Bringing back key pieces on the defensive line was a top off-season priority for the Buccaneers heading into 2020. Shaquil Barrett played on the franchise tag, Ndamukong Suh came back on a one-year deal, and Jason Pierre Paul earned himself a two-year deal. These three pro-bowl caliber players, along with Vita Vea, William Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Anthony Nelson, and others were all a big reason why the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought home the Lombardi Trophy. Here is a list of some of the best moments from their Super Bowl season.
48 Total Team Sacks
Averaging three sacks per game is no easy task in the NFL. Huge credit to Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers defensive front for tallying up the fifth most sacks of the 2020 season.
Jason Pierre Paul Interceptions
When a guy is playing with 25% fewer fingers than the rest of the players on the field, he is likely the last person anyone would expect to intercept passes. Pierre-Paul intercepted passes in back to back weeks against the Panthers and then the Rams. This was very fun to watch as a Buccaneer fan and fired up the entire Tampa Bay sideline.
Shaquil Barrett Revenge Game
In Week Three the Buccaneers traveled to Denver to take on Barrett’s former team. The Broncos were pretty beat up in this matchup and Barrett made them pay. Not only did Barrett get a sack in the end zone resulting in a safety, he also added another sack, five tackles, and three tackles for loss. He let the Broncos know they let a good one slip away.
Suh Punishes Aaron Rodgers
The Week Six matchup against the Green Bay Packers was one of the most dominant games the Buccaneers played all season. Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Rodgers have rivaled each other for over a decade now back to when Suh was drafted by Detroit into Rodgers’ division. On the field, you could see Suh and Rodgers jawing back and forth all game. This made it extra satisfying to watch Suh hit a quarterback about as hard as one can without drawing a penalty in today’s NFL. After throwing Rodgers to the turf and then throwing Green Bay’s offensive lineman to the side, you could see Suh yelling at Rodgers, most likely making sure Rodgers knew who had just buried him into the turf.
Vita Vea Returns
After breaking a bone in his lower leg in Week Five against Chicago, Vita Vea returned to the team just in time for the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay. One of, if not the best player on the defensive side of the ball provided a huge spark for the defense as a whole. Shaquill Barrett and Jason Pierre Paul’s sack numbers both increased and the opponent’s run game was nearly non-existent with the return of Vita Vea.
The Super Bowl LV Slaughter
Patrick Mahomes was running for his life against the Tampa Bay defense during the Super Bowl. With a beat up Chiefs offensive line, the front seven of Tampa Bay had a field day and pressured Mahomes on nearly every snap. One of the most dominant games from a defense in the last several years, and on the biggest stage, what a memory for the players and fans of Tampa Bay.
Let’s hope Jason Licht and the front office are once again able to keep the defense in tact heading into the 2021 season. Shaquil Barrett is once again a free agent, as is Lavonte David, both of whom are top priorities and crucial pieces that the Buccaneers will need to pay in order to keep around.