Buccaneers Defensive Grades vs Carolina

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Coming into this week’s game the Buccaneers knew they needed a big game from their defense. Luckily for them, they got one. The defense came in clutch at key times and aided the playoff effort. Here’s how I saw things and my grades for the defense.

Run Game

As discussed in the Bucs Report Defensive Point Of Attack article for this week, stopping the run was essential to victory. The Buccaneers needed to stack the box with eight men against Chuba Hubbard and seven against D’Onta Foreman and they did just that. This dropped the Panthers’ yards per carry from 6.4 from their earlier matchup to 3.4 this week. This resulted in the Panthers gaining 101 yards fewer than the last game. A solid effort.

I would have liked to see more penetration on the line resulting in more tackles for loss. Ultimately though, the Panthers were forced to place the pressure to win on Sam Darnold’s shoulders.

Run Defense Grade: A-

Passing Game 

Before we get ahead of ourselves I think it’s important to call out a misconception. Sam Darnold has been playing well since returning. The calls of “how are they letting Darnold do that” and assuming the defense is playing poor are not based in reality. Statistically he’s been one of the best quarterbacks since returning. Now that he’s playing in an offense that plays to his strengths he looks poised.  His numbers were good, 23/37 for 341 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

As for this game the secondary and coverage played a decent game. Taking a bend don’t break mentality right down to the line. The defense applied pressure as evident by two key sacks, six quarterback hits, and four essential pass deflections. Add in a Sean Murphy-Bunting interception and the defense aided in victory.

One of the biggest turn overs was an great strip sack by Anthony Nelson with the Panthers on their own 13 yard line. The result would wind up being a touchdown that put the Buccaneers up by nine points and essentially sealed the victory.

Off the three turnovers that ended Panthers drives The Buccaneers gained ten points. Critical to winning this close game. Still the team did have some miss ques and bite on some play action they shouldn’t have. Some pass we were left bewildered as three defenders were seemingly in close proximity and were unable to get to the ball.

This team will improve when Carlton Davis III is back.

Passing Defense Grade: C

Final Thoughts/Grades

The defense played well. Sometimes that means sealing victories late and getting key stops when needed. The defensive game plan played out much like I anticipated, with a focus on stopping the run. Luckily they came up big when this team needed them. Execution in defending the pass at times lacking.

Game plan grade: B. Execution: C+. Overall game for the defense, a solid B-.

The Bucs Report/ Sports Talk Florida Postgame Show!

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