Observations of the "Who Put The Sauerkraut In the Lederhosen" Bucs/Seahawks 11/13/22 Gaze Into the Abyss


1) At a midpoint in the season, playing overseas which has always been stressful - and something the Buccaneers never won - and coping with a comeback win against the Rams last week to revive their postseason hopes heading into a Bye week, Tampa Bay had this as a must-win game against a dominant and effective Seattle Seahawks team that was looking to secure a division lead against a decent NFC West.

Playing the first NFL game in Germany, with a lot of prestige on the line and the chance to secure the lead on a shaky NFC South, the Bucs had to prove their offense was more potent than the mere 18 points a game they were averaging, and that their defense could stop the running threat that rookie phenom Kenneth Walker III was becoming for the 'Hawks.

1a) The good news: Bucs WON! We are officially UNDEFEATED IN GERMANY. We may demand playing our next game in Stuttgart next. The Bucs did so playing with a mostly dominant defense that shut down Walker and stymied the Hawks passing game for much of the day. The Bucs proved they can run the ball, especially with our own rookie Rachaad White stepping up with 105 rushing yards for his best pro day yet.

1b) And yet... Still not so good news in that the Bucs failed to score any points in another First Quarter. Not so good news in that our offensive playbook still over-relies on running plays on first downs instead of any balanced attack to keep opposing defenses off-guard. And when OC Leftwich DID make trick play calls, they were such ludicrously bad decisions - a wildcat throw from Fournette? TO BRADY, who fcked it up last time we saw this call in the SUPER BOWL game the Pats lost to the Eagles??? - that the bad play almost gave the entire momentum to Seattle. It took a serious heads-up play by the Bucs D to undo that damage.

1c) I would argue the stadium turf in Munich wasn't all that good: Players on both teams were sliding and tripping all game. But you gotta play with the environment you're in, and the Bucs should have played a little smarter.

1d) The next best news is how the Bucs have a win-streak momentum of their own now, with a Bye week to rest and regroup - hopefully by jettisoning Leftwich's 2022 playbook and bringing back the 2021 playbook - with seven more games to finish and reach at least a respectable 11-6 for a division win. Winning all seven remaining games? It would be pretty to think, but it would involve putting together the longest win streak (9 games total) in team history (which, I admit, was the epic run to the 2020 Super Bowl).

2) Player of the Game: Coming off one of the worst months a leading defensive player has had in recent memory, coping with the tragic news of his father dying just as he was boarding the plane to get to Germany, and responding to calls that he was over-rated, LB Devin White responded with a defensive blowout that gave Geno Smith and the Hawks offense nightmares all day long. White ended up with 2 sacks, leading the team in tackles (9), one TFL, and enough QB pressure to make Geno think he was wearing Devin's jersey as a blanket by the end of the game.

2a) Safety Antoine Winfield Jr returned from his injury to solidify that defensive backfield and aided in shutting down Smith's passing game for much of the day.

2b) I mentioned earlier that Rachaad White had his breakout game: 105 yards on 22 carries for a 4.4 average, if there was any justice in the world we should have gotten him a TD to go with it. What's interesting is how he had no targets in the receiving game at all, he was primarily the runner. Considering he was brought in as a dual threat, this was an interesting call.

2c) Leonard Fournette had been struggling after Week One, but today he got in 57 yards on the ground for a decent 4.1 average until he got injured. I will deduct him points for his TERRIBLE PASS that almost ruined the whole game, but I will share the blame on that with the OC who called the WORST PLAY IN BUCCANEER HISTORY (well, maybe. It's definitely Top Five worst).

2d) Chris Godwin had his best game of the year yet, 71 yards on six catches and a clutch TD in the Red Zone that put us up 21-3. He didn't have the drops hiccups he had previous weeks, hinting that he's at full health and in-sync with Brady again.

2e) Mike Evans didn't have a big game, but he was clutch when we needed first downs, 54 yards total today.

2f) Julio Jones with an impressive across-the-field catch in an open zone, and then outrunning Seattle defenders for the end zone on a 31-yard TD. It got us on the board and proved we've got a healthy 1-2-3 WR tandem again. Opposing defenses, you cannot double-team any of our guys now.

2g) OLB Joe Tyron-Shoyinka had been facing criticisms being a second-year bust, lacking the sack and QB pressure numbers he was expected to bring. This game, he brought it, snagging an early sack and getting after Geno Smith for half the game.

2h) When your offense generates over 100 yards rushing total, and gives up ZERO sacks all game, huge props to the entire Bucs offensive line for their performance today. Notable was how the field cameras kept showing wide open running lanes this week for Fournette and White to run through, at last a run-up-the-middle gameplan could actually work. Tristan Wirfs in particular was showing up for major run blocks all game long. He better get another Pro Bowl invite. He is arguably the best OT (Right AND Left) in the game today.

2i) We're on the second week of praising a rookie punter, as Jake Camarda continued his hot streak of epic boomer punts. Only two this time, but with a 61 yard average that put Seattle deep twice. ROOKIE OF THE YEAR! ROOKIE OF THE Y... yeah, not gonna happen, but you never know. He's definitely getting on the AP All-Rookie squad.

3) If we can just point out some of the hiccups the Bucs had today. The least-bad problem was Scotty Miller making a crazy catch in the Red Zone, but because he jumped too high for it, he lost his balance and almost dropped the ball, juggling it to secure it before Hawks defenders downed him. Observers were screaming if he hadn't jumped, just caught it like normal, he was wide open into the end zone. Good news is we scored later to go up 14-0, so it didn't hurt us (just his fantasy owners).

3a) Another hiccup was the missed field goal by Ryan Succop in the First Quarter. Bucs could have gone up 3-0 on the first drive, and while the kick was a bit too far at 55 yards, Succop was just waaaaaaay off-target that kick, it wasn't a shank it was a straight kick but literally wide right. Was Succop trying to kick it to that cute Czech lady in the 110 Section?!

3b) And of course, the WORST PLAY IN BUCCANEERS HISTORY (it may top that flubbed field goal kick of the woeful Yuccaneers era of the 1970s, you know the one from the Blooper reels), where there was a trick play direct snap to the running back Fournette, who then tried (poorly) to throw across the field (which is hard to do for real QBs) to a possibly uncovered Tom Brady (who wasn't that great at being a receiver the LAST TIME in Super Bowl LII) except Brady WAS covered by a Seahawks defender Tariq Woolen just as Brady slipped on the bad field, giving Woolen an easy INT. It could have been a Pick Six, it was so wide open, but Brady's slippage also tangled him up with Woolen's legs, which caused a tripping penalty. Saved the TD yes, but gave Seattle the extra yards for excellent field position.

It was our very own Butt Fumble, where we fell on our asses instead of running into one. Thank the Football Gods Devin White forced a fumble when the Hawks were poised to score on that turnover.

THIS WAS A TERRIBLE PLAY CALL AT A TERRIBLE TIME. The Bucs were UP 14-3 at the time, we were driving well and getting into the Red Zone. You could even see how bad the play could have been when they ran a wildcat direct snap to Fournette as a way to set THIS play up later. Brady was wide open then, yes, but he wasn't in any mood to play receiver, you could see it. Worse, all THAT setup did was let Seattle know we were going to try a real pass to Brady later, so it didn't fool them at all.

We didn't need trickery, just needed to keep the Hawks D gassed and on their heels. What were we trying to do, impress the Germans?! Germans aren't impressed with *fun*!!! Germans are impressed with efficiency!!! Damn you, Leftwich!!!

4) Statistics of the game: Third Down Conversions. During our losing streak, and even in the games we'd won, the Bucs were pretty bad converting on third downs. This game, Bucs excelled with 10-of-15 conversions, outmatching a Seahawks squad that went 1-for-9 and almost suffered all game for it. I say "almost" because Seattle went 2-of-2 on FOURTH Down conversions, which doesn't sit all at well.

4a) Rushing yards: Bucs had their best day yet with a combined 161 yards. Better still, they held the high-powered Seattle attack to a mere 39 yards (!) for the best defensive performance since Week One.

4b) First Downs: Bucs finished with 26 to Seahawks 19. Time of Possession: Bucs with 37 minutes to Seahawks 23 minutes. Bucs had control of the ball for far longer, with better results.

4c) Red Zone performance. Tampa Bay made 3 visits getting two TDs out of them, while Seattle went 1-for-2 including a fumble that the Bucs recovered to stuff a scoring drive (off the WORST BUCS PLAY EVER) that could have gotten the Hawks back into the game. It would be nice if the Bucs could manage MORE visits to the Red Zone: three trips per game isn't going to cut it.

4d) PENALTIES WILL BE THE... um, Bucs got penalized four times to Seahawks' six times. Still, it wasn't pretty.

4e) Bucs finally had a turnover in a game, after a (checks notes) four-game drought, but they also forced turnovers after that same four-game drought. Brady threw his first INT in 399 throws, while Fournette threw yet another INT in his sad history of being an option QB (between us and Jacksonville). New rule: NEVER LET FOURNETTE THROW THE BALL.

5) Tampa Bay's win was historic in that it was the first NFL win played in Germany. Tom Brady is the first QB to win games in four different nations. Bucs are now a game-and-half up for the NFC South on the Falcons who fell to 4-6, and well ahead of Saints and Panthers. There are reasons to feel good about this win, but as I said last week, every game is a must-win now for the Bucs if they have ANY postseason aspirations at all, and any desire to be better than the 10-7 they're on track to being at season's end.

The Bucs have seriously tough games ahead. Cleveland is not a pushover, and we have to play there. Bucs have to travel to the West Coast to face a good 49ers team, and the Bucs historically do not travel well to that side of the world. They do get Cincinnati at home, but that is a team offensively that can give our secondary a lot of headaches, and it's a question of how healthy their defense is when they play us. Even the games against wobbly teams like Arizona, Atlanta, and New Orleans can't be overlooked. And the Panthers beat us already, we do not want to lose to them again.

6) In other NFL news: Who the hell told the Minnesota Vikings they should play this good? They finally faced a very good team in Buffalo Bills, and it turned into a sloppy but impressive Game Of the Year with a 33-30 overtime shocker with the Vikes forcing Josh Allen into costly turnovers and putting a kibosh on his MVP hopes.

6a) Who the hell told the Detroit Lions to start winning? They played a tough matchup against a better-than-expected Chicago Bears team and eked out a win due to questionable penalties and the Bears self-immolation. This is hurting the Lions' chances at tanking, dammit.

6b) The Indianapolis Colts had one of the weirdest weeks ever. The owner firing their head coach after a weak start to the season, apparently fighting over who the starting QB should be. The owner - Jim Irsay, not exactly the best owner out there - then picked a literal noob to coach the team - former all-star Colts player Jeff Saturday, who had ZERO coaching experience at the pro (or college) level - who then pulls off an upset over a struggling but decent Raiders team - who may now be thinking about firing THEIR head coach because he sucks and they're tanking at 2-7 - to instill the possibility that Saturday may know what he's doing. We will see how it looks by the end of the season.

6c) DAMMIT DALLAS COWBOYS YOU HAD ONE JOB: Keep the Green Bay Packers on their losing streak. With this win, Aaron Rodgers is going to start crowing he's back to MVP level (hahahahahahahaha no he isn't).

Wait. I can't believe I am siding with Dallas on this. OH GOD (jumps into the SHOWER STALL OF SHAME).

6d) There is a large number of 2-win and 3-win teams right now, but only the Houston Texans look like they're locking up the first overall pick in 2023 draft. Cmon, Denver, give us some hope...

7) In professional college football news: DAMMIT OLE MISS YOU HAD ONE JOB, BEAT BAMA.
/mutters "GODDAMMIT" under my breath

7a) DAMMIT OREGON YOU HAD ONE JOB. Now the BCS playoff system is gonna end up with two SEC and two BIG-10 teams and we're all going to suffer for it.

7b) DAMMIT. Notre Dame is moving back up in the polls.

7c) Okay. Texas Christian is still unbeaten but it feels like blasphemy that Southern Methodist is not favored by the Football Gods as well. Shame, tsk, shame.

7d) Right now, the University of South Florida should announce they have the stadium funds in place and they can begin construction for a 2024 season opener. Try getting things in place to entice a Power Five level head coach to rescue our listless program.

8) In professional baseball news, it's already free agency and the Tampa Bay Rays are either letting our high-priced talent go (goodbye Kevin Kiermaier!) or trading away talent (goodbye Ji-Man Choi) all because we don't get enough shared revenue to maintain a pro-level payroll.

If any team can figure out how to win on the lowest salary in the league, it's been the Rays. But we're clearly losing talent that knew how to hit the ball - a pricey commodity - and we're facing the reality that our run of postseason success is going to end all because we can't keep up with the deep pocket teams like the Yanks, BoSox, Astros, and Dodgers.

9) In professional hockey news: WILL YOU JUST WIN MORE GAMES DAMMIT, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING?! I know it's a long season and you gotta pace yourselves, but this is our sloppiest regular season in years. /cries

10) Next up: the Tampa Bay Bucs are on a much-needed Bye week, during which I will be selling books with my short stories at the Lake County Comic Con all day Sunday from 10AM - 5PM. What are YOUR plans for the Bye week, suckas???


Content provided by a member of Bucs Nation and does not necessarily reflect the view or opinions of Bucs Nation.