It’s time for PewterReport.com’s 2-Point Conversion post-game column, which features two statements, two questions and two predictions based on the latest Bucs game. Tampa Bay won its first postseason game since its Super Bowl win during the 2002 season, winning its wild card game at Washington, 31-23. Bucs quarterback Tom Brady was great, leading the offense with 381 yards and two touchdowns, and Tampa Bay got a great fill-in performance from Leonard Fournette to make up for a shaky outing from the defense against backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

2 BIG STATEMENTS

STATEMENT 1. Bucs Can Only Go As Far As Brady Can Take Them

On a night when Tom Brady became the oldest NFL player to throw a touchdown pass in the postseason, he showed he is still good enough to carry a team through a hard-fought, 31-23 playoff win at Washington. Brady entered Saturday night’s game at age 43 and 159 days for the 11-5 Buccaneers in a slugfest against a 7-9 Washington Football Team with a backup quarterback, whereas George Blanda was 43 years old and 108 days when he played in the 1970 AFC Championship Game.

The future Hall of Famer not only guided Tampa Bay to its first postseason win since Super Bowl XXXLVII on January 26, 2003, but he set several franchise records in doing so. Brady completed 22-of-40 passes for 381 yards, which was the most in team history in the postseason, and two touchdowns in a game that the Bucs never trailed. In fact, Tampa Bay hasn’t trailed in any quarter in each of its last three games.

Bucs QB Tom Brady
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

The Bucs amassed a playoff-record 507 yards and scored the second-most points in the postseason in team history outside of the team’s 48-21 win over Oakland in the Super Bowl. Brady could have thrown for 450 yards had his receivers not dropped so many passes. Tampa Bay would need every yard and every point to beat a stingy Washington team that got a great performance from backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who passed for 306 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 46 yards and another score to keep the Football Team in the game throughout the night.

Brady’s night would’ve been better if not for a very uncharacteristic performance from Chris Godwin, who dropped five of the 12 passes that came his way, yet managed to hang on to five of them for 79 yards and a touchdown. Brady’s two most reliable targets in the nation’s capital wound up being wide receiver Mike Evans, who shook off a knee injury to finish with six catches for 119 yards, and tight end Cameron Brate, who hauled in four catches for 80 yards. Evans’ 119 yards were the most by any Bucs receiver in postseason history.

“Anytime the ball goes to Chris, it’s [usually] automatic,” said Bucs head coach Arians. “That one big [drop] to start the second half was huge. Cam came up huge – he’s had a hell of a year for us. Byron [Leftwich] does a great job of getting him matched up.”

Wide receiver Antonio Brown was limited to just two catches for 49 yards, but caught a 36-yard touchdown pass, Brady’s first of the night, and also had a 22-yard gain on an end around.

The most surprising development of the game was running back Leonard Fournette filling in for Ronald Jones II, who was active but sat out with a quadriceps injury. Fournette rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and caught all four of the passes thrown his way for 39 yards. On a night without Jones and LeSean McCoy, who missed the game with an illness, Fournette had to carry the load, especially after rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn fumbled in the third quarter after rushing for 21 yards on five carries.

“It was cool, but that’s my job – it’s filling in for ‘Ro,’” Fournette said. “It’s been an up-and-down season for me. I think this year tested my [humility]. Coming from being the whole offense to being a minor piece, it’s off and on for me. I just kept faith and they believed in me.”

Bucs QB Tom Brady and Washington DE Chase Young
Bucs QB Tom Brady and Washington DE Chase Young – Photo by: USA Today

Tampa Bay’s offensive line did a fantastic job in powering the ground game to 142 yards and 4.9-yard rushing average, while protecting Brady for most of the game. Left tackle Donovan Smith played one of his best games on Saturday night, holding Washington rookie defensive end Chase Young to just three tackles, two QB pressures and no sacks. The Bucs O-line surrendered three sacks, but two came from Washington defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne against Ted Larsen, who filled in at right guard for Alex Cappa, who suffered a fractured ankle in the game.

“They did a great job,” Brady said. “Those guys played their butts off. Tristan [Wirfs] did a great job, and Donnie played a hell of a game. It’s a great front – just a big, aggressive defense. They played well. They played hard. It was a good test for us.”

Arians echoed that sentiment.

“I think it was the biggest storyline of the week, just because one guy says, ‘I want Tom,’” Arians said. “They’ve got a great front. Our guys took it to heart – they were going to block them. I thought we blocked them really, really well. They didn’t scare us.”

After Washington’s last touchdown closed the gap to 28-23 late in the game, Tampa Bay’s offensive line held up long enough for Brady to heave a perfect, 35-yard pass to Evans for a big gain and a first down. On a night when Evans came through with some clutch catches, none might have been bigger than that one.

“It’s a huge night for him. We always say how tough he is – he was probably 85 [to] 90 percent, which for Mike, that’s great. He played most of the season at 70 [percent healthy]. We had that one go off his fingertips that I thought he was going to get, but I can’t say enough about him gutting it out and playing great.”

A 13-yard run by Fournette helped get the Bucs into field goal range where Ryan Succop would connect on a 37-yard field goal to seal the win with 2:49 left in regulation. Succop made all four of his field goals and connected on his final two extra points after his first attempt was blocked.

Bucs QB Tom Brady and LT Donovan Smith - Photo by: USA Today
Bucs QB Tom Brady and LT Donovan Smith – Photo by: USA Today

Tampa Bay entered the game averaging 30.8 points this season and hit that average, scoring at least 30 points in nine of the team’s 17 games in 2020. The Bucs are now 12-0 in games in which they score 25 points or more, and next week will be a much tougher challenge as the team will travel to New Orleans to face the Saints for a third time this season, or host the Los Angeles Rams at Raymond James Stadium again, depending on the outcome of Sunday’s New Orleans vs. Chicago playoff game.

The Bucs scored just 23 points in the season-opening loss at New Orleans and only three in the rematch in Tampa Bay on Sunday Night Football, while losing to the Rams, 27-24. With the Bucs defense not playing well in Washington, Tampa Bay will only go as far as Brady, who made his 42nd postseason start, takes them in the next round – and it seems like scoring at least 30 points again is a must.

STATEMENT 2. Bucs Defense Not Good Enough To Advance

The Bucs defense is not good enough for this team to win the Super Bowl. It’s not good enough to stop New Orleans, which has scored 34 and 38 points against Tampa Bay in two previous meetings, nor is it good enough to beat the Packers again – this time in Green Bay, assuming the Pack advance to the NFC Championship Game in a few weeks.

In a 31-23 win at Washington, Todd Bowles’ troops had a difficult time stopping Heinicke, who threw for 306 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 46 yards and another score. Heinicke, a fourth-year undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion, was starting just his second NFL game because Alex Smith couldn’t go due to a calf injury.

Washington QB Taylor Heinicke
Washington QB Taylor Heinicke – Photo by: USA Today

“He was very elusive,” Arians said. “We knew he was going to scramble around [and] there was going to be bootlegs and scrambles. We were really hoping for Alex because we knew that part of the game wasn’t going to be in there. He got out of some really good spots and he made some really good plays. He had a lot of poise.”

Heinicke was Washington’s leading rusher, as Tampa Bay’s top-ranked rushing defense did a good job holding Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic to 36 yards rushing and a touchdown on 16 carries (2.3 avg.), and a combined four catches for 12 yards. But Heinicke made the Bucs defense look silly on a couple of scrambles, including a 13-yarder and an 8-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to shrink Tampa Bay’s lead to 18-16, while breaking containment.

“It was definitely a challenge just containing him and keeping him in the pocket because he’s very mobile,” said Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who had an interception on a tipped pass in the first quarter. “We just had to adjust on the fly, play ball, keep him contained and make plays.”

Murphy-Bunting was beaten by Steven Sims, Jr. on a perfectly thrown 11-yard touchdown pass from Heinicke with 4:51 left in regulation to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 28-23. After Succop’s 37-yard field goal increased the Bucs’ lead to eight points at 31-23, linebacker Lavonte David closed the door on any comeback attempt by Heinicke with a huge 11-yard sack to force a fourth-and-21 situation that Washington did not convert. David, who was playing in the first playoff game of his nine-year career, led the Bucs defense, which was playing without Devin White, with nine tackles.

“It was great because we were tackling like shit the whole game,” Arians said. “We finally got him when it mattered. I don’t think it’s the best our defense has played – it was terrible up until the last eight minutes.”

Wide receiver Cam Sims finished with 104 yards on seven catches, while Terry McLaurin had six receptions for 75 yards and tight end Logan Thomas hauled in five passes for 74 yards. Murphy-Bunting and cornerback Jamel Dean struggled in coverage, and even Carlton Davis III, who returned from a groin injury that cost him the last two games of the regular season, gave up some catches he usually prevents.

Bucs CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
Bucs CB Sean Murphy-Bunting – Photo by: USA Today

Safety Jordan Whitehead dropped a red zone interception that hit him between the numbers, and Tampa Bay’s pass rush struggled to get home, recording only two sacks despite the return of Shaquil Barrett. Jason Pierre-Paul, who is struggling with a knee injury, and Barrett combined for just five tackles, two tackles-for-loss, one QB hit and one pass breakup.

The lack of pass rush – even when blitzing – coupled with lackluster pass coverage nearly spelled doom for the Bucs against a lesser opponent like Washington, which averaged just over 20 points per game. So what’s going to happen against a much better offense next week?

The Bucs finished the 2020 season 11-0 against teams with a losing record. But next week’s opponent – whether it’s New Orleans or Los Angeles – won’t have a losing record and will have even more firepower for Bowles’ unit to deal with.

“Well, we’ll see when we play next week,” Arians said. “No, this performance defensively, it wouldn’t be [good enough to win]. Offensively, it would be. We’ll show up and see. I think some of our guys – I don’t think veterans did, but some of our younger guys – might have relaxed when Alex Smith wasn’t playing. I kind of kept preaching at them, ‘This kid can run, he can do a lot of things.’ He almost beat us with his legs. I’m never going to apologize for winning, and next week’s next week.”

2 PROBING QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: What Was Up With Godwin’s Drops?

Who saw that coming? Godwin had a forgettable night in his first ever playoff game, finishing with as many drops – five – as he had catches. While Godwin did score a key touchdown in the first half to help the Bucs build a 15-7 lead in the second quarter that would turn into an 18-7 lead at halftime.

Godwin is coming off a game in which he caught five of seven targets for 133 yards and two scores in last week’s 44-27 win over Atlanta, which was his best performance of the season. Godwin is still playing with pins in his broken finger, but that hasn’t seemed to affect him in recent weeks. Perhaps it was the cold weather in Washington, D.C. that led to Godwin’s drops.

Nevertheless, I doubt Godwin has a repeat performance of Saturday night next week. He can’t afford to if the Bucs want to win in the NFC divisional playoffs and advance to the conference championship game.

QUESTION 2: Why Did Arians Go For Two After The Bucs’ Second TD?

I have no idea, and it was a dumb move. After Succop’s blocked extra point attempt in the first quarter following Tampa Bay’s first touchdown, Arians decided it was a good idea to chase those points in the second quarter for some foolish reason and go for a two-point conversion after Godwin’s touchdown. Instead of taking a nine-point lead and going up 16-7, which would have given the Bucs a two-possession advantage, Fournette slipped on the two-point conversion run and left Tampa Bay with an eight-point lead.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: USA Today

Washington would draw within eight points – which is a touchdown and a two-point conversion away from tying the game – in the third quarter, and then pulled to within two points, 18-16, a few minutes later. Had Arians had Succop kick the extra point after Godwin’s score, the Bucs would have had a three-point lead entering the fourth quarter and would have finished the game with a nine-point advantage.

It doesn’t make sense to chase points with a two-point conversion until you absolutely need to in the fourth quarter. Arians’ decision cost the Bucs what could have been a crucial point. Thankfully for Tampa Bay, eight points was enough to get the long-awaited postseason win.

2 BOLD PREDICTIONS

PREDICTION 1: Stinnie Starts At Right Guard Next Week

With Cappa fracturing his ankle midway through the Bucs’ 31-23 win, Larsen, a 33-year old veteran, who has played in Tampa Bay and for Arians out in Arizona, filled in at right guard and gave up two big sacks to Da’Ron Payne. The Bucs can’t win with the undersized Larsen, who is 6-foot-2, 307 pounds, going up against the likes of New Orleans’ dynamic duo of Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata or Los Angeles’ terrific tandem of Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers.

Seldom used reserve Aaron Stinnie has played in 30 snaps this season, including 25 in the second half at Detroit, and has a 74.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, including an 84.4 pass protection grade. Veteran Joe Haeg, who has a 55.4 grade from PFF this year, got the start at left guard for Ali Marpet in Week 9 against New Orleans and struggled mightily. Despite his lack of experience, Stinnie might be the better option over Larsen, who struggled with a 51.1 overall grade and a 33.9 pass blocking grade against Washington.

PREDICTION 2: Bucs Won’t Beat The Saints

Bucs QB Tom Brady
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

While I believe Tampa Bay could beat Los Angeles in the divisional round of the playoffs if Chicago could somehow upset New Orleans, I think the Saints prevail on Sunday, beating the Bears and setting up a third game between the Saints and the Bucs this year. While Tampa Bay would love to get a chance at redemption for losing to New Orleans, 38-3, at home on Sunday Night Football, the Saints have the bully mentality over the Bucs.

Sean Payton and Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen have won all four games against Arians and Bowles, primarily because the Bucs have been out-coached by the Saints. I have faith that the Brady-led offense can put up 30 points against a stout Saints defense, but I don’t have faith that the Bucs defense can stop the Saints offense, nor do I think that Tampa Bay’s coaching staff can out-coach New Orleans’ staff.

Prove me wrong, Buccaneers, and I’ll pick you to win the NFC championship game.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Dave
11 days ago

On a side note. I find it funny that Chase Young miraculously got hurt, and had to leave the game on the Bucs final drive. And Rivera said, had they won, he doubts Chase would have been able to play the next round lol. Yeah sure, he was a complete no show, so let’s make up an injury on the final drive of the game, to make it seem like his no show was injury related

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Last edited 11 days ago by Dave
IDGABuc
Reply to  Dave
7 days ago

Oh I am glad I wasn’t the only one thinking near word for word the exact same thing! LOL I wasn’t positive that was it and Chase having the balls to ask Brady for his jersey after the game somehow makes me want to think he was really injured. It can be construed as “playing too nice” or whatever, asking for the guys jersey, but Young made it seem like an alpha move. There was some GREAT audio taken by the Bucs (I think it was them..) of Brady before, during and after the game and I thought their interaction… Read more »

geno711
11 days ago

I think that the Saints will wipe out the Bears today and we will be required to beat the Saints in New Orleans. Unfortunately. I agree with you and think the chances against the Saints are not that good.
Fortunately, we have the better quarterback and that always can make a difference!

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WeAretheChamps2002
11 days ago

Vea’s loss on defense looms large – I said at the time the Bucs will miss him and they do. Not for his run-stopping presence but his ability to collapse the pocket. The Bucs need to fire Kevin Ross. These CBs don’t know how to press and be physical at the line of scrimmage without holding, and when they’re in zone, they look lost and let guys run wide open. Ross is not teaching them good technique. We need to stop making excuses by saying they’re “young.” Carlton Davis has three years in the league – that’s plenty of time… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  WeAretheChamps2002
9 days ago

I agree Champs2002! These guys r serviceable at DB. All good athletes with good intangibles, such as height, weight, speed. It’s the coaching! Yep! It’s not just Ross though. BA has blame as well. As Head Coach u pop ur head into a lot different meeting rooms. BA should get with TB and make a change. It’s needed. There are some former players who now coach that can better articulate just how it should be done back there. This D is blitzing, get after u front seven, that plays more effective in press. 10-12 yards off is soft and ineffective.… Read more »

calibucsfan16
11 days ago

Third times the charm! Hard to beat the same team 3 times. We are going to close Brees career like we closed The Vet!

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Buc stops here
Reply to  calibucsfan16
11 days ago

Much harder to beat a team who has beaten you twice. Since the first Super Bowl, there have been 21 matchups between teams that have met twice, and one team won both the games. In 14 games, the two winner team won the third time. In 7 games, the team that never won wins the third game. So it happens about 33% of the time. It is not zero, but it is not that hard to win if you won twice before. The deck is stacked against the Bucs in round two unfortunately.

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IDGABuc
Reply to  Buc stops here
7 days ago

Ok so I gotta look this up, because I specifically remember watching a playoff game between division rivals year back and them saying NO TEAM had EVER beaten the same team 3x in a season, so unless it’s happened every time since, I don’t see how that can be true.. Maybe it did! I am almost positive it happened that game, whoever it was. Ok, so maybe saying I “specifically” remember was overstating things a bit, as the only part I remember is them saying that and then it finally happening that game. Their explanation for it was that in… Read more »

IDGABuc
Reply to  IDGABuc
7 days ago

Damn. You’re right! Although the source I found was specifically contesting the repeated claim of how “hard it is to beat the same team 3x” so at least I know some other ppl saw or heard the same thing I did back then..

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Spitfire
Reply to  calibucsfan16
11 days ago

👍

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Buccorona
11 days ago

You nailed it, Scott. They can’t play like this and beat the Saints, despite some good individual efforts. But, it’s great to see the Bucs make the playoffs and win one. Then again, maybe enough players and coaches will wake up, show up and prove us wrong. I hope so.

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calibucsfan16
11 days ago

I have my playoff soul patch going for good luck! I’m facial hair challenged :)

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DerLutz
11 days ago

I’m with you Scott. Prediction 2 hurts but I can not argue against

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thewbacca
11 days ago

Had Devin White been available, Heinicke would not be a story today.

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Buc stops here
11 days ago

Unfortunately, Scott is right about everything Alex Cappa’s loss won’t help the offense at all. The defensive secondary is offensive in its play. While the offense has the “next man up” mentality for most positions, the offensive line is key. They don’t have anyone who can play at Alex Cappa’s level, so more sacks are coming whether the Bucs play the Saints or Rams defense – both of which are very good. In particular with the Saints, Arains/Leftwich/Bowles has had no success at all scheming against Sean Peyton/Pete Carmicheal/Dennis Allen, all of which have been in New Orleans for around… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  Buc stops here
10 days ago

Noticed how you said the Saints are the winningest team in the last 4 years in the “regular” season. Yet they continually no show in the playoffs, year after year. Everyone talking about this Saints team like they’re some kind of automatic to be in the SB is just insane to me. They define playoff choke artists for the last decade. This unbeatable team has 1 SB appearance in the Brees/Payton era. No saying we’ll win, but we absolutely have a chance

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Buc stops here
Reply to  Dave
10 days ago

I don’t think it is automatic, that is for sure. However, it is very difficult to beat a team that has beaten you twice. In the modern Super Bowl era, it has happened 21 times where a team won twice and had to win a third time in the playoffs. The two win team won 14 times, the no win team won 7 times. It can happen, there is no doubt, but it is stacked against them. Biggest problems are what I said about the coaching and scheming – Arians has a very poor record against the Saints both with… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  Buc stops here
10 days ago

You can also argue that the Saints(this year, and every other year recently), are not the same team in the playoffs. They seem to always be the poster boy for great regular season team, who’s play in the postseason doesn’t match their regular season play. Even yesterday. Nothing about their offense looked amazing to me. Sure their defense looked great, but it was against one of the 2 worst starting QB’s in the playoffs. So it’s hard to take anything away from that. The Saints have proven over the last 12 years that they are very beatable come playoff time.… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Dave
Buc76
11 days ago

Would need a flawless offensive performance to beat the Saints. Can’t depend on the defense. We would have to win something like 48 to 45 to beat the Saints. No drops, no fumbles, no picks.

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Spitfire
11 days ago

Garbage view on the Saints. We haven’t faced them at full strength and apparently still won’t with Cappa out but we are better off with Marpet back at least and the Saints will come in thinking they own us and look ahead to the Championship game while we will be fuming and out for blood with White and McClendon back and Barrett with his legs back under him. Brady isn’t gonna lay down to beat up Brees to finish the year and our Defense isn’t gonna let the Saints (who limped into the playoffs down the stretch) walk away with… Read more »

Dude
11 days ago

Am I missing something here? Did the Saints already beat the Bears? From reading this article it seems that PR has already given the Saints a victory. I’m not so sure the Saints will get past them. They might, but this is a different Bears team than the one Saints barely beat earlier in the year. Much better than when these two teams played the first time.

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Emilio
10 days ago

Refreshing to read something other than most “analysts” who just can’t state the obvious: our D stinks. We routinely make nobodies look good. Bowles has to go. He gets his lunch eaten by every opposing coach – and will again next week. We can’t even hope to beat up Brees, because the saints would score 35+ on us with Hill – or Winston… I’m not in the habit of betting against The GOAT in the playoffs, but his, Evans’ , Goodwin’, AB’s heroics can’t overcome the D’s massive holes.

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gcolerick
10 days ago

Too much draft capital spent on the secondary for it to be an area of weakness. Don’t know if it is bad coaching or bad talent evaluation but it is a damn shame as I think the Bucs would have made history and been the first team to play a superbowl in their own stadium. Something needs to change quickly for that to become a reality. One last thing….Chris Godwin, what was that? Please don’t be like the Ray’s David Price. We saw Price tear it up during the regular season and then suck it up when he’d get to… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by gcolerick
fredster
10 days ago

Hard to beat a team 3 times. We are playing better on offense now. Bucs d scares the hell out of me though. I think will be closer game and we will score 30 on anyone right now. I do not know if Bucs can hold Saints to under 30. Likely no. Bowles will have to be more aggressive and gamble. We will have to be on fire on offense to get to super bowl.

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Last edited 10 days ago by fredster
PissedOffBuc1988
10 days ago

The way that SR and some of you are treating this team after the first playoff victory in over a decade is honestly pathetic. Instead of getting behind this team and supporting them you’re choosing to pick out the negatives and harp on them. You act like we lost yesterday with the way many of you are belittling this team. Sure defense needs to tighten up, but we also were not playing with White who elavates our defense that much more. How about the injuries along the o line, defense, in our back field. We’ve been far from healthy. We’ve… Read more »

TBChucky
10 days ago

The defense will play better next week. Losing Cappa really hurts, but I expect Godwin and the offense to play better as well. We all knew we’d have to get through New Orleans to get to the big game, although I’m hoping for a Bears upset. Scott, you say the Saints have a “bully mentality” against the Bucs. The best thing you can do to a bully is punch them in the mouth! This is a much more cohesive offense now than the Saints have played this season. No one thought the ‘02 Bucs would get past Philly. We all… Read more »

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  TBChucky
10 days ago

I can see you feel exactly the same way as me. Thank you for being a real fan of the Buccaneers and not a cry baby like some of these dudes who can’t even be happy after the first playoff victory in 19 years.

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Buc76
10 days ago

It’s not a cry baby pal. It’s called a realist. Analyzing what you see. This defense got torched by a guy off the street. It’s supposed to be Super Bowl or bust not make the playoffs and beat a losing team. Wake up dude

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PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  Buc76
10 days ago

You’ve been a pessimist for over a decade so I expect nothing else from you.

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Madman
10 days ago

Bowles and the Bucs D need to go for broke vs Saints to have any chance. Blitz Brees and beat him up. Soft zone will NOT get it done.

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EastEndBoy
10 days ago

Scott, I think your comments are those of a reasonable, unbiased fan…I appreciate that. I agree that this team is all about the GOAT. As he goes,we go. Which brings me back to your FAB5 and praise for Jason Licht. How do those two articles mesh? If Licht had done as good a job as you wrote, why is this team so weak in so many aspects? It should be clear that without Brady (say Winston was still here) our season would have been over months ago. Arians got us Brady. Why the article praising Licht?

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Pewter Pirate
10 days ago

A lot of QBs with little tape on them tend to do well in the NFL for a few games. Get tape on them and they become human. There was very little on Heinicke. Last year Minshew with Jacksonville was the bees knees. This year he was fighting with Mike Glennon for a starting position. WFT averaged 21 points per game, and last night they scored 23 points. They were only 2 points over their average. The criticism of the D is overboard. With that being said, my biggest disappointment was a lot of “off coverage” play and lack of… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  Pewter Pirate
10 days ago

Exactly right Pewter Pirate. These one or two game wonders happen all the time. Most quickly fade into the shadows of the bench. The “Mustached Wonder”, who had Jags fans sporting fake ones thinking they found a gem, is a great example until he wasn’t able to surprise defenses anymore. This youngster had the game of his life that he’ll probably never repeat. I’m sure there are Washington “Whatevers” fans thinking they might not need to draft yet another QB………..but they’d be wise to at least keep that as an option.

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pokerpat12
10 days ago

Regardless of who our next opponent is: We MUST have a plan to protect our QB!!!! Whether we utilize 12 personnel, 13 personnel, screens, draws, HB options, flea flickers, I don’t care, have a plan. I’m sick of being outcoached by these guys (Rams/Saints). We’ll probably need to score 35 or more points and win the “Time of Possession” battle to compensate for our total lack of a pass Defense (God I miss Vita Vea). So coaches, earn your money this week and protect our most valuable asset, the G.O.A.T. Thanks & Go Bucs!

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Horse
10 days ago

I hope you are right Scott. My concern is our Defense not playing “in your face smash ball”. Saints will; how about us doing the same!
Go Bucs! Get aggressive!

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drdneast
10 days ago

Saints coaches definitely caught the Bucs coaches flat footed in the second game, especially defensively. They had out number and the Rams and the Chiefs followed suit and utilized the same scheme, counting on Brady to hold onto the ball with our no risk it no biscuit offense. Offensively, things have changed though. But if Bowles sits back and plays zone defense and only rushes four throughout the game, Brees will carve us up and it will be a basketball score. Lets play D like we did in the first half of the season and let the chips fall where… Read more »

Virtual_Camel
10 days ago

Brady can no doubt take us all the way. He’s played spectacular for quite a few weeks now. The problem is he can play lights out, but this defense is atrocious. Could drop 40 on somebody and still have to worry about losing.

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76bucsfan46
10 days ago

Look’s like we are heading to NO, I would love to be the team that knocks them out of the playoffs and that smug look off of Sean Payton’s face. Go Bucs

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scubog
Reply to  76bucsfan46
10 days ago

I can’t stand that smug ass, pompous Sean Payton. I don’t know who struts more, Jon Gruden, George Jefferson, a rooster or Sean Payton.

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SenileSenior
10 days ago

While I have a great deal of respect for your analysis and conclusions, I am a Buc FANatic. This means I think with my heart in spite of my head in this situation. For me there is not one team remaining in the hunt that I absolutely fear. I’m sure we can and will beat the next guy in front of us! Yes, my head tells me it is virtually impossible for us to run the table and bring the Lombardi back to Tampa this year. Virtual and actual remain to different realities, however. ___________ Go Bucs!!! Win now! Please… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  SenileSenior
10 days ago

I would take Sean Payton over any other Coach in the NFL. The guy definitely knows how to coach and motivate his team; most importantly he will adjust his scheme quickly to the scheme his opponent is playing.

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Dave
Reply to  Horse
10 days ago

He’s such a great coach, has a 1st ballot HOF QB. A perennial first team all pro WR. A first team all pro RB. A top 5 defense. And yet they have no SB appearances in the last decade. Since they won the SB 12 years ago, they’ve gone 5-6 in the playoffs. And have exactly ONE NFC championship game appearance since their lone SB. You’d think a great coach with an annual great team to match, would have a lot more playoff success than that. But hey, what do I know

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IDGABuc
7 days ago

This is depressing reading people’s comments on our chances against the Saints. You all seem to be forgetting one critical factor.. Now we have BRADY and there is NO WAY he is going to be beat by the same team 3x, especially as the team has been running an offense he is comfortable in for the last 5 weeks and ESPECIALLY as it is against Drew Brees, AKA one of the GOAT’s kids, if that makes sense. I mean, there’s only one GOAT, but when they’re as GOAT as Brady has been, and the difference between him and the other… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by IDGABuc