Give Bucs credit for being bold

by Gary Shelton on September 12, 2023

in general

Bowles wasn't shy in win./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

Five Thoughts

1. No, I wouldn’t have gone for fourth-and-one at my own 32. No, I wouldn’t have tried a  57-yard field goal  But you know what? Byron Leftwich wouldn’t have tried either. So give Todd Bowles credit for this one. He won because he had the guts to win.

2. Baker Mayfield now has as many wins in Tampa as he did in Carolina and as many as he did in Los Angeles. It was  a good way to say hello, pointing out that winning was more important than looking pretty.

3. Don’t forget about the three-and-out the defense forced on Minnesota’s last drive. Kurt Cousins was awful in the second half Sunday.

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4. A few more gems like that, and people will give Devin White a break.

5. Antonio Winfield must make Ronde Barber think he’s watching old game film.


(From Todd BowLes ’ day-after press conference)

(On the bold decisions of the fourth quarter): “If you want to beat a team like that at their place, playing the first game of the year, you can’t play conservative. We wanted to go for the win, [and] we knew that going in. [Offensive Coordinator] Dave [Canales] made a great call, [and] Chris [Godwin] is very reliable, he made a great catch, and Baker [Mayfield] was playing a good ballgame [in the] second half.”

(On the play of Devin White and Lavonte David): “Finding the hider, the bootlegs, and they did a good job cleaning up plays that the D-line set up for them. They did a good job flying around, period. Both of them had double digit tackles, [and] both of them were all over the place. They really showed their leadership.”

(On if anything flipped a switch for Mayfield): I don’t think it was a switch flip. They did some things coming in first game of the year, [and with a] new coordinator and everything. You don’t see everything. They had some new wrinkles that really gave us some problems in the first half.  I thought they did a good job. [Brian] Flores is a good [defensive coordinator]. Second half, we made some adjustments, [and] we came out [and] stuck with the run a little bit. Baker made some plays, [and] we got in a groove finding some things that we like against what they did and we kind of got on a roll.”

(On evaluating his offensive line): “I thought they played tough. I thought they did a heck of a job considering all of the looks they got. They were sending a lot of pressure all the time. They were almost blitzing every other play, if not every play. At least it looked that way. I thought the guys stood in there. Obviously, technique can get a little better from the first game, but I thought they stood in there tough.”

(On free agent rookie Christian Izien): “I noticed him two years ago when I went up to see my son. He just kept flashing, and I didn’t know to the extreme of what he was until I started watching film a little bit more during his senior year, and you just kept seeing the guy. I said, ‘God, this guy does a lot of things.’ He’s very heady, number one, he’s very quick, very fast, he’s very tough, and he knows the game. To be that young and still in college and you know the game, [so] I didn’t know we would have a shot at him. Free Agency came, me and [General Manager] Jason [Licht] were talking about him, and we tried to go out and get him.”

Game Balls

Offense: It was Mayfield day, from his fourth-quarter sneak to his clinching threw to Chris Godwin.

Defense: Antonio Winfield had eight tackles, a sack and recovered a fumble against his dad’s old team.

Special teams:  If Chase McLaughlin had been any farther from the goal, he would have been in the parking lot.


Quarterback: Yeah, he was miserable at the start. But that isn’t where you judge a quarterback. Grade: B+

Running back: Still just 39 yards led the team in rushing. Grade: D.

Offensive line: They could have run better, but they gave up just one sack. Grade C.

Defensive line: They allowed just 2.4 yards per attempt to Minnesota. Grade: A-.

Linebackers: White and Lavonte David were major. Grade: A.

Secondary: Couldn’t find Justin Jefferson for a half, but they showed up in the second half. Grade: C+.

Power Rankings

  1. Philadelphia

2.  Dallas

3. San Francisco

4. Miami.

6 Baltimore.

Bottom Five

32. N.Y. Giants

31. Carolina

30. Houston

29. Denver

28. Chicago.

Five More Thoughts

  1. Really? Don’t you wonder what Byron Leftwich thought of that last drive?

2. Was Antonio Brown arrested on Monday?

3. On the other hand, Ray Perkins won his first game, too.

4. This team cannot let Mike Evans get away. How is it going to win without a heart?

5. Dave Canales gets a winning grade for his debut. Still, a few more yards running would be nice.

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