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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. Bucs-Vikings: A by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 34-17 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 34-17 loss at Minnesota Sunday:

    369

    Case Keenum's passing yards Sunday, the most of his career in a single game.

    128.9

    Keenum's passer rating in three games against the Bucs.

    26...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) hits Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) as he passes during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen

    Bucs

    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

    Who predicted a hurricane would lead to the Buccaneers losing their Week 11 bye? And Case Keenum, Vikings starting quarterback? Saw it coming, right?

    Here's one thing we do know: It's not wise to underestimate Keenum, who has beaten the Bucs in back-to-back seasons. Limited arm strength? Apparently, he saves it all for Tampa Bay. Since the start of the 2015 season, he has executed 10 pass plays of 40 or more yards. Three have come at the expense of the Bucs. Against them, he has averaged 9.9 yards per pass attempt. Against everyone else? 6.4....

    Four of tight end Kyle Rudolph's seven catches this season have come on third down, including this 15-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener against the Saints. [Getty Images]
  3. Bears-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 2: When was it over?

    Bucs

    Well, that escalated quickly.

    One moment, the Bears were dinking and dunking their way down the field. The next, they were giving the ball away. In a six-minute stretch over the first and second quarters, they turned the ball over three times. Interception. Fumble. Fumble.

    ...

    Jacquizz Rodgers scores a touchdown Sunday in the Bucs' 29-7 win over the Bears in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT  |  Times]
  4. What we learned from NFL Week 2

    Bucs

    1. Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, 74, wasn't on the set for his current gig as an analyst on Fox's NFL Sunday show because he was working on his Florida Keys home in Tavernier that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma. He told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Don't feel sorry for me. I can rebuild. I have the money. I feel bad for people who lost their house and don't know what to do. Those are the ones to feel sorry for, the ones who need help right now."...

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy hits Bears quarterback Mike Glennon during Tampa Bay's 29-7 victory at Raymond James Stadium. Is it time for rookie Mitch Trubisky to replace Glennon as the starter?  [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Chicago Bears-Tampa Bay Buccaneers Scouting Report: Mike Glennon will be Mike Glennon

    Bucs

    While football players spent last Sunday running around a rectangle, I, like millions of Floridians, spent the majority of the day huddled in a corner, knees to my chest, head in my hands, fearing the wrath of a hurricane.

    Once I emerged from my anxiety-induced psychosis sometime early Monday morning, I tried to catch up on all things NFL. As I scanned the Week 1 box scores, I started shaking....

    Is there a difference between Mike Glennon, Bucs quarterback and Mike Glennon, Bears quarterback?
  6. Mike Evans by the numbers: Where the Bucs receiver ranks among the NFL's best

    Bucs

    To our readers: Mike Evans' 2016 NFL Catch of the Year and the big Bucs' offseason catches — DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin — inspired us to mark the start of the 2017 season with a series of stories celebrating "The Catch." We hope you enjoy them....

    [Getty Images]
  7. 2017 Bucs/NFL preview: Expectations are high, but there's always a catch

    Bucs

    To our readers: Mike Evans' 2016 NFL Catch of the Year and the big Bucs' offseason catches — DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin — inspired us to mark the start of the 2017 season with a series of stories celebrating "The Catch." We hope you enjoy them....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) tips a pass from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9), leading to  an interception by Vernon Hargreaves' (28) interception on Dec. 11, 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  8. 2017 Bucs/NFL preview: How Mike Evans beat Richard Sherman

    Bucs

    To our readers: Mike Evans' 2016 NFL Catch of the Year and the big Bucs' offseason catches — DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin — inspired us to mark the start of the 2017 season with a series of stories celebrating "The Catch." We hope you enjoy them....

    Cornerback Richard Sherman allowed two touchdowns all of last season, one of which was to Mike Evans in the Bucs' 14-5 win over the Seahawks in November. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  9. Madden NFL 18 predictions: No playoffs for the Buccaneers

    Bucs

    For the first time in years, the Buccaneers are bona fide playoff contenders.

    The optimism is justified. On offense, the supporting cast around Jameis Winston is deeper than ever. On defense, coordinator Mike Smith is back to lead a unit that made significant strides during the second half of last season....

    [EA Sports]
  10. Is Bucs kicker Nick Folk a significant upgrade over Roberto Aguayo?

    Bucs

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter made it clear.

    And he used some Hard Knocks language.

    Nick Folk was the team's bleeping kicker.

    With that, the Roberto Aguayo saga ended Saturday, less than 16 months after it started. It's Folk's job, at least for now.

    On Thursday against the Jaguars ­— his first game post-Aguayo — Folk got off to a shaky start. Jacksonville blocked an extra point, and a 47-yard field goal try late in the game veered wide right....

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk is entering his 11th NFL season. He spent three seasons with the Cowboys and seven with the Jets. [LOREN ELLIOTT  |  Times]
  11. Teams like the Rays are striking out more, and Mike Schmidt thinks it's a problem

    The Heater

    "I don't like that today's hitters have been allowed to adopt a carefree attitude toward the strikeout."

    Those are Mike Schmidt's words, published in a 2014 column about baseball's ever-increasing rate of strikeouts. I came across his piece recently while doing research for a story about the Rays and their record-breaking pace....

    Mike Schmidt played 18 seasons for the Phillies. His career strikeout rate was 18.7 percent. The major-league average today is 21.6 percent. [Associated Press]
  12. Bucs' Jameis Winston quickly finds chemistry with 8-year-old receiver

    Bucs

    Jameis Winston stayed after practice Tuesday to throw a few extra passes to Cameron Brate, Alan Cross, O.J. Howard and someone hoping to one day latch onto an NFL roster.

    That player? Eight-year-old Michael Vernon II of Brandon, who was a mere autograph seeker until Bucs assistants invited him onto the field....

    Jameis Winston (3) signs autographs for fans following practice Friday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  13. Gerald McCoy on Brian Price video, CTE: 'It hurts you to your heart'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, drafted 32 picks apart in 2010, were supposed to anchor the interior of the next great Bucs defense.

    McCoy has gone on to earn All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Price, however, is now coping with life after football.

    A video published this week by a Michigan television station shows police confronting the former lineman outside an auto parts store in April. During the exchange, Price, 28, suddenly charges toward the store's glass door and dives through it. As if nothing happened, he walks away from the shards of glass and lies down in the parking lot....

    Price, shown here talking to head coach Greg Schiano during a 2012 practice, played two seasons in Tampa Bay. [Times]
  14. Think strikeouts are bad? You're wrong. And the Rays are proving it.

    The Heater

    Baseball is changing, and it's changing in a way that runs counter to everything we've been taught.

    "Put the ball in play and good things will happen" is the axiom.

    But that's not the Tampa Bay Rays' style. Far from it.

    They struck out 874 times in the first half, the most in baseball. If they maintain this pace, they'll be the latest team to break the major-league record....

    The hitting philosophy of Rays first baseman Logan Morrison: "I'm not going to beat anything out on the ground. I'm slow. I'm just trying to hit the ball in the air and in the gaps, and hopefully they go out for me." [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  15. How the Buccaneers will benefit from O.J. Howard

    Bucs

    Myles Garrett fires his hands into O.J. Howard's chest and churns his legs as the Alabama tight end tries to hold his ground. As they collide, Garrett extends his arms, driving Howard back.

    Whether the play is successful hinges on Howard's next move. If he cedes more ground to the Texas A&M defensive end, the lane for the running back will close....

    With the offseason additions of O.J. Howard, above, and DeSean Jackson, the Bucs might have one of the NFL's most potent offenses. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]