Five Things

January 8th, 2024

YaYa Diaby and Shaq Barrett celebrate a hat and T-shirt win. (Photo courtesy of

What a Victory Monday it is! You don’t often see an offense play this badly and its team wins a division, much less a football game. But welcome to the world of your 2023 NFC South champion Bucs. Belly up to the bar and let’s f’ing go!

A Game So Ugly It Was Beautiful

So, the Bucs are NFC South champs. Damn it feels good. Damn if Joe doesn’t have a sour feeling in his stomach, too (and it’s not from sucking down Bromosas while eating mac and cheese).

While the 9-0 win was fantastic, man, have you ever seen such an ugly victory? That offense may have been the worst Joe has seen in years. Brew-tell!

Look, Joe is celebrating a division crown and at least one more home game (maybe more?). On Monday Night Football no less! But Joe honestly doesn’t know if he wants to party or go to a wake.

The defense came to play yesterday in Carolina and made sure the Stinking Panthers didn’t score. The Bucs offense? For the second-straight week, they were sleep-walking.

One big reason Tampa Bay struggled is because Baker Mayfield struggled. The Bucs quarterback was clearly hurt and maybe shouldn’t have been out there. Then he got his ankle screwed up.

Joe thought it was telling that FOX sideline reporter Shannon Spake said Mayfield sate slumped over between possessions and was breathing heavily, as if he was searching his inner self for the resilience to get back on the field.


Mayfield didn’t play well and may have had his worst game of the year. But he found a way to scratch and claw for nine points while the Bucs’ defense picked up the slack and slammed the door.

What About The Offense?

The offense has been crap the past two weeks. After looking like it had the corner turned with true explosions in December, the offense has gone dormant.

Joe is not trying to rag on the guy here but Mayfield has had poor games the past two weeks. Joe isn’t sure why against the Saints. Yesterday, it was clear: Mayfield was hurt. His ribs were sure affecting his throws and then he dinged up his ankle.

Joe gives Mayfield credit for gutting it out and finding a way to win, but he has to step up his game if the Bucs hope to beat a wounded Eagles team.

Tristan Wirfs Speaks Out

Though happy with the win, Joe could tell Bucs left tackle Tristan Wirfs was p!ssed. Why? The Bucs have one touchdown in the past two games.

That kind of output (or lack of output) will get a team bounced fast in the playoffs. After Todd Bowles announced in the postgame celebration that everyone was getting a game ball, Wirfs spoke up.

And the mild-mannered self-glossed cornfed had something to say. He announced the offense isn’t carrying its share of the load.

“We ain’t scored in eight quarters. We’ve got to be better when we f’ing go into the f’ing playoffs,” Wirfs barked. “We’ve got to put f’king points on the board.”

Again, Joe says Mayfield’s injuries held him back yesterday. A week prior, receivers were open and Mayfield didn’t always hit them (throwing to an open Mike Evans as opposed to a wide ass open Rachaad White isn’t a bad decision).

Yesterday was weird. It seemed Mayfield and the Bucs targeted Trey Palmer early and he was guarded often by Jaycee Horn, who is very good.

Whatever the reason for the lack of offense the past two weeks, bad decisions, bad plays, bad health, bad schemes, bad gameplans, things must be corrected and soon.

Defense Picked Up The Slack

“Defense, we appreciate you!” is how Wirfs first addressed the team in a locker room huddle seen in a celebration video released by the team. But Wirfs also acknowledged how much the offense needs to pick it up.

Every fan should ppreciate what the defense did. Joe doesn’t care how bad the Stinking Panthers are; shutting out an NFL team is a high bar to clear. The Bucs haven’t done that in over 13 years. On the road no less.

It started early when YaYa Diaby got a sack, Lavonte David was everywhere as usual. Devin White was making splash plays — he wrapped up! — and then there was the play of the game by Antoine Winfield, Jr.

One play after Carolina got a touchdown called back on an alignment infraction that would have made the Bucs lead 9-6, maybe the unlikeliest player on the Bucs defense rose up and helped put the Bucs into the playoffs.

Maligned Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, the near-invisible former first round pick of an outside linebacker, flew in from the right side and slapped the ball away from Stinking Panthers quarterback Bryce Young. Greg Gaines got the fumble and that was all she wrote.

Hell, Joe even saw Logan Hall (who?) make a play, his first solo tackle(s) in weeks!

Man, the defense came to play. When a couple of guys who have either disappeared or been benched make plays, especially JTS’, well, that tells you the entire Bucs defense came to play.

So, About Todd Bowles

Joe will take a step back for the folks mad the Bucs made the playoffs because that means Bowles likely now has job security.

It’s the third straight division title and the second straight for head coach coach Todd Bowles. So Bowles has twice as many division titles as the sainted Father Dungy. He has as many division titles as one of the founding fathers of the franchise John McKay.

So is Bowles’ name going up in Ring of Honor?

Joe doesn’t think Team Glazer will be in much of a hurry to unload a guy who has two division titles in consecutive seasons to his name.

47 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. steele Says:

    This article pretty much captures it.

    On one hand, playoffs. Regardless of the many reasons they have been undeserving and unimpressive, beneficiaries of being in the worst division in the NFL, fortunate matchups at the right time, etc. etc. In this season in which no team—not one—is surefire dominant, it is a total crapshoot.

    On the other hand, making the playoffs virtually guarantees that the rebuild that needs to happen will not. Instead we get more Bowels, more Baker, more Canales, more neither here nor there.

    The path to the SB is not as difficult as it looked. Watch them beat the Eagles, who are collapsing, and no Hurts. And then? The 49ers could fall apart at any moment. Shanahan is not a great coach when it counts, they have injuries, Purdy is inconsistent.

    It is as ridiculous a season as a WWE cage free for all.

  2. MadMax Says:

    So @Rod and @David….i know we suck, its stupid…but here we are nancy boys!!!

  3. bob in valrico Says:

    Baker played on pure guts and instincts yesterday. No matter what you think of him as a QB, he deserves a ton of respect for his effort, IMO. That said, did Bowles
    put his guy at risk for further injury, maybe? Did he risk not having a healthy starter next week ? It takes weeks for bruised ribs to heal and the hits Baker absorbed will not help the healing process. Baker will most likely have some very uncomfortable days and nights nights until the injury heals.

  4. MadMax Says:

    My man Winfield!!!!! And my man McLaughlin!!!! And Baker (go f yourselves baker haters) O Line, Wirfs knows….

    But dont sleep on this, we got a lot of work ahead!!!

  5. Jerseybuc Says:

    O needs to be better Monday. Eagles are pulling apart they can be had. Gotta be aggressive on both sides nothing to lose!! Baker def needs to be better more Godwin please less Palmer n thompkins

  6. Usedtocould Says:

    If we’ve got Baker, we have a shot. I’m very excited to see who we get in the second round.

  7. Hodad Says:

    Hopefully we can win a 4th division crown with a 9-7 record next season too.

  8. dmatt Says:

    The eagles don’t drop interceptions. Baker is inconsistent n inaccurate. He keep trying to be the hero on every play. The Panthers line held the Bucs even with them blitzing, the offense bought Bryce some time. Please sit Trey Palmer, he’s not what he claims he is “see ball, catch ball”. His preseason games were a fluke. He’s another Kenny Bell/Scotty Miller. Cade Otton is soft and passive, another OJHoward. Let’s see what Payne Durham can do. Also, put Dave Moore n Raheem Jarrett with Evans n Godwin n air this thing out. Let’s go!!!!!!

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    Yup, we get treated with Bowles for another season.

    Trying to find that silver lining, at least there will be continuity.

  10. Kalind Says:

    The problem with that thinking is Bowles is the reason we’re here. As the division improves, the ability to win it 9-8 and flunk the playoffs will be higher. We are watching the Bowles ceiling right now. Does anyone think a late third round pick, Mayfield resigned and a few bargain bin FAs will make this team a SB contender? If so….wow. I need your ‘stuff’

  11. Kalind Says:

    First rd. Stupid phone…

  12. Dennis H. Says:

    Baker toughed it out yesterday. I was certain he wouldn’t try and run for first downs because he was so banged up, but then he did. There is a point though where tough becomes foolish. That’s what happened to him in Cleveland. I hope Baker’s ready to go for Philly, but also hope Bowles sits him if it’s best for Baker and the team. That’s why there’s a #2 QB.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Steele … ‘On the other hand, making the playoffs virtually guarantees that the rebuild that needs to happen will not. Instead we get more Bowels, more Baker, more Canales, more neither here nor there.’

    Our major rebuild started this year (49% of the guys who played at least 1 snap for us in 2022 weren’t on the 2023 team). And it’ll continue in 2024 in a major way IMO (salary CAP constraints will dictate that).

    Yes Todd Bowles will get another year (he’s done a respectable job developing our new guys & that’s what the owners care about in rebuilding years). He’s already far exceeded early season projections of 4-6 wins. And besides, they owe him for 3 more years & starting from scratch with a new HC AND coaching staff is no easy task (Glazers have stumbled down that path before). And yes Dave Canales will be back too.

    One guy who won’t be back IMO is Baker Mayfield. We can’t afford him (he’ll get a multi-year contract of $30 mil plus per year is my guess, just not from us). Two players who will be back though … our priorities … are Winfield (probably $20 mil per year) and Wirfs (we’ll do a multi-year contract for him at probably $25 mil per year rather than keep him on a 5th year option).

  14. nick houllis Says:

    we LITERALLY partied like its 1999

    in ’99 season Bucs win over bears 6-3 during season, a key win in Central division championship!

  15. johnnymoon Says:

    The Bucs scored 2 Tds vs the Saints ..Yes in Garbage time but still TDS.

  16. ModHairKen Says:

    Rebuild is such a stupid term.

    They need to replace the Center. The Guards. The Right Tackle. The Safety. The two Corners and the LBs. Some of the replacements are already here.

    Yes. I think a late 1st round pick and some FAs will make a difference.

    Who picked this team to make the playoffs? Win more than 5 games? I said 11-6. I was wrong. But I was more optimistic than the Nancy’s on this site who are even more vocal now.

    Go cheer for Head Coach Jameis and the Saints, losers.

  17. johnnymoon Says:

    Hope Miami/KC has terrible ratings ..Dumb idea to do Peacock.

  18. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Joe, did Dungy cut in front of you in a buffet line or something? Seems like you go out of your way to fire strays at the guy for no apparent reason.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    To be fair, the offense was knocking on the door with 2 minutes left, timeouts and inside the red zone……we probably could have gotten 7.

    How many kneeldowns have we had this year? They are killing our run stats.

    I suspect Bowles’ confidence numbers won’t improve much from that game.

    And, what the hell is Canales calling a running play that loses 7 yards when we are in FG range…….McLaughlin bailed him out with a 57 yarder.

  20. gotbbucs Says:

    Right place at the right time as far as Bowles is concerned. He’s basically the king of turds right now.
    Bowles will be back because at this current moment this is not an attractive job to perspective candidates. QB is still a question mark and the salary cap is still a work in process. Evans and Winfields contracts will only make the cap issues longer lasting as the proverbial can will keep getting kicked further down the road..
    We’re definitely not the best team in the NFC South right now. The Saints are just peaking a week or two too late. They would kick the crap out of us again if we played them next week.

  21. johnnymoon Says:

    Bowles has to go because this team won the Division and were projected to Win 5 games …Never thought in 46 years I would hear that .

  22. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Why are you praising a QB who played like dogsh**? You don’t celebrate a performance like that. If injury caused that performance it’s even worse. We have a healthy 2nd round pick QB that should have played. But sure, keep the injured QB in so he can throw to the other team all day. Lucky AF that CAR dropped all those INTs. That was terrible coaching.

    And, stop trying to blame the poor QB play on injuries. He was just as bad last week before the injury. He was just as bad the first time we played CAR. He was just as bad the first time we played PHI.

    I still can’t tell if the defense played well, or if CAR’s offense is that bad. Leaning toward the latter, but it’s probably a mix of both.

  23. Lord Cornelius Says:

    It was a shaky game by Mayfield for sure – maybe one of if not the worst games of hte year given how important it was and who the opponent was, and he should have had like 2 picks and missed some other throws.

    We need to hit on big plays to really make the offense hum. Not sure what happened to Mike Evans because we seemed to have something working early then never went back to it

  24. Bosch Says:

    I still maintain if Bucs get bounced hard in round one and Bowles does not get bounced then he is being held to a lower standard the Dungy. You fail to mention Joe, that Dungy got the Bucs to the NFC championship with Shaun King at quarterback. AND the Bucs nearly pulled it off. Bowles resume cannot begin to Compare. Back to back championships? It happened with a combined record of 17-17 in a historically bad division that somebody had to win. And that included having Tom Brady for half of that span.

    Both this year and last, you can say with certainty the Bucs would not be in the playoffs if they were in any other division. Back to back division championships have never been more meaningless.

  25. Weebs10 Says:

    Love seeing and hearing that from Wirfs!!!

  26. Lombardi Lenny Says:

    Enjoy this brief playoff appearance Bucs fans, cuz man are we gonna pay for it by being terrible for the next few years. Was the division title worth it if it means we sign Baker to a few year deal and keep Bowles around too? ABSOLUTELY NOT IMO.

    You can already see it clear as day….Carolina cleaning house and the Falcons too. It’s not gonna be the same easy division next year. I guarantee it.

  27. AMI_Chris Says:

    Moxie Man did gut out the win. He made many first down conversions this season on scrambles that Tom Terrific never would have made. But he missed a lot of throws. And Lord knows how many open receivers he didn’t see. I don’t know what the alternatives are but it would be hard for me hand over a boatload of my cash to this for three years, based on this season. Need to upgrade the OL and find a running game.

  28. Hammerhead Says:

    Bowles errored in not giving Trask some reps this season even in the few games where he could have taken some snaps even in mop up time. Now we have a backup who might have to start a playoff game who is green as grass. This from a coach who obviously is playing strictly to save his job. Seeing Mayfield out there yesterday hurting and ineffective was evidence of this. We will probably never know what we may have had in Trask unless Baker has to be carted off the field.

  29. Tucker Says:

    When exactly was Todd supposed to put Trask in besides yesterday when he was obviously injured? Cult of Trask is strong team has seen him for years now there is a reason he isn’t starting and it isn’t what you think it is. Go bucs

  30. Astralturf Says:

    fans might be similar everywhere, but I’ve noticed that high penalty counts and yards prompt lambasting of the coaching staff and low penalty counts and yards prompt … crickets…

  31. Bosch Says:

    Hammerhead is absolutely correct. It is imperative that a back up be given reps during the season. You never know when you’ll need him. So will Bowles do the right thing and prepare Trask as though he will be the starter? You can’t even count on this nitwit to address the obvious.

  32. Billy Bob Bubba Bo Baggins Says:

    OK, the real story is Ya Ya’s arms Those arms are huge and what the heck. I have never seen anyone’s elbows go down to the waist

  33. infomeplease Says:

    First of all, I’m not a TB fan as the HC! He is a decent DC. That said, I would prefer him gone after this season. That won’t happen though. The owner’s make very good money hosting a home playoff game and TB brought him 2 of those. Could this team be better with a better HC? I say YES! Will it happen? Not next season! For now this team is stuck with TB as their HC! Let’s hope he improves and JL finds more gems in the draft and leftover undrafted players that is all the rebuild this team will see.

    The offense needs to show up on Monday night!! The defense needs to play as hard or harder than they did Sunday. CM needs to continue to make those long field goals when called upon!

    It’s the PLAYOFFS!!! LFG!!!5

  34. Angry Since Kickoff Says:

    It is worth looking at Sunday’s results to see how the playoffs unfold. If the Rams or Packers can win, that means the Bucs would avoid San Fran in the second round. That’s huge. Especially if Green Bay beats Dallas. That leaves Bucs at Lions in the Divisional Round.

  35. orlbucfan Says:

    Mr. All-Pro and highly respected Wirfs is absolutely right. I want my Bucs to win. I’m glad McLaughlin and ST got a shout-out. With BM banged up, I hope Bowles is letting Trask practice with the first string offense. We need that backup insurance now more than ever. You can bet your rear end, Eagles’ defense will have their ears pinned back and go after BM. Count on it.

  36. Michael Says:

    Logan Hall got pushed around yesterday. I saw one run play were he got blasted backwards and just opened up a big hole for a big run.

    Wirf’s got really pissed in that altercation towards the beginning of the game. I do not remember seeing him get that angry on the field before.

  37. Greg Says:

    There is no indication that any of the NFC south teams are going to be much better next year. Clearing house in Atlanta and Carolina usually doesn’t mean better. It means more rebuilding, more philosophy changes, more developing draft talent. The Saints live annually in cap-hell, but they’ll find ways to sign players. But I just don’t think Dennis Allen is inspiring a lot of FA’s to think they’re just “me” away from contending again.

    I don’t like Bowles either, and I honestly think that Mayfield is too inconsistent to count on and he is what he is at this point in his career. But despite all of that, we developed A LOT of young, high ceiling talent this season (Diaby, Kancy, Izien, Mccollum, Goedecke, Palmer, White).

    If we can resign Winfield, extend Wirfs, not kill our cap by resigning ME and draft half as well next year as we did this year we have a team that can’t sustain being competitive.

    Get out from under the cap cost of the Brady years and build a solid team that hopefully a high-level coach and QB sees and says, yeah, they’re “me” away from contending.

  38. Joe Says:

    So will Bowles do the right thing and prepare Trask as though he will be the starter?

    Not sure about “right thing” but Canales said last week Trask is “ready.”

    It’s really this simple and for whatever reason people fully ignore it: It is now crystal clear to any one who can add two-plus-two that Bowles and/or the coaching staff does not trust Trask. Anyone remember how Clyde Christensen didn’t want to give the kid snaps?

    If Bowles trusted Trask, he probably would have played by now.

  39. bucs bleeder Says:

    Talk about ugly win ,how bout 1979 when the Bucs won 3-0 against KC to win the division, the last game of the regular season.

  40. Bucfan1988 Says:

    Joe, all the Mayfield fanboys think Trask sucks because Bowles won’t play him.
    Not the case, it’s a trust issue…

    Bowles hitching his coaching career purely behind Mayfield is a death sentence.

    How do you earn a coach’s trust??
    PLAYING TIME and running the offense smoothly.

    Bowles won’t give him the chance to earn his trust….

    That’s why I’m done with TB.

    Trask should have already got playing time this year.
    Bowles had opportunities between Greenbay/Jacksonville games to get him some time, but didn’t…

    It will come back to haunt him…

  41. Rayjay1122 Says:

    Mayfield reminds me of the Monty Python Knight who would not quit fighting because everything was “just a flesh wound”. I appreciate the fighting spirit but be smart enough to know when it is hurting the team.

  42. unbelievable Says:

    Todd Bowles have the team an extra day off before the last 2 games… coincidentally the offense has s(p)it all over itself both weeks since then. And guess what, they’re getting an extra day off again this week. But I’m sure this time it will work out better… I mean just look how great we’ve been after our bye weeks under Bowles too.

    But I’ll try to be optimistic and say that hey- maybe the extra day off will allow Canales to pull his head out of his arse and put together a good game plan for the Eagles. But the realist in me says no, he’ll try to force the run against the strength of the Eagles, their d-line, instead of trying to light up their woeful pass defense.

    Prove me wrong Canales! Please!

  43. SlyPirate Says:

    “We ain’t scored in eight quarters. We’ve got to be better when we f’ing go into the f’ing playoffs,” Wirfs barked. “We’ve got to put f’king points on the board.”

    Glad someone on the offense is thinking this. Just wish it was the coaching staff.

  44. firethecannons Says:

    So look at the picture for this story, look at Yaya’s upper right arm. Both his arms look like this–this kid is obscene! He is built different than any other player. Real beefy and big. Still reminds of JPP, he just isn’t wacko enough like JPP was.

  45. Bosch Says:

    Joe says: It is now crystal clear to any one who can add two-plus-two that Bowles and/or the coaching staff does not trust Trask.

    If this is true than Bowles is even a greater failure as a head coach, because he has put the offense in a horrible predicament, by not having a trustworthy option at QB #2. In fact, why is Trask even on the team? One good hit on Mayfield and Bowles has no choice but to play the QB he allegedly doesn’t trust. Great job, coach! Way to prepare!

    This has the look of SF in the NFC championship game having NO back up for Purdy. That was coaching malfeasance, and if you are right about the mistrust, Joe, then so is this.

  46. RustyRhinos Says:

    Hey Steele. “SO, you’re saying we have a chance!”

    WE DO! The only way to get that chance is with a Winning record in your division, Check! We now have a “HOME PLAYOFF” GAME. Otherwise, we are sitting home like a lot of other NFL Teams, Fans whose Season is now over, and are riding the “who we going to get to GM, Coach, Draft our team”…..

    Not the Tampa Bay Buccaneer 3 seasons Running NFC SOUTH CHAMPIONS!!!! Our “fans” get to proclaim their enjoyment of our current situation as a reason to belittle how we got here.

    How WE play going forward is the ONLY thing that matters!!! Sadly we do not hear much of the We had a 9-8 season, and won our division. Our young drafted players are all looking to be good or better. Our team looks like they are all coming together, we need a complete game from all sides, Coaches and Players, O, D, ST.

  47. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Baker has my respect but he’s got to play better. He shouldn’t have played yesterday because if injuries but there’s excuse for his poor play against the saints. I hope he balls out against the eagles we need him to if we want to go deep into the playoffs. If he keeps playing poor it’s 1 n done. Bad eagles arnt as bad as the panthers