once on an INT that led to 7 easy Bucs’ points, screwed up & gave us 2 more points on a safety, and their usually dependable kicker missed 2 FGs. That game was not a nail-biter by any means; kinda just kept hoping that someone would put one or both teams out of their misery. Time to lower my already low expectations yet again.

  51. Heath Hunt Says:

    If you think the Bucs are going to be one of the best teams in the NFL and that’s your only expectation I have to ask if you started watching this team before 2020

  52. Gipper Says:

    Most of the people who comment on this site were in the band in high school. Tampa Bay has scrapped all year long. Todd Bowles is a decent guy who has put together a team that is not the caliber of the Cowboys or 49ers but has been entertaining to watch. Bucs finish the year 9-8 and win their division. Maybe even a first round playoff win. That exceeds the very low expectations that most had for this team in 2023.

  53. steele Says:

    I agree with Kalind and many others. Because they are in the dismal NFC South, they will remain in contention until they are finally put out of their/our misery by some real team out there. But any record that is around average allows the misguided to keep Bowles for another painful season, maybe more, the dumpster fire going nonstop. The needed rebuild will be postponed again. And again.

    This was no great game played by a great team. The Falcons just screwed the pooch even worse. But this won’t stop the bragging and boasting, the Rachaad is Hall of Fame noise, etc. etc.

    We’ll see what happens vs. GB and the Jags. They will end the season against NFC South bottom feeders, so they will have it easy at the end.

  54. Rjscheapseats Says:

    Most of the comments here are pathetic.
    Todd Bowles sucks!!! The Bucs sucks!!

    Hard to know what to make of fans who hate the coach so much they root against their team.

    But man are their comments boring and predictable.

    This was a good win on the road.

  55. Bradley Brown Says:

    Giving up a touchdown with nine players on the field in week 13. Unreal.

  56. BAKERSBucs Says:

    Is it my imagination or was what a few keep repeating over & over & over baker sucks didn’t he get us 3 tds & a field goal plus a safety wtf is u r problem he

  57. BAKERSBucs Says:

    Defenserules what the hell do u rule a depressing life style u and many others r total bummer whatna crappy way to go thru life life can b really good if u live life with some purpose u people r total losers we have expectations in a good way u must live real shi**ty lives u r Debbie downers

  58. BAKERSBucs Says:

    I surely think this team has way out did expectations this year all I know is this group keeps u on u r seat edge its awesome