Observations of the "I Need To Ragequit Games More Often" Bucs/Packers 12/17/23 Blowout

prologue) I haven't posted Fanposts here the last few weeks because the login to the Vox Authentication refused to login. It FINALLY happened this time, but I worry it won't next time, and so I am phasing this out. This is just getting too hard to post. I am, yes, going to Discord. Sorry BucsNation, but it shouldn't be like this.

1) Okay so the Buccaneers headed into the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, a place where we've flamed out way too many times in regular season, in a relatively cold weather game, facing a Green Bay Packers team desperate to rebound after a bad loss to the Giants. Playoffs were on the line for both teams. Control of the NFC South on the line for the Bucs. Coping with injuries to our defense, and wondering if our offense was ever going to get on track with marquee guys like WR Chris Godwin as Baker Mayfield was playing below .500 ball in terms of completions and yardage.

The opening quarter started well enough with a decent drive that still sputtered to a mere field goal, and then a costly sack-fumble on Mayfield the next drive that gave the Pack an easy 7-3 lead on us.

At that point I was apoplectic. I just felt the offense was going to struggle again like they've done for most of the season, and our pass defense was going to give Jordan Love all the love he needed. So I ragequit. I had other things to do: Laundry, promoting my new book, and finishing off some tasks on Pokemon Go.

1a) So I check in once or twice during the game to see the Bucs actually fight back to get a slim lead at halftime, and then blowing up offensively on Green Bay to score the most points we've seen all season in a winning game (yeah, 37 points in a LOSS to Houston, Gods help us).

1b) I am not so much surprised by the win - despite the predictions favoring Green Bay, Bucs did have a chance to win - but by the offensive output that exceeded expectations. This is one of those games where the Bucs seemingly dominated at the level we rarely see out of them outside of their Super Bowl runs. Of course, the numbers may tell a different story...

2) Player of the Game: Baker Mayfield had a game for the ages. In spite of the early miscue, Mayfield recovered to lead the Bucs offense with almost mistake-free gameplay, throwing 22/28 for 381 yards, 4 TDs, an unheard of 13.6 per pass yard average, and a "perfect" rating of 158.3, something that hasn't happened to a visiting QB to Lambeau Field since 1990. According to an NFL stats tweet account, Mayfield is the third-EVER QB to get 375-plus passing yards (381), 4 TD passes, and a 158.3 passer rating - the highest attainable mark - in a road game.
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2a) One of Mayfield's negatives this year is just not getting the ball enough to Chris Godwin, part of one of the league's best WR tandems with Mike Evans, to where we could see the offensive explosiveness we hoped for. This game, he got the ball early and often to Godwin for 10 receptions and 155 yards (!), and guess what that offense exploded. It's a pity there wasn't a TD thrown in for good measure. Godwin is close to 1000 yards receiving for the season, and should well see that by the Saints game in two weeks (unless he really blows up next week vs. Jacksonville).

2b) Rachaad White may not be the power back consistently getting 100 rushing yards a game, but he's the screen-receiving talent he was drafted to be, getting the yardage that way including a 26-yard scamper for the TD that got the Bucs ahead in the Third Quarter. He ended up with 139 total yards, and did do well enough running to get 4.2 yards per carry, which is what you want in a solid ground attack.

2c) David Moore is one of those Practice Squad backup types, but he got called up for this game and made it special with a 52-yard scamper for a TD late in the Fourth to ice the game.

2d) I haven't seen Ko Kieft called as much as his rookie season last year, where he proved a surprisingly good target for Brady. He finally got on the radar today with a TD catch from Mayfield,

2e) Lavonte David got back in after some time on the injury list, and contributed with 9 tackles and sharing a sack late in the game to keep the Pack from getting back in it. He's officially over 100 tackles this season, for the tenth straight season in his career, and we're talking about a guy who deserves more Pro Bowl voting love as well as future Hall Of Fame consideration.

2f) Anthony Nelson as been a rotational guy at linebacker, and there's been a time or two today where he missed a big play. But when he made his plays oh ye GODS he racked up four tackles, a big sack, and two TFLs.

2g) K.J. Britt has gotten his chance to come off the bench - with Devin White sitting out with a troubling foot injury - for the second week in a row and proved himself six tackles and a key TFL.

2h) You wanna know how good the Bucs were today? They only punted ONCE, and Jake Camarda - YOUR ALL-PRO PUNTER, BUCS FANS - nailed it with a 65-yarder that pinned the Packers inside their own 5. FIELD POSITION, THIS IS HOW YOU WIN (well, that and the 4 TD throws).

3) The thing is, while the win is incredible especially given the circumstances - on the road, in a hostile field we rarely win at, against a team fighting us for wild card postseason odds - there are still glaring issues that remain troubling as Tampa Bay looks to win the last three games on the sched. Yes, I am a fan, I am allowed to nitpick.

3a) For a defense designed to bring pressure and generate sacks, the last 3-4 weeks hasn't been as dominant for the Bucs. The passing defense - from the clips I watched post-game - still seemed to play too soft in a cover system giving receivers a little too much space to catch and run.

3b) Offensively, today was a great game but how much of that was favoring the Bucs or dealing with a Packers defense that shows more passing gaps than our own, and with guys out of position or unable to tackle? The big TD catches from White and Moore had more to do with their yards-after-catch than anything Mayfield did, and both times the Pack defenders were outjuked and failing to tackle properly.

3c) Are the Bucs going to play like this the rest of the way through? It all depends on the Jaguars and Saints talent levels when we face them.

4) Statistics of the game: Third-down efficiency for the Bucs at 7-for-11, meaning we were able to sustain a few drives and get scoring chances. Packers were at 6-for-12, just a little worse at getting there.

4a) Red Zone offense: Bucs were 2-for-4, which isn't great, but did better than Green Bay who went 2-for-5 (and one of those was a turnover on downs).

4b) I'd love to see the numbers on Yards After the Catch for the Bucs receivers today, I have reason to believe that was a major key to the win. It's a stat I'm unable to find on ESPN or the other stat sites.

4c) PENALTIES WILL BE THE DEATH OF US. Well, both teams got flagged four times apiece, so... not so much.

4d) Turnovers and sacks matter, but the teams evened out with a fumble apiece, but the Packers got a touchdown off their recovery while the Bucs got theirs at game's end and just let the clock run out. The Packers' pass rush was better than ours snagging five on Mayfield including a key sack-fumble.

5) With this win, Tampa Bay keeps a half-game lead for control of the NFC South, and better still keeps a slim wild card chance alive - although that depends on what happens with the Vikings (I'm pretty sure our win over them is a big tiebreaker) and the Rams. The Saints are still in it, but the Falcons slid - more on that - to where getting the South now depends on them beating the Saints and the Bucs and Saints utterly collapsing the rest of the way, which is unlikely.

6) In other NFL news: Las Vegas Raiders beat on the Chargers so badly that not only did the Chargers Head Coach get fired but the city of L.A. is considering a restraining order to force this bad-karma team back to San Diego where they belong.

6a) The Stroud-less Houston Strouds still won today in an OT comeback that would have made CJ Stroud Proud. A proud Stroud no doubt.

6b) Hey, wait, why are the Miami Dolphins winning in December? Don't they know they need to lose to force their bandwagon fans to give up and stay home for the rest of the season?! Dammit, Tua, why you... Oh. Yeah. You played the Jets. That explains it. These aren't the droids we're looking for. Move along. Move along.

6c) DAMMIT NEW JERSEY GIANTS YOU HAD ONE JOB. Sigh. The Saints not only won they kind of looked healthy doing it. We need Derek Carr to suck when we play them next, okay? OKAY?!?!

6d) Right now, nothing can stop the San Francisco 49ers.

6e) Right now, only a bad offense can stop the Kansas City Chiefs. Even TIME MAGAZINE'S PERSON OF THE YEAR Taylor Swift is concerned.

6f) What happened to Atlanta? They lost to a half-decent team to Tampa last week sure, but losing to the 1-win Carolina Panthers?!?! I get that they were playing in terrible rainy weather, but ye Gods they failed to adjust to a run-oriented offense and refused to use rookie talent RB Bijan Robinson to eat the yards and the clock. Terrible coaching decisions, and they are just choking all over again.

6g) Did the Dallas Cowboys just give up 266 rushing yards in their loss today??? Talk about exposing a serious weak spot for the rest of the season to play out.

6h) In a just world, we should be seeing a 49ers - Dolphins Super Bowl this February. With our luck, it'll be a Detroit Lions - Buffalo Bills. In which case the Seventh Seal will break and the world will end.

7) In professional college football news, we're heading into the Bowl weeks before Christmas and while I won't be able to go in-person to the USF Bulls game at the Boca Raton Bowl I do hope they beat the snot out of old rival Syracuse (THANKS FOR BLOWING UP THE BIG EAST YOU BASTARDS).

8) In professional hockey news, it's looking like the Tampa Bay Lightning are great at scoring every other game, but they're giving up goals in bunches every other other game. I want better defense guys. I know we can score 4-5 goals a game - our talent's still that good - but goddammit stop the other teams from scoring 5-7 goals in their blowouts. Get it down to 2 goals against per game and we're going to dominate, Bolts.

9) In professional baseball news, not only is the Ohtani trade making the rich teams richer, the Dodgers are using deferrals and payout plans to free up whatever cap space they have under the luxury tax rules to keep other good players, which sucks for the rest of us.

9a) And the Rays just traded Tyler Glasnow - our top pitcher - to the Dodgers because 1) we can't afford his contract any further and 2) he's about due to age out, but it something L.A. can adjust for.

I will keep screaming this: Baseball's luxury tax system is broken, it doesn't work, the rich teams keep finding loopholes, and the struggling teams have to rely on sabremetrics and raw youth to save themselves, which doesn't often work.

9b) At least the city of St. Pete commissioners didn't make a big stink about the Rays being named TAMPA BAY for the regional sports fandom. Forcing the team to rename to the less respected St. Pete Rays would have driven Stu to quit on the area and relocate to Orlando, where they won't care if the ballpark is in Disney World.

10) In professional publishing news, I got nothing: But as a self-published amateur I got a book published on Amazon KDP. I won't shill too much here, but if anyone is interested you can DM on Discord for the info.

10a) Suffice to say, the biggest hurdles to self-publishing were 1) formatting the book into a paperback print style, struggling with margins and gutter spacing, unable to get the drop caps to work, and then fixing any ebook anchors for the table of contents page to link to the story chapters; and 2) remembering to get the Copyright payments to the Library of Congress - what the hell, it's 65 bucks now??? - before it was too late. Getting a book cover isn't that hard or too expensive if you go through Fiverr - the service has improved over the years - and get someone good with graphic design. Amazon buys the ISBN number for you when you ask, although it may be smarter to buy ISBNs in bulk so you can ISBN the ebook as well (it depends on if you're doing multiple formats like hardcover and audiobook).

10b) I will test the IngramSpark publication efforts with my non-fiction book next month.

Next up: Jaguars come to Tampa Bay for a Christmas Eve battle for the AFC South while the Bucs need to win to stay atop the NFC South. I won't be able to chat during the game... unless I add Discord app to my smartphone so I can chat AT THE GAME ITSELF BWHAHAHAHA. My brother's got season tickets and he's invited me to join the nephews for a holiday get-together.

Comment if you can. I worry you all can't login either.

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