“Are We Sure The Best Team Won?”

January 24th, 2024

Threw too much said NFL insider.

In the eyes of a former NFL suit who was schooled by the likes of Al Davis, Bill Walsh and Bill Belicheat, the Bucs were the better team on Sunday.

But the better team doesn’t always win. And that’s why the Lions will play Sunday and the Bucs have already scattered across the western hemisphere.

Former NFL suit Michael Lombardi took to his podcast “GM Shuffle” and explained how the Bucs outplayed the Lions, but how the Lions were able to prevail.

A big difference for Lombardi was Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield. Lombardi is on record saying last year Mayfield was the worst quarterback in the NFL. This take is loaded in Joe’s mind.

Why? One of Lombardi’s sons, Matt, was Mayfield’s position coach with the Stinking Panthers. You think Lombardi would throw his son under the bus and claim Mayfield is a good quarterback when his son couldn’t get squat out of him?

“I didn’t like Tampa in the game because I didn’t think Tampa could run the ball on Detroit,” Lombardi said. “That was wrong. I was wrong about that analysis.

“What I was right about was I didn’t want the ball in Baker Mayfield’s hands 40 times.”

Mayfield, of course, threw a pick that essentially lost the game for the Bucs, short a late timeout.

Lombardi added the Bucs’ negative plays did them in: eight tackles for loss including sacks.

Co-host Femi Abebefe believed those sacks were very timely.

“It was always when the Bucs were nearing field goal range,” Abebefe said. “Right place, right time [for the sacks]. Now you have to punt the ball away.”

Lombardi added, “I never thought [Detroit] had control of the game. Are we sure the best team won?”

Abebefe also scolded Bucs coach Todd Bowles for not calling a timeout late to force Detroit to make a field goal or punt. Abebefe mocked Bowles for saying he didn’t want to “prolong the obvious” when it was not obvious the game was over.

“It’s the playoffs!”

66 Responses to ““Are We Sure The Best Team Won?””

  1. Saskbucs Says:

    Two pretty evenly matched teams. They made the timely big plays and we didn’t. Similar to the first game in that respect. Evan’s tipped INT, then Dean dropped INT, the timely pressure they sent leading to drive killing sacks, McLaughlin missed FG. 6 plays 6-12 point swing if not more. .

  2. Since76 Says:

    Bucs team > Lions team…….Bucs coaching < lions coaching……Bucs QB< lions Qb = the bucs loss to lions.

  3. Gipper Says:

    Mike Lombardi was just another management type that contributed heavily to Cleveland Browns prolong failure as an expansion team well before Mayfield came to the team and gave the Browns a glimpse of respectability. Lombardi gets credit for being a NFL hanger on with no real accomplishment. People who are familiar this Mike Lombardi would never mistake him for the real Lombardi.

  4. Marine Buc Says:


    When you have the absolute WORST interior O-line in the entire NFL you don’t keep running the ball up the gut…

    I mean come on man!

    Is everyone on crazy pills or what?

    – Cody Mauch is athletic but he is a rookie and was man-handled all season long
    – Hainsey is one of the worst starting centers in the NFL
    – Stinnie and Feiler are just back-ups – nowhere near starting quality NFL OGs

    The Bucs need to sign a decent OG in free agency, move Mauch to center and draft an IOL with their 2nd round pick. Hainsey needs to be a back-up G/C.

  5. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Joe, like on Sunday and a few other games this year, the better coached team won. Yes the Buc’s played well enough to win this game but sooner rather than later the coaching was going to catch up to them. Either in San Francisco or against the winner of the Ravens and Chiefs game in the Superbowl, the bone headed decisions of this staff was eventually going to show itself. And if it would have happened in the big game it would have been just another blemish on these coaches that continuously failed us.

  6. K_bassuka Says:

    No, but the team with the better QB (by far) did!

  7. Milton Says:

    The team stats are relatively even. Except for turnovers. 2-0. Mayfield won that contest for the Bucs with his 2 picks, the last pick with the game on the line. Yes, let’s make him our franchise quarterback. 🙄

  8. Beeej Says:

    Absent blitzing half the team, Goff could just stand there all day

  9. Rover Says:

    Could just be me, but nothing about that game didnt seem to be apart of a script. Seeing the Lions punt when God knows they could have got a 1st down on every 3rd down attempt like they did in the first game. I was just happy to not get boat-raced and i know just like the players were happy they didnt get steamrolled.

  10. Bosch Says:

    Given how porous their defense was, I can’t really say the Bucs were the better team. And of course we all know who coaches that side of te ball, don’t we?

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    Lombardi has gone on record that last year Mayfield was the worst quarterback in the NFL. This take is loaded in Joe’s mind.


    If you’re talking about 2022, Baker was literally the worst quarterback in football, with a miserable 26.3 QBR, and it wasn’t much better the year before that, with a 35.1 QBR. Baker was the worst QB in football not only last year, but combined, over the last two years – before this season of course, where he had a 54.3 QBR which was 18th, which matched up with scoring where the Bucs were 20th.

    But going back to last year, in Carolina with McCaffrey and DJ Moore, Baker looked awful, it’s not just the stats. Go watch the tape, in 2022, he’s a checkdown Charlie, he’s got happy feet, he’s missing guys who are wide open, and all of that is assuming his passes weren’t knocked down at the line of scrimmage.

    This year Baker was dramatically improved obviously, but he has to become much more consistent to justify a big money deal beyond just next year. We’ll see what happens, but I hope he can do it since it will really set back the Bucs if this was a one off and the peak of his career. But a 2nd year in this system, some better interior o-line play, and a better third WR option — there’s reasons to be hopeful.

  12. TomBucsFan Says:

    if we could’ve scored on the drives where we punted at midfield because we took the sacks or TFLs then yea we would’ve won or at least had the score closer at the end of the game.

  13. Jmarkbuc Says:

    If only Dean could catch an interception.

  14. Vancouver Buc Says:

    Both O and D lines were, and are no good. Aside from coaching, which we are not good at, that’s where games are won and lost.

  15. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Did Lombardi watch the game? Did he see Ryan Neal on the field? The hyphenated named kid who doesn’t know how to play football? Devin White in coverage? All of these are the things that’ll get you beat.

  16. Dave Pear Says:

    The best head coach sure won. Therefore the best team won.

    Bloweszo is a loser. He’s pathetic. He hates offense but at least can’t teach his players how to play zone coverage or stop the run. Maybe his strongest attribute is to horribly mangle the management of a football game.

    This roster with Jim Harbaugh coaching would have won at least 12 regular season games and be going to play SF this weekend.

    Pathetic loser. But at least he doesn’t “prolong the obvious.”

    Should have been fired after the Rams playoff game two years ago. Instead he got rewarded. Fraud.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I respect the Joes and Ira, but wasn’t one of you calling for the Bucs to “tank”? Quitting on the season before it even started?

  18. Mike Says:

    We needed a lot more to go right for the Bucs to win and it just didn’t. Starting and ending with interceptions being topmost of mind for sure, but yeah, giving up sacks and turnovers is not a recipe for success.

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    January 24th, 2024 at 2:40 pm
    Lombardi has gone on record that last year Mayfield was the worst quarterback in the NFL. This take is loaded in Joe’s mind.


    If you’re talking about 2022, Baker was literally the worst quarterback in football, with a miserable 26.3 QBR, and it wasn’t much better the year before that, with a 35.1 QBR. Baker was the worst QB in football not only last year, but combined, over the last two years – before this season of course, where he had a 54.3 QBR which was 18th, which matched up with scoring where the Bucs were 20th.

    You can’t be the worst QB in the NFL and get playing time. COUGH Kyle COUGH Trask.

  20. Boss Says:

    the best coach won

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Jmarkbuc … ‘If only Dean could catch an interception.’

    And if only Baker hadn’t thrown that last one.

    This is a BS take by Lombardi. Bucs & Lions were tied 17-17 after 3 quarters. Doesn’t matter what the stats were, or who was doing what to whom … the score was TIED after 3 quarters & thus it was a brand-new ball game for all practical purposes.

    Lions had the ball 4 times in the 4th quarter, and the Bucs had it 3 times. Lions had the ball 11:48 in the 4th quarter, using 22 plays and scoring 2 TDs. Bucs had it 3:12 in the 4th quarter, using 14 plays to score 1 TD.

    Lombardi’s take “Are We Sure The Best Team Won?” is total BS. The Lions kicked our butt in the 4th quarter AFTER we’d tied it 17-17. With the game on the line, they had NINE plays of 10 yards or over (2 runs & 7 completed passes) in that 4th quarter. Bucs in comparison had FIVE plays of 10 yards or more (all 5 were passes) in that quarter, all on our TD drive. And oh ya, 1 interception to halt our last possession.

    Lordy this whining about Bucs had it within our grasp if only … yada yada yada … is very unbecoming. We had a chance to win it entering the 4th quarter and we fell short. Way short. For heaven’s sake please stop the whining and let’s get on with 2024.

  22. Boss Says:

    that game was there for the taking at halftime…..the score, the momentum, we were healthy……

    and they lay an f ing egg.

    thats on the coaches. They should have come out with a raw steak in each hand and blood dripping from their lips.

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    The coaches put Baker in the position to have the ball in his hands with 2 minutes left, and the game on the line, with 45-million people watching, in the biggest moment of Mayfields career… and he threw an interception 2 plays later.

    Are we sure it’s the coaching that is the issue?

  24. SlyPirate Says:

    Bucs lost. Detroit was the better team. Don’t be a bad loser.

    When you’re the road team in the playoffs, you have to play to win. You have to make educated gambles. Bowles is not built for road playoff wins. He needs to mentally evolve in the offseason.

  25. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Really Rod Muncher? Texans won because the defense folded. Bills won because Godwin got spun around on a perfect hail mary. Lions won because Goff had time to eat his lunch in the pocket. Nobody is gonna mistake Baker for Marino or Montana. But he aint the reason they lost, and you ought to know better. Some expert you are

  26. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    What this team achieved with a talent bleed due to cap hell, about 25% of the roster being rookies and UDFA, was remarkable. And some turds like to point out where they fell short. Unbelievable

  27. DBS Says:

    The Lions recognized a weakness as soon as it happened. Exploited it as any team would. Made the adjustments and won. Both offense and defense folded. On to next season.

  28. JimBobBuc Says:

    How did Goedeke and Wirfs let free blitzes come off the edge? I’m not sure I’ve seen an explanation of this? What happened? Those sacks killed us.

  29. Mike Johnson Says:

    I’m sittin here LMAO. Maybe you guys watched a different game in another galaxy. But the game I watched, Detroit’s O and D lines were far superior to ours. When Goff was exiting the game, His uniform looked sharp, pressed,and clean. A if he had not been touched..and he wasn’t. I was shocked the Lions did not win by a much larger margin the way they manhandled our O and D lines.

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    Thank you DBS. Monday morning quarterbacking is always a piece of cake. Making the hard decisions when the bullets are flying never is. People who go back and play the ‘We were the better team if only we’d scored more points or allowed fewer points’ always humor me.

    To quote Buckeyebuckchuck …

    “What this team achieved with a talent bleed due to cap hell, about 25% of the roster being rookies and UDFA, was remarkable.” In the end, Bucs did better than 75% of the teams in the NFL. Not bad for a team predicted to go 6-11 or thereabouts.

  31. HC Grover Says:

    To win is to be the best team.

  32. HC Grover Says:

    The Bucs as a ‘team’ COLLAPSED in the last 5 minutes…They were the WORST team. Do not try to put lipstick on that Pig.

  33. HC Grover Says:

    Mucnch shoots…Munch Scores.

  34. jstokes84@yahoo.com Says:

    Based on what I saw Sunday was 2 evenly matched teams at the time. The difference between the 2 was coaching and adjustments. I think its clear as day Dan Campbell a better coach than Todd Bowles and I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way at all. I question why the Bucs quit running the ball? White had 55 yards on 9 carries which is 6 yards a carry. So what’s the reasoning behind abandoning the run game? Also the game came down to QB play. I always said as long as Baker is under center and don’t turn the ball over Tampa has a chance in every game to win. I just wish Dean would have caught that interception in the endzone instead of giving up the FG which was still better than giving up a touchdown. Now I think its no secret that the Bucs interior offensive linemen are not up to par imo. Particularly the center and left guard. I will hold judgment on Cody Mauch due to the fact that he is a rookie. I hope they continue to develop him and works out as they envisioned.

  35. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We were the better team with poor coaching…..

    Mayfield needs to learn how to get rid of the ball….

  36. WyomingJoe Says:

    Capt’n Muncher: Yeah, yeah, yeah… Baker threw a pick in the 4th quarter and that was the only reason the Bucs lost. Give it a rest because you’re laughable.

    In 2021, Baker had a complete labrum tear and a fractured shoulder. He was playing at 60%. No matter how much Baker screamed, he should have had surgery after game #2 that year.

    In 2022, he gets traded to the worst team in football right at the beginning of training camp. That was done on purpose by the Browns – Baker’s punishment! Yes, he had McCaffrey, but not for long before he was traded. In Baker’s first game (against the Browns), he lost on a 58 yard FG with seconds left. The next week, he lost to the Giants on another long FG (54-56 yards?) with seconds left. The Panthers were terrible…

    The only good news for you Ron is that you probably get to whine about Baker for the next several years because no matter how he does; you’ll still be a Hater.

  37. Scott Says:

    Lions had the better lines. We couldn’t rush Goff. Then we went and didn’t block incoming blitzes. Not sure who’s fault that was.

  38. UKBuccaneer Says:

    Interceptions happen. Sometimes they happen when the game is on the line. Did Brady always drive down the field and win games, or did he throw a pick or two along the way?

  39. adam from ny Says:


    great post…you broke it down with precision…

    yes indeed we hung tough for 3 quarters…lions were the forerunners even for those 3 quarters, as they were always ahead and we would score to come back and get in the game or tie it up…

    then in a dead even game with 15 minutes to go, the lions took the bull by the horns and more or less dominated us down the home stretch…


    because they were a little bit better of a team…

    not a ton better, as we’ve made strides – but definitely better…

    the better team won the ball game

  40. adam from ny Says:

    detroit might have possibly won because detroit takes on the personality of their HC…

    that team has mega-drive, uber-focus and heavy-passion…

    not saying the bucs and our coach don’t, but i would venture to say it’s hard to have more of those traits than dan campbell has…

    his players have bought in 110%

  41. Buc1987 Says:

    WyomingJoe…I can’t be the only one who finds it odd that you know so much about Bakers past….very strange.

  42. RBUC Says:

    Stop being delusional!!!
    Alot of Bucs defensive players are on the small side and struggle at tackling!
    Lions Dline is better
    Lions Oline is better
    Lions stable of RBs are better( more physical & faster)
    Goff has better instincts & touch on his passes than Baker
    Stable of WRs is about even for both teams
    Lions DBs catch INTs better than DBs playing for the Bucs
    Overall Coaching is probably better in Detroit

  43. unbelievable Says:

    Was a pretty great game.

    Bucs defense started collapsing once Diaby, Dean and Mayerweather went down, but the offense came roaring back.

    The final pick obviously hurt, especially considering Godwin was running open from the other side towards the middle, and did NOT have a linebacker in front of him to grab the ball… but oh well.

    As for Todd Bowles- it didn’t even surprise me. Cowardice and incompetence follow him wherever he goes, though I give him lots of credit for keeping the team together through the rough patch and getting us into the divisional round. His game plan for Philly was masterful. For Detroit it was okay… We need an edge rusher and an interior lineman in the worst way possible

  44. WyomingJoe Says:

    Buck1987: Nothing strange about me knowing a lot about Baker. I come from a video production background and have watched and edited thousands of sequences of QB play, both for professional and personal use.

    In studying a lot of tape, I just find that Baker, overall, is underrated.

  45. Hum Says:

    Is the NFL games rigged? Most sports are.

  46. OlBoy Says:

    Bowles doesn’t have what it takes to be a super bowl coach and baker doesn’t have what it takes to be a super bowl QB. If they are here next year, well, wysiwyg

    Someone mentioned Justin Fields. That boy has something to offer.

  47. Tony marks Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    January 24th, 2024 at 3:21 pm
    The coaches put Baker in the position to have the ball in his hands with 2 minutes left, and the game on the line


    and down by 8 deep in our own territory with how many timeouts? Thats some special coaching eh? 🙂

    and it really was a wonderful job the coaches were dong allowing all those untouched defenders going full bore at the QB with seemingly ZERO adjustments. I wonder why he felt he had to rip that ball in there when he did when he knew he had so much time behind his splendid line?

    and spare me the drivelling nonsense of most important game of his career….lolol…..save that for Qbs that haven’t won playoff games before. This was probably the least most important playoff game he has played since most didn’t see the Bucs having a prayer.

  48. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Lions had the better OLine, Goff rarely had pressure. Mayfield was pressured all game – that, a dropped interception, and missed FG are why Bucs lost

  49. Allbuccedup Says:

    Did the best team win of course they did I don’t know which game you were watching!

  50. Rod Munch Says:

    I’m not blaming Mayfield for the loss, most QBs are going to fail in that situation – just giving a counterpoint for all the people saying the coaching lost the game.

    But it’s also true that the Lions averaged 27.1 points a game – and the Bucs offense scored 23. You had to have more points out of the offense in that game to have a legit shot at winning.

    At the same time, on the road, in that environment, the Bucs were big underdogs (+6 is a lot for a playoff game), and while the Bucs didn’t cover, and only scored 23 points, they didn’t embarrass themselves.

    Still, Baker had a chance to become a legend. That’s what pretty much every money QB ever wants, is to be in that situation. I know if it was Brady out there, regardless of his age, regardless of the stats, regardless of anything, the Lions went have been s–ting themselves. But to compare Baker to Brady is silly, and only an idiot would do that.

  51. stpetebucfan Says:

    @ D.R. and Adam from N.Y.

    Thanks for helping correct the revisionist history that is swamping this blog!!

    So the game came down to Baker’s int? Go back one year. The Bucs hosting a first round playoff game against the Cowboys.

    As the Buccaneers tried to respond to the Cowboys striking first, Tom Brady threw a costly red-zone interception, negating six points for the Bucs and which gave the ball back to the Cowboys and the Buccaneers defense began to struggle. Momentum was GONE Brady and the O continued to struggle to put up 14 points and the Bucs were humiliated at HOME 31-14 in the FIRST round!!! Clearly Tommy Boy’s Int to the wide open Cowboy defender…not just in the red zone it was in the freaking end zone set the tone for the day.

    Baker makes it past the first round…and keeps the Bucs hanging tough through 3 quarters despite drops…and despite TOTAL DOMINANCE of the trenches by Detroit…BOTH sides of the ball. They gave Goff enough time for a raw meat rookie to complete passes…they had unrelenting pressure on Baker including several jail breaks and individuals coming clean…not even freakng chipped.

    The way some wish to post here I guess I’m supposed to pile on White because OMG he missed a block. When has any other running back done that?

    AGAIN…BOTTOM LINE…yes there is room for improvement but how much room and how much is needed. How far are the Bucs from advancing yet even another round. Call me “old school” but I believe %’s indicate that games are indeed won and lost in the trenches. The Bucs are close with a good draft.

    This should have been an incredibly enjoyable season. I LOVED it. Not so much here at JBF though. The malcontents started early with their lust to have Trask get the starting nod instead of Baker. That continued through most of the season. White sucked…Bowles sucked…and worst of all some mental midgets here actually typed that ME13 was the problem.

    The negativity here has become toxic. Again…there are some here who would throw Kate Upton out of bed crying she’s too big!

  52. Marky Mark Says:

    Always try to win Todd.

  53. Craig Says:

    How can you ask if the Lions were better?

    The Bucs shot themselves in the foot on both offense and on defense. They couldn’t score touchdowns and they couldn’t stop touchdowns.

    It was a lot more lopsided than the score looked and the Bucs mostly looked bad. Maybe the Lions were coached better, but the Bucs had problems in too many places, especially when Dean went down.

  54. BakerBucs Says:

    Kbazzuka says what the better qb plz baker had way better stats had the timing on bombs & did most of the big plays with little help in luding the in his face d all day so I wud say if the tables were turned that juice box goff or shud I say goofball goff wud have folded under pressure like the weasel he is

  55. BakerBucs Says:

    If it wasn’t for the dink & dunk from goff it wud been a buc massacre & what the hell do u mean couldn’t score so they didn’t have 23 points u people posting on this site r morons the bucs were 9&8 this season & were in this game just like the season we were never blown out by anyone damn it’s like arguing with ding bats on this site.& this bucs team were pretty well all newbies they haven’t had 3&4 years together for continuity & were damn successful for 1 season together

  56. BakerBucs Says:

    OMG when u retarded people say bowles is not a Superbowl coach am I stupid or doesn’t the man have a Superbowl ring as a coach with the bucs already WTF is with u dumbazz yoyo’s

  57. Doug Says:

    As a Bucs fan of course I was disappointed but as a football fan I was happy to watch a great playoff game. Last summer all the “experts” picked the Bucs to win 4 games and said Trask would be QB1 by mid-season.

  58. Milton Says:

    Rod Munch Says: “Baker had a chance to become a legend. That’s what pretty much every money QB ever wants, is to be in that situation.”

    Yup. Montana was backed up to his end zone with little time left and needed to go the length of the field to beat the Bengals in the Super Bowl. He did it.

  59. Bucfan Says:

    Our D/C lost the game. 23 points should be enough to win.

  60. Cardiac kidz Says:

    We don’t have a NFL starting center on this team. It did Brady in and did Baker in EVERY TIME, the opposing defense needed to get off the field, they came up the middle. Better lines make for better results.

  61. Mark Says:

    Was B.S. because bad calls were made by offensive coordinator…should of waited until they got them points back before getting fancy…

  62. Brandon Says:

    You can point fingers at Baker all you want for the two picks… the first pick hit Evans right in the hands… not Mayfield’s fault, the second was under quick pressure from the edge, Mayfield’s fault, just like mush of the fault for the sack’s were on him… but a big share of the blame has to go to our genius OC, Dave Canales. The playcalls on 3rd down as we entered Lions territory were horrible calls. Beyond dreadful. Mayfield should have been more mindful of field position and distance but Canales made so horrific calls… very rarely does he do playaction boot with a run pass option on short yardage. This should be a staple of our offense llike it is for many others. Instead, on 3rd and short we go empty or shotgun with a straight dropback. I like Canales, I think he WILL be good, he is maybe average now… but if we had lost him to the Panthers, the biggest loser would have been the Panthers. Canales is barely capable of running a pro offense, let alone an entire team.

  63. lambchop Says:

    Both teams were on-par with each other the entire game. I’m not sure what game Lombardi was watching. He probably needs glasses. Goff diced us up whenever he wanted and the Bucs could easily move the ball up and down when being aggressive. But, as usual, we went away from what was working (testing the Lions CBs).

    We need a double-digit Edge rusher to make pocket passers uncomfortable and hurry their throws or get sacked. This entire defense would look drastically different with that one piece on the DL.

  64. Wes Hall Says:

    Cuda wuda shuda. The Bucs just didn’t have enough Online or Dline. The had an amazing season. Give Baker a decent contract, give Evans a decent contract get OL help in the draft and let’s do it again next year. Canales is gone. But he’s not ready to be a HC. Revolving coaches and players. It never changes.

  65. Robert Says:

    I see all of these negative comments. This team was predicted to win 4 games and came within 8 points of going to the NFC championship game. I have said it all along. This is the worst fan base in the NFL. If not the worst then at least the most uneducated. You people don’t know anything about football. When it comes to a QB, who is out there ? Cousins, Fields or who else? Get real. Baker played his ass off and got his brains beat in every week. SMH.

  66. Robert Says:

    Milton, there is only one Montana. You are an idiot. Like I said uneducated football fans everywhere here in Tampa.