LASS UNS VERDAMMT NOCH MAL GEHEN!!!
(That’s “LET’S FUCKING GO!” in German)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers invaded Germany where they were able to hold off a late game rally by the Seattle Seahawks to get a 21-16 victory and grab their second win in a row. They now have the outright lead in the NFC South over the Atlanta Falcons heading into the bye week.
This game was absolutely dominated by the Buccaneers, even though the scoreboard didn’t show it because of two garbage time touchdowns by Seattle late in the fourth quarter. The crowd of about 69,000 German Fans in attendance and the 5.8 million television viewers (the most ever for an international NFL game) were treated to an exciting football game led by the greatest QB of all-time. So let’s take a look at my GOOD, BAD and UGLY from the Bucs Week 10 matchup in Munich.
It’s the Bucs second win in a row, which gets them to back to .500 at 5-5 for the season. Tom Brady is now 4-0 in international games. The score wasn’t indicative of just how much Tampa Bay dominated this game. The Bucs ran 74 offensive plays. The Seahawks ran just 50 offensive plays. The Bucs had 26 first downs. The Seahawks had 19 first downs. The Bucs were 10 of 15 on third down. The Seahawks were just 1 of 9 on third down. The Bucs had 419 total yards. The Seahawks had just 283 total yards. The Bucs had 161 rushing yards. The Seahawks had just 39 rushing yards. The Bucs had the ball for 36:55 of this game. The Seahawks had the ball for just 23:05 of this game. The Bucs even turned the ball over twice in this game missing out on two more scoring opportunities and at least another 10 points. Plus there was the missed 52-yard field goal by Ryan Succop. The score could’ve and should’ve been much more lopsided than it turned out to be, but it was a win against a quality football team and I’ll take it.
It still wasn’t what we were expecting this year, but it was better than it had been for most of this season. Especially in the run game. They actually ran the ball 44 times for 161 yards, averaging 3.7 yards per attempt. However if you take Tom Brady’s kneeldowns out of these numbers, their average bumps up to 4.3 yards per attempt. That’s over a yard more per attempt over their season average.
They had plenty of success through the air as well. Tom Brady finished 22 of 29 for 258 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He completed passes to eight different receivers. They had three receivers with 50+ receiving yards (Godwin- 71, Evans- 54, Jones- 53) and six receivers who averaged more than 10-yards per catch.
They were much better on third down and in the redzone than they have been all season. They were 10 for 15 on third down and they were 7 for 7 on third and short (3 yards or less) in this game. That’s a drastic improvement for what has been one of the worst third down teams in the NFL this season. They were also 2 for 3 in the redzone, with their only “unsuccessful” trip being the final drive where they took a victory formation at the Seahawks 20-yard line.
The Bucs had three touchdown drives of 85-yards or more in this game. That’s only the second time a Brady led team has done that in his 23 year career. Those drives were 13 plays/88 yards/5 first downs/6:32 off the clock, 13 plays/86 yards/7 first downs/7:34 off the clock and 11 plays/87 yards/5 first downs/6:41 off the clock. By far the Bucs best offensive drives of the season.
The Bucs defense played one of their best games of the season, especially in the first half. At halftime, the Bucs D had held the Seahawks to only 57 total yards, including just 15 rushing yards, and they were 0 for 5 on third down. Seattle was 1 for 5 on third and short and the Bucs stopped them twice on 3rd & 1 attempts. On Seattle’s first 6 possessions, they had drives of 4 plays/-7 yards, 5 plays/14 yards, 3 plays/8 yards, 5 plays/7 yards, 3 plays/7 yards and 8 plays/38 yards.
This season, teams that score 21 points or less have won just 28% of the time. The Bucs are now 5-3, or 63%, when they do that this year. They have five wins in 2022 when scoring 21 points or less after totaling just three wins over the last five seasons when doing it. That’s a testament to the defense, who is not in the top five in a number of statistical categories now, including 5th in total defense, 3rd in scoring defense, 5th in passing defense, 14th in rushing defense and 4th in sack percentage.
They are also getting healthier on that side of the ball. Akiem Hicks has been back the last two weeks after missing 6 games. Antoine Winfield Jr. was back for this game after missing 2 games in concussion protocol. And Logan Ryan is now eligible to come off of IR as soon as hes healthy enough. This team is getting healthy at just the right time.
Rookie running back Rachaad White got his first career start in this game. He also had his first career 100-yard game. He finished with 22 carries for 105 yards averaging 4.8 yards per carry. More importantly, he was 3 for 3 on 3rd & 1 plays in this game and is now 7 for 7 on 3rd/4th & 1 plays this season. Just as a comparison, Leonard Fournette is 5 for 13 on such attempts. At this point, White should be the Bucs RB1. At least until the real Leonard Fournette decides to show up. Maybe Bruce Arians needs to have another heart to heart with him to light a fire under his ass again.
The German Fans
Over 3 million ticket requests. More than 69,000 in attendance. The “wave” rippling through the stands. Singing “Sweet Caroline” and “Country Road” loud and clear. Sticking around and singing “Don’t Stop Believing” even after the team’s cleared the field after the game. Munich did not disappoint. The German fans showed up and showed out and it was awesome to see.
The Let Up
I may be nitpicking here, but it wasn’t easy finding anything “BAD” in this game. So I went with the second half “let down” by the defense. In Seattle’s last three possessions, they had drives of 10 plays/71 yards, 5 plays/77 yards and 8 plays/45 yards resulting in 13 points. On one drive, they ended up in scoring position at the Bucs 9-yard line, but Devin White forced a fumble that was recovered by Anthony Nelson causing a turnover. Like I said, not that big of a deal, but after playing so tight for the first two and a half quarters it was a bit of a let down.
The Streak’s End
Tom Brady was just 3 passes shy of Aaron Rodgers‘ record of consecutive passes WITHOUT an interception. Then it happened. With about six and a half minutes left in the game, Brady tried to throw a pass down the middle to Mike Evans at the 45-yard line. It was picked off by Seattle linebacker Cody Barton who had dropped back into coverage. Unfortunately, Seattle went on to score the first of two fourth quarter touchdowns following the turnover.
The Rare Miss
Again, I’m nitpicking here. It was a 52-yard field goal, so it’s not like it was a “gimme“. But it was a miss nonetheless. It’s only Ryan Succop’s second actual miss of the season with one other being blocked. He’s still 22 of 25 on field goals and 13 of 13 on extra points.
The Fournette Pass/Pick
I don’t know what Byron Leftwich was thinking on this one. He had just run the same Fournette in the wildcat formation about five plays before this and nobody went out to cover Tom Brady who was lined up outside at wide receiver. Apparently, he thought it would be a good idea to try it again. This time they did cover Brady, but Fournette threw it anyway and it was easily picked off by Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen. To throw salt in the wound, Brady slipped on the turf, then was called for “tripping” on the play.
BIG BUCS OF THE DAY
OFFENSE : Bucs Offensive Line
Not only did the big fellas not give up a sack in 30 pass dropbacks, they led the way for the Bucs best rushing performance of the season. They ran the ball 44 times for 161 yards in this game and averaged 4.3 yards per attempt. Todd Bowles continues to be diplomatic about the situation at left guard, but I don’t have to be. If Nick Leverett isn’t the starting guard from here on out, then I’d be convinced that this coaching staff is deliberately trying to tank the season. He has performed so much better than Luke Goedeke ever did in the first 7 games that it would be inexcusable not to start him at this point.
DEFENSE : LB Devin White
He got news that his father had passed just prior to boarding the plane on Thursday. I had him as my defensive player to watch for this game for good reason. He responded just the way I thought he would with arguably his best game of the season finishing with a team-high 9 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. Those 2 sacks give him 5 for the season and 20 for his career. The only other linebacker with 20 sacks in his first 4 seasons was Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher in 2000.
BAD BUCS OF THE DAY
OFFENSE : RB Leonard Fournette
Again, I’m reaching a little bit here because it was difficult to pick ANY bad players in this game. He finished this game with 14 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Not a terrible day, but he did leave the game with a hip pointer injury. He was a non-factor in the passing game with just 1 catch for 1 yard and he also threw that bone-headed interception. That’s the biggest reason he makes it on my list here.
DEFENSE : DT Akiem Hicks
He didn’t have a terrible game either, but I had to pick someone. He finished with 4 tackles and a QB hit, but he also got flagged twice in this game. One was a pretty ticky-tack “roughing the passer” where he grazed Geno Smith’s helmet with his hand. And the other was an illegal hands to the face call. Both were silly penalties that cost his team.
On the flip side, the Bucs are now 4-0 with him in the lineup and 1-5 without him. They’re also giving up 148.3 rushing yards and 23 points per game WITHOUT him and just 69.5 rushing yards and 10.5 points per game WITH him. Of course there are other factors, but I thought that was interesting.
THE WRAP UP
Two in a row! That’s all that matters. The Bucs won their second straight and fifth of the season to get to 5-5 and take sole possession of the division. It was a quality win against a quality opponent. It was as solid a team win as they’ve had since Week 1 against the Cowboys in Dallas. They played good enough to win in Week 9 against the Rams. They played a little better in Week 10 against the Seahawks. Now they just need to continue building on it and stacking the wins.
THE LOOK AHEAD
Ah, the bye week is here. I’m sure the players are ready for some time off. It’s been a long, stressful season so far. Now they get to sit out Week 11 and get some much needed rest. They get to heal up. They get to refresh and reset. They go into the bye after winning two straight. They come out of the bye with a game at the 3-6 Browns, then come home to host the 3-7 Saints. Wins in those two games put them at 7-5 going into a tough 3-game stretch where they travel to the 5-4 Niners, then come home to play the 5-4 Bengals, then travel back across the country to play the 4-6 Cardinals. If they can win two of those three, then they’re now 9-6 with two games left. A home game against the 3-7 Panthers and a trip up I-75 to play the 4-6 Falcons. Both of those games are very winnable. If the Bucs can continue to get better and healthier, then I can see them finishing 10-7 or maybe even 11-6 this season and winning the NFC South.
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!