Before crowning them returned, Bucs defense must learn to close games first

Make no mistake, this Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is a VASTLY improved unit from the one that took the field a year ago. The 2012 Bucs defense was the best against the run, but worst against the pass. So front office went out and addressed that by picking up the best corner available on the market, and picked up one of the top safetys as well. Early results show the moves were very productive. 

Ask yourself this…how many deep passes did you see yesterday did you think "last year that would have been a touchdown" ?

But as excited as we may want to get about this Bucs defense, and we should get very excited about it, we're forced to compare one painful aspect  of this "D" to the great defenses of old….

The old Bucs defense knew how to close out a win. SO far two weeks into the season, the Bucs D has had two opportunities to do so, but was not able to against the Jets, or the Saints. Instead of the same lights out play, the Bucs gave up completions for key chunks of yards to allow a FG attempt to win the game for the other team.

In two weeks, the Bucs defense has given up two touchdowns, which is impressive. But it's also given up two game losing FG drives. 

Much like the Rays, the Bucs defense is getting no run support, because Bucs offense also has scored only 2 touchdowns.        

But the highlights of the season so far for the Bucs defense have to be the agressive play by the secondary,  but then you could just sense a switch was flipped when the Bucs defense completed a goal line stand on four downs to not only keep the Saints off the scoreboard, but took 3 points off the board when Saints Head coach Sean Peyton decided to go for it on 4th down when an offsides by Leonard Johnson gave the Saints the option.

After that stop, the defense played inspired, and held the Saints offense in check most of the game. Then came the 4th quarter…..

Mason Foster faked a blitz then backed off into coverage and Drew Brees bit. After intercepting the ball, Foster headed for the sideline, then at the last minute cut back in, and made it down the sideline in what is probably one of the top ten most exciting TD plays in Bucs history.

The defense sacked the QB 4 more times, which brings the Bucs to 9 on the year, which is 1/3 of all of last years sacks combined! Granted half the sacks were from the linebackers, but thats still a sack.      

So where are the complaints? Well the 2 minute FG drives that win games for the other team….. and the continued penalties coming from the defensive side. Even the 4th down goal line stand was stained with a penalty…Bucs only had 10 players on the field.



About Nick

Fanatical Bucs follower since the 1979 season- and proud owner of over 650 Tampa Bay Buccaneers games on DVD going back to 1977. Blogger and historian for all things Bucs.