During last season’s playoff run, running back Leonard Fournette really turned it on. He came alive with 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He added 148 yards through the air. His physicality helped open up the offense and kept opposing teams honest throughout the Super Bowl run. This season he has continued his great play and now the Tampa Bay offense looks even more lethal than before. Regular Season Lenny is here, with this type of play the team has looked unstoppable as of late.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the most passing yards throughout the league and are led by Tom Brady. They have arguably the most devastating group of pass-catchers assembled in NFL history. There is no reason this team should have a top 10 rusher and yet they do. Leonard Fournette is currently top 10 in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns and really he is just getting started. If this team decided to run the ball more they could potentially have a top 5 rusher in the league.
The beauty of Fournette’s game is that he is not just a runner. In turn that keeps defenses honest and the team isn’t one-dimensional. When teams face the Buccaneers offense the main task should be to stop the big plays in the passing game. When Fournette is in the backfield though they have to anticipate a run. But the beauty is that he also can catch the ball out of the backfield though as he currently has 27 catches on a 79.4 catch percentage.
With that kind of versatility, the Buccaneers have been able to keep the ball moving and opposing defenses grasping at straws.
The play of Fournette has been a major key for this team ever since the 2020 playoffs for many reasons. The main reason though is the physical play the offense can take to collaborate with the high-flying passing offense. That in turn makes it extremely difficult for any defense to really stop this team from putting up yards and points.
When you look at a finesse passing team like the Chiefs, the thing that teams need the most is a physical presence in the running game. Making a defense think about defending the whole field is the most challenging task when facing a top offense like Tampa Bay. If Fournette can continue this style of play throughout the rest of the season this team will be hard-pressed to find a challenging team.
The passing game opens up running lanes for him and when he plays well that opens up the offense to be completely unstoppable. When your passing game is led by Tom Brady, your job is that much easier for Fournette. He does not have to be the best player on the field, he just has to protect the football and trust his line to open up the gates.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have three games against top-five rushing defenses left. Two against the Saints and a huge game against the Buffalo Bills in December. If they can continue their balanced play in those games that should be a huge positive omen come playoff time.
Fournette has shown to still have Pro Bowl talent left in him, he might be playing himself into a big contract in the off-season.