I know what you’re thinking. How can the defense impress when they gave up 517 yards passing? How can they impress when Jared Goff went for 45/68 and two TD passes? What did this defense do Sunday to say to anyone that they were impressive? Well, let’s find out.
Yes, Goff had a ton of passing yards. That is solely because he had just short of 70 passing attempts with 68. The Rams went down 21 early and were forced to go to the air from the beginning. Although Tampa Bay gave up a lot of yards in the air the defensive unit was able to make multiple defensive stops that lead to 3 or fewer points in the game. The Buccaneers’ pass defense was something Bruce Arians attacked in his first Bucs draft by selecting three defensive players. The group is very young, but they are very competitive and smart. They will get better as the season continues.
That being said Jordan Whitehead was able to get his first interception of his young NFL career. M.J. Stewart was also a player that had a great game that went overlooked. Stewart was second in tackles behind Kevin Minter with 9 tackles and one assist. Tampa Bay’s secondary was able to make the needed plays to come away with this win.
The Buccaneers have given up 166, 324, 336, 517 which comes to an average of 335 yards given up in the air per game and puts Tampa Bay last or second to last in pass defense.
Tampa Bay’s run defense is second to none because they are currently number one against the run in the NFL with a league average of 59.2 yards per game. Tampa Bay’s front seven has been nothing short but great and dominate. Todd Bowles game plan and scheme have been able to make opposing defenses one dimensional. Bowles’ defense has also uplifted a dying star of William Gholston who I, earlier this year, referred to as “the ghost”. With Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea and the emergence of Shaq Barrett have dominated opposing teams’ offensive lines.
Defensive Pass Rush
The pass rush department is pretty short and sweet nine sacks over four games I’m sure everybody can guess who that is. If not it’s Barrett. Barrett has surpassed anyone’s expectations, but his own. He bet on himself to be great and made sure to show John Elway and the Denver Broncos that they made a mistake in letting him walk over $1 million. Tampa Bay’s defense has been successful thus far in making QBs uncomfortable in the pocket but needs to get constant pressure on QBs on big downs.
Someone else has to show up and create sacks on this defense teams are going to gear into stopping Barrett and then that’s when someone else has to come up big.