There’s no question that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gotten hot at the right time, rattling off seven wins in a row following their bye week, including three wins on the road in the postseason.

There is a ton excitement in the city of Tampa now that the Bucs are the first team in history to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium, but things weren’t always easy this season. Right before the bye, the Bucs were 7-5 after two straight losses and three of their last four, all playoff teams, including a 27-24 loss to their Super Bowl opponent the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bucs QB Tom Brady

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

It was the second half of that game that Arians felt was when things started clicking for the Bucs, as he talked about while appearing on the Rich Eisen show.

“I really saw it starting in the second half against Kansas City.” Arians said. “Things really solidified, and then we got on that run.”

Arians can see a lot of similarities in the Bucs that he saw when he was a wide receivers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers when they won Super Bowl XL as a team that rallied late in the season. He realized it after his wife Christine brought it up.

“My wife made a comment – ‘This team really reminds me of the Steelers when we went to Detroit in the Super Bowl,'” Arians said. “They’re so close. There’s so many similarities, it’s really remarkable. [We] went 7-5 and then won them all, go on the road and win them all, that team was probably the closest group of guys I’ve been a part of until this group. Just the camaraderie on the sidelines, how this team pulls for each other, everybody’s just having so much fund doing it, this team is really, really close.”

The notorious mantra of Arians has been, “no risk it, no biscuit.” And that was no better exemplified in the NFC Championship by deciding to go for it on fourth down from just outside the 40-yard line at the end of the first half. One play after, it led to Scotty Miller’s highlight-reel touchdown to put the Bucs up 21-10. Arians told Eisen the entire thought process that went into going for it, followed by the play call.

“I had to calm myself down from being so pissed that we didn’t make the first down,” Arians said. “So I just hollered, ‘Punt team!’ But as I started thinking about it, I said, ‘We can not come out of this drive after getting this turnover and not get points.’ called a timeout, went through a couple of scenarios, I think at the worst, they might get three points out of this but we’d still have the lead and it’s worth the risk to go after the points.”

Arians then credited offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich with calling the right play since Green Bay expected them to get closer to just kick a field goal.

“I thought Byron had a great idea,” Arians said.  “Because that’s exactly what they’re thinking, that they would be sitting in the short stick area, field goal range, so let’s go for the touchdown. Tom, he was out there on the field, he did a great job of completing that ball to Leonard. Byron and I just looked at each other and he said ‘How about this?’ And I said ‘I love it, man, I love it.'”

You can watch Arians interview with Eisen here.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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4 months ago

I agree. That KC game was a tale of two halves. That second half they played well enough to win. They just started too late.. Hopefully Andy Reid doesn’t find a way to offset what the Bucs did in the second half, because it was effectively slowing down Mahomes and Co. Bowles has put out some good game plans as of late, so I’m going to assume he’ll have his boys prepared again. Hopefully Leftwich will call his “A” game as well.. GO BUCS!!

4 months ago

Losing to KC does seem to be a penchant for a lot of teams to get their act together but I think the turning point was more brick and mortar changes by the coaching staff than anything else. The Bucs came out of their bye doing things different in terms of play calling and scheme and the offense caught on fire while the defense collapsed down the stretch. The defense has been no different. Schematic changes that caused the defense to revive themselves while the offense has struggled because of a regression in offensive coaching. I’m glad I’m not Todd… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by PatrioticChief
Reply to  PatrioticChief
4 months ago

We held KC to 10 points the final 3 quarters. The second half we fought back and did some good things. That was the turning point for us going into the bye week and turning the corner after it. It’s also a message saying we have the team to beat them if we can put two of those halves together. Finally having a healthy line with Stinnie filling in well, Vea back, and everyone being the healthiest they’ve been all season, we’re gonna win this game if we don’t beat ourselves.

4 months ago

Maybe it’s just me but why give everyone insight into your thinking now before the Super Bowl? Seems odd but I guess it’s normal.

Reply to  Buc76
4 months ago

I don’t think he said anything a little tape wouldn’t tell them, and you should know by now they aren’t gonna tip their hand to the actual plan.

4 months ago

The anecdote about the decisions made at the end of the first half really illustrate how things actually work during the games. Byron Leftwich really is fucntioning as the offensive play caller on the sidelines. Bruce Araians is overseeing the whole thing as the head coach and making some of the big decisions. Tom Brady is on the field making the frontline decisions and executing the plays.

Go Bucs!!!!