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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-Dolphins Turning Point, Week 11: Cool, calm Fitzmagic

    Bucs

    On Sunday, the Buccaneers and Dolphins played one of those football games that gets only an obligatory mention at the end of highlight shows. In that spirit, this week's Turning Point will focus mostly on the final three minutes of Tampa Bay's 30-20 win.

    What happened: In the first half, smokin' Jay Cutler didn't really care who was catching his passes. Sometimes, it was Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry. Other times, it was Bucs defenders. Thanks in part to three Cutler interceptions, Tampa Bay scored 20 points in the first half. It had scored 19 in the first halves of its previous six games combined....

    Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed about 60 percent of his passes Sunday and threw for 275 yards in a 30-20 win over the Dolphins. He threw two touchdown passes and no interceptions. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Buccaneers-Dolphins: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 30-20 win

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 30-20 win over the Dolphins on Sunday:

    5

    Bucs takeaways, four of which occurred in the first half. Tampa Bay last recorded four takeaways in the first half against Chicago in Week 2.

    6

    Turnovers quarterback Jay Cutler has committed against the Bucs in the past six quarters he has played against them (three interceptions Sunday, two interceptions and a lost fumble last season). He did not play in the second half because he was being evaluated for a concussion....

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) signals a possession change after his defensive unit recovered a fumble during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: Steelers, Cowboys fall; Patriots, Saints rise

    Bucs

    What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference's Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings, ESPN's Football Power Index, FiveThirtyEight's Elo ratings and statistician Jeff Sagarin's NFL ratings. We then used a composite of those measures as a guidepost....

    The Cowboys' playoffs chances dropped more than 20 percentage points after Sunday's 27-7 loss to the Falcons. [Getty Images]
  4. The Bucs did something Sunday they hadn't done since Week 2

    Bucs

    The Buccaneers did something Sunday they hadn't done in a while: They scored first and never allowed the Jets to take the lead.

    How long has it been since they've done that? How about the opener against the Bears? In every game between, they either never had a lead or had one and lost it.

    Far too often this season, they've been playing from behind. In fact, when the offense has started a drive, Tampa Bay's average lead has been -4.79 points, the sixth-worst margin in the NFL....

    Dirk Koetter and the Bucs snapped a five-game losing streak Sunday. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Jets-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 10: Finding meaning in a lost season

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled to his right. About 25 yards down the field, a receiver crossed over the middle. Not a single Jets jersey was in sight.

    His previous 34 passes were a mix of good and bad. But the 35th? It was one of the more meaningful passes you've never seen.

    Not because of the throw. But because of the receiver.

    It wasn't DeSean Jackson. And it wasn't Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries or Cameron Brate. It wasn't even a professional football player....

    After the Bucs' 15-10 win over the Jets on Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick become the seventh quarterback in NFL history to start for and win a game with six teams. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  6. Wins trump stat sheet in team debuts for Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick

    Bucs

    Ryan Fitzpatrick's first starts with his new teams haven't been impressive. He has never passed for more than 250 yards and has thrown multiple touchdowns only once. In fact, he has thrown more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (seven). All that matters, though, is the W, and Fitzpatrick has been victorious in four of his seven debuts.

    Season Team Opponent Result Passing stats

    2005 STL WAS L 24-9 21-of-36, 163 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT...

  7. Bucs-Jets: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 15-10 win

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 15-10 win over the Jets on Sunday:

    6

    Teams Ryan Fitzpatrick has started for and won a game with. The other quarterbacks to accomplish that feat: Steve Beuerlein, Chris Chandler, Gus Frerotte, Josh McCown, Earl Morrall and Vinny Testaverde....

    Ryan Fitzpatrick has started for and won a game with six teams during his career. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  8. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Josh McCown: Comparing the vagabond quarterbacks

    Bucs

    When the Buccaneers host the Jets on Sunday, it won't be the first time Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown have gone head-to-head. In fact, this will be the third straight season they've played against each other. Fitzpatrick's Jets got the better of McCown's Browns both times.

    Okay, so it's not Brady vs. Manning. It's more like beige vs. khaki. Really.

    See whether you can tell the difference....

    Ryan Fitzpatrick greets Josh McCown after the Jets beat the Browns 31-28 last season. [Getty Images]
  9. NFL Power Rankings, Week 10: Steelers hold the top spot

    Bucs

    It happens every year.

    We talk about how strange the NFL season has been.

    Then we get to November.

    And it starts to feel ... normal.

    Teams like the Patriots and Steelers at the top. Teams like the Browns and Dolphins at the bottom.

    Sure, there are a couple of new teams in the mix this season, but for the most part, the standings look rather familiar.

    Now that we've just passed the halfway point, it's time to assess the NFL landscape and separate the contenders from the pretenders....

    Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell celebrates a touchdown earlier this season by bench pressing the football. [Getty Images]
  10. Buccaneers-Saints Turning Point, Week 9: The nonexistent run game

    Bucs

    Jameis Winston wanted to know where the line was.

    "As far as doing too much, I want to have a good understanding of how much is doing too much," he told Dirk Koetter.

    Koetter responded: "We have by far the best team since you've been playing in the NFL, and you are a guy that's able to win a game. But also we don't need you to lose a game for us."

    Such scenes from HBO's Hard Knocks have aged quickly. They feel like old home videos now. Familiar and foreign all at the same time....

    Bucs running backs carried the ball 19 times Sunday in a 30-10 loss to the Saints. On six of those carries, they failed to gain at least a yard. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  11. Buccaneers-Saints: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 30-10 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 30-10 loss to the Saints on Sunday:

    6,033

    Drew Brees career completions.

    5,903

    Bucs completions since 1998.

    23

    Bucs players who have completed a pass since 1998.

    ...

    Jameis Winston now has 10,052 passing yards in 40 career games. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  12. Third-down defense isn't as important as we think. Here's why.

    Bucs

    Coaches and players preach it.

    We've got to get off the field on third down.

    The Bucs? They've been spending so much time on the field they could tell you all you ever wanted to know about the grass at Raymond James Stadium.

    Tifway 419 Bermuda. Dense. Tough. Weed-resistant.

    Last season, the defense allowed opponents to convert only one out of every three third downs. This season, it's allowing opponents to convert half of them. What has changed in a year?...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Chris Conte (23) tackles Carolina Panthers tight end Ed Dickson (84) on a reception during the first half of an NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017.
  13. Madden NFL 18's prediction for the Bucs is so close, it's scary

    Bucs

    Everyone bought the hype.

    Ten wins. Playoffs. A division title.

    Maybe even something more.

    You remember the buzz. The NFC South had produced Super Bowl teams in consecutive seasons. This season, it would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' turn.

    They were a team on the rise....

    "Madden NFL 18" wasn't impressed by the Bucs. Ten wins? No way, the game said. More like six. [EA Sports]
  14. Panthers-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 8: Ugly starts lead to bad endings

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs are a mess.

    Where to start?

    How about the beginning?

    On Tampa Bay's first play Sunday, Doug Martin barely carried the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.

    On the second, Jameis Winston's pass to DeSean Jackson along the right sideline fell incomplete.

    On the third, Winston targeted Jackson again, this time over the middle. The pass was high, but you wonder whether Jackson, sensing that he was about to get popped by a Panthers defender, didn't fully extend for the ball....

    Jameis Winston fumbles during the second quarter Sunday. The Bucs have committed 12 turnovers after the first quarter this season, tied for the third most. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  15. Bucs-Panthers: The best and worst from the Bucs' 17-3 loss

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The best and worst from the Bucs' 17-3 loss to Carolina on Sunday:

    BEST

    • How about that Tampa Bay defense? A week after allowing the Bills to score 30 points, the Bucs held the Panthers to 17. They also held them to about 200 fewer yards. The biggest difference? Fewer explosive plays....

    Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) makes a touchdown catch over Bucs strong safety Justin Evans (21) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]