Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints

January 1st, 2024

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It don’t come easy. You know it don’t come easy.

The Bucs have backed themselves into a coffin corner heading into the final game of the regular season. It’s win or go home, literally, when Tampa Bay faces the 2-15 Panthers in Charlotte.

Jobs are on the line, starting with the head coach. If the Bucs, favored by six points, don’t get the job done in Week 18, the Saints could steal the NFC South crown and trigger an offseason shakeup at One Buc Place.

Only one team was ready to play Sunday — and that’s inexcusable considering what was on the line. Of Tampa Bay’s three first downs in the opening half, two came courtesy of yellow flags.

The Bucs were outgained 202-44 after two quarters and the 23-13 final score won’t fool anyone who was there or who watched the debacle. If the Bucs wake up from their coma and beat the Panthers, this travesty will be quickly forgotten as they prepare for the NFC’s No. 5 seed in the postseason.

But make no mistake, Sunday’s lethargic effort serves as a reminder that this team is not close to being a championship contender.

Here’s how the Saints kept hope alive while depriving Todd Bowles of an opportunity to rest some of his battered starters in Charlotte.

* Dave Canales was on a roll coming into this game. Now he’s on a downer as his play calls lacked imagination. Running between the tackles was an exercise in futility on Sunday and Canales was too stubborn to make adjustments until the game was out of reach.

* A plus-10 turnover differential had been a major asset in helping the Bucs control their own playoff destiny. Two fumbles and two interceptions made it far too easy for New Orleans to dominate from the start.

Lavonte David

* Lavonte David was one of the few Bucs to play with passion and precision, leading the way with 11 tackles. Too bad his younger teammates couldn’t match his energy.

* Antoine Winfield Jr. is having a terrific season. On Sunday, he appeared to be a step behind. Look for a bounce-back game at Carolina.

* Baker Mayfield is as tough as they come. As Clint Eastwood said in “Million Dollar Baby,” tough ain’t enough. When it was still a game, Mayfield had nothing going. Tampa Bay’s first eight full possessions ended with five punts and three giveaways.

* Here’s one just for laughs: Every New Orleans player got into the game … except Jameis Winston.

* Not nearly enough pressure against Derek Carr, who completed 75 percent of his throws. TE Juwan Johnson hurt the Bucs repeatedly with eight catches for 90 yards and a score. His fingertip grab over the middle was highlight-film material.

* Special teams was a downer. Saints punter Lou Hedley outkicked Jake Camarda, who had an off day. Rashid Shaheed provided a pair of nice punt returns for the visitors.

* The Saints did a nice job of containing Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for most of the day. When the most targeted Buccaneer is Chase Edmonds, you know you’ve been outschemed.

* The disparity in ball possession was astonishing. The Saints had 20 more snaps and owned a 13-minute advantage in offensive time.

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35 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Saints”

  1. SomeGuy Says:

    Just leaving this here because I will be the first comment and maybe a Joe or two will see it.

    The gameday threads are not readable, at least for me, because I watch the game and read the thread on a tablet. Since the oldest comments display first I have to constantly scroll down, which when you get in the hundreds of comments is not possible.

    There is a WordPress setting that allows you to display the newest comments first, so the reverse of the current order. Have you ever considered using this, at least during game days when the comments are flying? At least for me, it would increase engagement with the site greatly.
    Perhaps Joe will do that on a game day. But it is a good workout to scroll down 1,000-plus comments. Joe is promoting exercise and wellness. –Joe

  2. Bosch Says:

    Good point SomeGuy. Let’s hope the Joes are more proactive in making adjustments than the Bucs coaching staff.

  3. SB~LV Says:

    Derak Sharp
    Stick in the eye!

  4. NJbucs23 Says:

    The good old bucs were being bucs yesterday. We’ve seen this movie many times before.


  5. BucsFan Says:

    Not that it matters , but it is not just lose and go home. If Bucs lose and Cards and Bears win , Bucs are still in.

  6. HC Grover Says:

    Plan A…..get rid of Plan 9….Space him.

  7. hammerhead Says:

    And sadly this terrible performance happened at home. Bowles wanted more crowd noise but no doubt what he actually got were the sight of the Glazer boys slumping down in their plush box seats both fuming and red faced from embarrassment.

  8. Craig Says:

    Sometimes all it takes to boost a football team is one person stepping up.

    Half a dozen of them had the chance yesterday and not a one of them did the actual stepping up part.

    Every single Bucs had a bad day on the field. That points to a HC who can’t motivate a team.

    It also shows the bad side of an inconsistent QB who can’t sustain a drive for love or money.

  9. ChiBuc Says:

    SomeGuy is making some sense!!

    @Joe: Between the frustration from watching the game and scrolling down, the current configuration may be promoting the opposite of wellness

  10. bulldog Says:

    Ira: “When it was still a game, Mayfield had nothing going.”

    It’s been that way all season. No production for 3 quarters followed by looking good and padding stats against defenses in prevent discussing where to have dinner. Joe thinks that’s the mark of a champion. 😂

  11. Bucnjim Says:

    Everyone had a bad day even our kicker! The game started with the Saints marching on an 8 minute drive right down the D’s throat. Had a bad feeling right from the start. Is that what they practiced all week? Worst part for me was they looked extremely slow and unmotivated. Bad games happen, but completely unmotivated should never happen with the division on the line.

  12. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I’m a diehard fan since 76. Bowles is out of his league. To say the assistants came up was poor game plan, that’s passing blame. Give me a break you don’t look over the game plan and have final say. For the better of the team I want Bowles out next year. Whether it means we lose next week or not, and I hate feeling this way.

  13. pancake block Says:

    as Ron Cherry would put it ” they were giving us the business”

  14. DonutsinDFW Says:

    Note to any Bucs fans, including Joe, making the trek up to Charlotte and happen to find themselves sitting near Tepper’s box, bring a few ponchos to wear, those aren’t bro-mosa’s being tossed out the window.

    SomeGuy makes a good point, I like the comment section on game days, it’s great banter, the scrolling isn’t the best. Maybe Joe can tinker with it for the draft or a preseason game if Ira doesn’t allow it for Sunday’s game.

  15. Obvious Says:

    “And I hate feeling this way”….

    Man, truer words are hard to find. I’m pretty sick of false hopeium. In the end, zebras don’t change stripes?!

    Bowles blaming everyone but himself is part for the course for him. His record of pointing his finger Everywhere, Anywhere but directly at himself is legendary!
    It is well known that Todd Bowles through just about every single OC he had under the bus, year after year with the jets org and the trend continues right here in good Ole Tampa.

    I’ve got NO RESPECT for a man that blames everyone but his very guilty self.

    What about YOUR game plan Todd? What happened there Pinocchio?

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    “2-15” Panthers is presumptuous.

    I won’t be shocked if it becomes “3-14 Panthers.”

    Bowles in fantastically capable of laying massive eggs.

  17. Bojim Says:

    Man I’m glad I get get Fox. ESPN Gamecast was bad enough.

  18. WyomingJoe Says:

    Craig: Your hatred for Baker is ongoing and largely unjustified. Yes, he had two picks, but that is one small reason for our defeat yesterday. If we opened up our offense to start the game we would have kicked their butts. And that goes for most of this year as well! Why is that so hard for your meager mind to comprehend?

    And I would also add that Baker did not pick up “garbage” yards. Garbage yards are 4-5 yard short passes, not 40-50 yard bombs.

    Losers like you don’t deserve Baker. The Bucs should mortgage their future by trading players and moving up in the draft. Then they can roll the dice and pray that their young stud is the savior they’ve been searching for.

  19. optimisticbucsfan Says:



  20. Thundersack Says:


    Great suggestion! It was a bit of a pain on gameday. Would be great if they could implement that.

  21. OlBoy Says:

    If canales would have ‘opened the offense’ Baker would have had four interceptions.

    “The Bucs should mortgage their future by trading players and moving up in the draft. Then they can roll the dice and pray that their young stud is the savior they’ve been searching for.”

    If you mean draft a quarterback, then yes, yes they should.

  22. Bobby Says:

    Please Jason resign Lavonte David to another multi-year contract.

  23. OlBoy Says:

    I don’t know, Ira. The team that I watched yesterday on the field with the Saints just aren’t a very good coached team. It’s coaching and we are missing pieces. Even if we had all the pieces I just don’t think we can overcome the bad coaching. No matter how the rest of the season rolls out, I’d start where the buck stops.

  24. Bobby Says:

    Terrible game yesterday

  25. OldDirtyBucFan Says:

    We always lose to really physical teams that can run the ball. And the Oline is the same, physical defenses just run them over. Gotta be able to play with that sort if physicality if you wanna win consistently and be in the hunt for a SB.

  26. NEOhiobuc Says:

    Maybe just maybe, the Bucs came out flat because the game plan was a rehash of the October game plan. Run into a brick wall, then put 2 WRs into the pattern so they’re double covered and throw the minus 2 yard check down.

  27. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    The Saints made an immediate adjustment on offense. After the first 2 dropbacks of the game by Carr, YaYa was in his face and nearly got to him. No more holding the ball after that. Bucs DBs were playing far off the LOS so it made for easy pitch and catch to his receivers. Our D had no answer and Canales failed to make any adjustments, certainly not as early as NO did. We were content to give them easy 6 or 7 yard tosses and they were happy to take them.

    Camarda had a WTF?? kind of day. Nobody saw that coming. Even ONE bad punt in a game is rare from him. His kickoffs were often short also, but that may have been by design. Maybe Bowles was thinking if we gave them a chance to field the ball we could shake one loose for a turnover deep in their territory. Only thing I can think of.

    Poor game plan on both sides of the ball and a total lack of adjustments early when the NO offense was burning the clock away with the lead. Up-tempo doesn’t mean no-huddle. Just get the snap off without using up the entire play clock when the game clock is running. They screwed themselves out of extra possessions and possessions are scoring opportunities. Ya kinda need to score, especially when you’re down early.

  28. Vgb Says:

    Take away? . Bucs can’t win the games that they need to win against good defenses…now they play another division rival with nothing to lose…they cannot even rest starters because they need this win…welcome to life without brady….will be shocked if the win against panthers

  29. orlbucfan Says:

    Aints were hungry and ready, and Bucs weren’t. Plus, Canales went into braindead mode, and did not open the playbook. To top it off, Diva White was non-existent, and Camarda picked this one to have a horrible punting day. I’m just relieved Bucs didn’t lay an egg as in shutout. That’s not happening next week. Watch the weather suck and Charlotte will have a rare snow blizzard.

  30. Duane in Sanford Says:

    Tough matchup against a hated divisional foe. Their secondary is legit, and we have problems running the ball. Still take my chances next week. Only a one week stay of execution of the rest of the NFC South. I would be more frustrated about this game if I were a Saints fan. They wont be hanging their hat on this game in the offseason.

  31. VOT Says:

    The stumbling, fumbling, bumbling Todd Bowles is the worst coach in all levels of football

    The mirage of feeding on bottom dwellers disappears anytime we play a decent opponent

    It would be a huge benefit to all Buc fans if we lose Sunday so this joke of a staff can get run the heck out of here

  32. Mike Noblin Says:

    I hear and see regularly, comments about how Bowles blames everyone but him! This is not true. To paraphrase his previous comments, “we are all to blame, players , coaches everyone. I do think he needs work in his motivation. I called this from the start , we wouldn’t beat them. Looking for the panthers to go big on chuba Hubbard and run. Praying for a win!

  33. DBS Says:

    Great suggestion Some Guy. I hope they do it.

  34. Since76 Says:

    Mayfield doesn’t trust Evans and Godwin to catch contested balls. Brady did. He threw to them double covered or not. But then again Mayfield isn’t accurate so I guess it’s better we just have 50 yards and no ints. 1 st world problems.

  35. garro Says:

    * Baker Mayfield is as tough as they come. As Clint Eastwood said in “Million Dollar Baby,” tough ain’t enough. When it was still a game, Mayfield had nothing going. Tampa Bay’s first eight full possessions ended with five punts and three giveaways.

    Ouch Ira! You are hurting my soul!

    Thats 1976 type stuff!

    Go Bucs!