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Thomas Bassinger, Times Staff Writer

Thomas Bassinger

It all began late 1991 with a Nintendo controller and a game cartridge that read, in gold block letters, "Tecmo Super Bowl" (Ready! Down! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut!). That's when a young Thomas Bassinger discovered the fearsome Ronnie Lott, the dominant QB Eagles and the superhuman Bo Jackson and spent countless hours taking their 8-bit counterparts up and down the football field (Remember Wayne Haddix, Bucs fans?). He's been hooked on football and statistics ever since. Today, he contributes to coverage of the Buccaneers and the NFL for the Tampa Bay Times. He is the author of the Turning Point postgame analysis and studies All-22 game film for the weekly scouting report of the Bucs' upcoming opponent. Follow him on Twitter during the games @tometrics.

E-mail: tbassinger@tampabay.com

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  1. Buccaneers-Cardinals Turning Point, Week 6: Anyone see the kicker?

    Bucs

    The Cardinals and Bucs each made a notable acquisition last week. One of them mattered Sunday.

    Arizona's new running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Tampa Bay's new kicker .....

    Wait, where was the new kicker? Did anyone actually see him?...

    Has anyone seen this man? [Associated Press]
  2. Buccaneers-Cardinals: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 38-33 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 38-33 loss at Arizona on Sunday:

    6

    Bucs points through three quarters.

    27

    Bucs points in the fourth quarter, most in any quarter in the team's 41-year history

    21

    Largest deficit the Bucs have ever overcome in a win (Nov. 2, 2008, vs. Chiefs). They trailed the Cardinals by 31 points....

    Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs scored 27 points in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Buccaneers-Cardinals Scouting Report: Keep your head on a swivel, Jameis

    Bucs

    Let's fact-check some stereotypes about Arizona.

    1. There are cactuses everywhere. True. They're outnumbered only by Kangol cap enthusiasts.

    2. It's a great place to settle when you turn 65. True. Just ask Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, Chris Johnson and, now, Adrian Peterson....

    The Cardinals have blitzed quarterbacks on 34 percent of pass plays this season, the 10th-highest rate in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. [Associated Press]
  4. 2017 NFC playoff picture: What are the Buccaneers' chances?

    Bucs

    Now that the Buccaneers are 2-2 and a quarter of the way through the regular season, it's time to check in on the rest of the NFC. What does Tampa Bay's path to the playoffs look like? Let's size up the competition (playoff odds courtesy of Football Outsiders).

    • • •...

    [Warner Bros.]
  5. Will Bucs benefit from mini bye after Thursday Night Football?

    Bucs

    With 10 days between Buccaneers games, there's plenty of time to spin their 19-14 loss to the Patriots on Thursday Night Football into a positive.

    They were a pass away from upsetting the defending Super Bowl champions! They held the New England offense to 19 points! They learned they needed a new kicker! The extra rest will help them bounce back!

    About that last one, the so-called mini bye …...

    Jameis Winston is 1-1 in games after a Thursday Night Football appearance. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  6. Patriots-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 5: Kicker problem? Score more touchdowns.

    Bucs

    Blame it on the kicker.

    Argue Nick Folk's three missed field goals cost the Buccaneers a win against the Patriots on Thursday Night Football.

    The general manager and head coach may very well agree. They're lining up potential replacements as we speak.

    Teams should replace unreliable kickers. There are plenty of good ones out there.

    But if the Bucs really want to solve their kicking problem, there's another solution, and one that has nothing to do with kicking: Score more touchdowns....

    Tight end Cameron Brate drops a would-be touchdown pass Thursday night. Brate has been one of Jameis Winston's most reliable targets, but he caught only five of nine passes in the Bucs' 19-14 loss. [Associated Press]
  7. Patriots-Buccaneers: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 19-14 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 19-14 loss to the Patriots on Thursday:

    3

    Times in the past 20 years in which a Bucs kicker missed three field goals in a game. Martin Gramatica did it in 2004, Kyle Brindza did it in 2015 and Nick Folk did it Thursday night.

    264

    Consecutive passes Tom Brady had attempted without throwing an interception before Bucs safety Justin Evans picked him off in the first quarter. That was the second-longest streak of his career....

    Doug Martin rushed for 55 yards in the first half. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  8. Tonight's Patriots-Bucs game is an excuse to talk about the Butt Fumble

    Bucs

    The NFL schedule is full of oddities. Tonight, for example, will mark the Patriots' first visit to Tampa to play the Buccaneers since 1997. They were the "visiting team" in 2009, but that game was in London.

    Here's another: It has been nearly five years since the Patriots last played on the road on a Thursday night. Since the start of the 2013 season, 29 of the NFL's 32 teams have had at least one turn as a visitor. The Steelers have had a league-high four turns. The Bucs, by the way, have had two. The Eagles and Lions are the other teams who haven't had any....

    "I have never seen this before in my life," NBC announcer Cris Collinsworth said as he watched Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez fumble after running into an offensive lineman's backside. [Associated Press]
  9. Patriots-Buccaneers Scouting Report: Tom Brady, third downs and magic pajamas

    Bucs

    You've seen the movie before.

    The bogeyman chases the babysitter through the house. She stabs him. He falls to the floor. She reassures the children. He sits up. He chases her through the house again.

    So it is with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Just when you think their run is over, they get back up and coldly resume terrorizing defenses. There's no better example than their Super Bowl LI comeback....

    Tom Brady's quarterback rating on third and fourth downs is an NFL-best 138.5. Bucs opposing quarterbacks have a 109.6 rating on third and fourth downs. [Getty Images]
  10. Giants-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 4: Jameis Winston, Cameron Brate and a play years in the making

    Bucs

    The clock shows that the Buccaneers' comeback against the New York Giants on Sunday evening began with a little more than nine minutes left.

    To tell the complete story of the comeback, though, you need to consult more than a clock. You need a calendar.

    Circle May 21, 2014. The Bucs sign undrafted tight end Cameron Brate....

    Tight end Cameron Brate caught four of six targets for 80 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs' 25-23 win over the Giants on Sunday. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  11. Giants-Buccaneers: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 25-23 win

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 25-23 win against the Giants on Sunday:

    3

    Jameis Winston touchdown passes, one each to Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. He now has 56 career touchdown passes.

    6

    Times Winston has thrown three touchdown passes in a game....

    Jacquizz Rodgers' 36-yard run was one of four Bucs plays of 35 yards or longer. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  12. Giants-Buccaneers: Quantifying franchise quarterbacks

    Bucs

    At least 28 quarterbacks will take a snap Sunday.

    Some are fill-ins. Some are bridges. Some are unquestioned starters.

    Only about a handful have earned the label "franchise quarterback."

    Sorry Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Maybe one day. But not now.

    To earn such a designation, a quarterback must demonstrate maturity and leadership, but above all else, he must perform. And at a high level over a long period of time....

    Eli Manning has started more than 200 games, is eighth all-time in passing yards and has won two Super Bowls. Does that make him a franchise quarterback? [Getty Images]
  13. DeSean Jackson to the New York Giants? It almost happened.

    Bucs

    Defending Odell Beckham Jr. is a daunting task in itself, but could you imagine if the Bucs had to defend Beckham, Sterling Sherpard and DeSean Jackson this Sunday?

    Well, it was close to happening.

    When Jackson hit free agency in March, he initially had three suitors: Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia. Feet up at his Newport Beach, Calif., home, Jackson waited as the bids rolled in....

    Through two games, Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson has seven catches on 14 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  14. Buccaneers All-22 Review: How Vikings put Case Keenum in position to succeed

    Bucs

    The first mistake wasn't a play call or a bad decision.

    It was an assumption.

    It was the assumption that there was no way career backup Case Keenum could beat the Buccaneers three games in a row.

    Coaches tell us all the time that the NFL is a week-to-week league. Just because something happened last week — let alone a season or two ago — doesn't mean it will or won't happen again. In many ways, each game is its own season....

    Case Keenum completed 75.8 percent of his passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings' 34-17 win over the Bucs on Sunday. [Getty Images]
  15. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality

    Bucs

    The NFL, it'll humble you. In a hurry.

    Just a week ago, the Bucs were the talk of the league after they dominated the Bears. By 3 p.m. Sunday, that talk had shifted.

    The Vikings were in complete control, jumping out to a 28-3 lead. Instead of taking another step forward, Tampa Bay regressed — all the way back to 2014.

    The reaction on social media to the 34-17 loss was, as expected, measured and thoughtful. A summary: The Bucs are trash and need to make changes ASAP....

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]