The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense has been clinging on for dear life all season. They have looked anemic and flat from the first whistle to the last in almost all situations. But last week’s game’s first half against the Bengals showed what could be. Now if the team can play like that again over the next three games and carry that momentum into the playoffs they could very well compete.
Since Bruce Arians retired the offense has lost most of its “No Risk It, No Biscuit” mentality. A shell of itself the offense has been relegated to playing for third and manageable situations instead of going for the jugular. For example in 2020, the Buccaneers offense and Tom Brady attempted 91 deep passes. Brady would connect on 36 of those for a completion percentage of 39.6% and totaled 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns. During the 2021 season Brady attempted 82 deep passes for 35 completions (42.7% completion) for 1,048 yards and seven touchdowns. A small regression in attempts. Now in 2022 Brady and the Buccaneers offense are on pace for only 72 attempts. With the current completion percentage (33.3%) that puts them at 24 completions. Making matters worse only one has gone for a touchdown.
The game plan changed however in the first half of the Bengals game and may of continued if not for turnovers in the second half. Brady attempted three deep balls on 23 passes. That equates to 13% of the pass attempts in the first half were deep shots. Comparing that to the rest of the 2022 season the offense has only attempted to go deep 9.6% of the time. That 13% is more in line with 2020’s 14.9% deep shots on passing and 2021’s 11.4%.
Though he only connected on one of the three it shows opposing defense you must now account for that in the Buccaneers attack. This slows the defense from pinning their ears back and playing in a compressed field. Ultimately, opening it up for the run game and short/intermediate routes as well.
Risk Adverse No More ?
It’s only one game so the verdict I still out but did the offense and staff finally figure out they can’t be scared of going for it? They may have. Case in point, with only 2:03 left in the first quarter and the Buccaneers sitting at fourth and one Byron Leftwich called for an overlapping passing routes using the depth of the field to spread the defense and it aid off.
Mike Evans hailed in a seven yard catch for a first down. Pulling the trigger one more time in the same drive the offense went for it on the Cincinnati one yard line. I for one surely thought this staff would continue their conservative ways and settle for a field goal. They didn’t, and surprised me.
Furthermore the play calling to open the second half involved a fake punt in order to extend a drive. Unfortunately the result was not what was wanted they at least showed guts to try.
If the Buccaneers can play in a similar fashion against the next three opponents while reducing turnovers they should win out. The defense is doing their job and keeping this team in contention. Now the offense needs to click like it did the first half last week. I only hope the staff saw what the result was that first half (three scoring drives, almost four) and continue to be aggressive. If they do it also creates a time of possession imbalance and keeps the defense fresh.