Buccaneers: Is a heavy run game the way to beat the Chiefs?

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers and establishing the run

Establishing the run is outdated, ineffective, and one of the most tired tropes in the modern NFL. The NFL is a pass-first league with almost no exceptions, and establishing the pass has actually been proven to be more beneficial to the offense than the run.

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Teams that come in early and zip the ball through the air face short-handed defenses in the box, and running out of shotgun against a six or seven-man box leads to far more success than the traditional method.

Unfortunately, jamming the ball down the Chiefs’ throat may be the only way for Tom Brady to win his seventh Super Bowl ring. Sure, the Bucs have been fantastic through the air and have the best wide receiver corps in the league with the best quarterback of all time, but Patrick Mahomes requires a different strategy altogether.

Mahomes has a much higher ceiling at this point in his career and is the more efficient quarterback. Short, nondescript routes in the Chiefs’ offense can gouge the best defense in the NFL, so the best way to beat the Chiefs is to keep the ball out of Mahomes’ hands.

The Buccaneers need as few drives as possible and have to keep the game low-scoring. If you give Mahomes eight chances in the postseason, he is the type of player that can get points on every one. The Bucs have seen this first hand, and even a dramatic defensive shift will struggle to contain Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce.

Tampa won’t beat Mahomes in a shootout; the Bills already proved this, and their offense was far more potent during the regular season. Tampa Bay has to slow the game down and rely on their highly-touted running back depth. The Bucs have barely used Jones so far this offseason, and there is no point saving him for the week after next.

While the Buccaneers need to establish the run, they still need to make efficient plays. Throw on first down, use play-action, and rely on pre-snap motion to generate unique touches. Using these downs effectively will allow for the Bucs to run the ball more frequently in advantageous situations.

Our tune has undoubtedly shifted from the beginning of the season, but the Buccaneers need to learn from the mistakes of the Chiefs’ vanquished foes and rely on the underrated part of their offense to find success in one of the most important games in franchise history.

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