Tampa Bay Is Team TFLOctober 23rd, 2012
Dive deep into the Bucs’ defensive statistics and it’s downright amazing how highly the Bucs rank in various areas of run defense. The “swarm” Greg Schiano preaches is buzzing loudly.
Not counting kneel-downs, the Bucs defense leads the NFL in forcing negative yardage plays (8.7-per-game average), which is even more stunning considering the Bucs only have a flimsy eight sacks through six games.
Those “TFLs” (tackles for loss) Schiano often references? The Bucs lead the NFL in forcing negative runs (28), and Tampa Bay has played one less game than many clubs.
Bucs leaders in tackles for loss (TFLs)
LB Lavonte David 9
LB Mason Foster 8
DE Michael Bennett 5
DT Gerald McCoy 5
All those numbers represent an amazing overhaul of the Bucs run defense after Tampa Bay repeatedly got gutted and gashed since the December 2008 collapse began in Carolina through the entire Raheem Morris era.
Nobody runs on the Bucs anymore — unless it’s receivers frolicking through the secondary.
Tampa Bay allows 3.1 yards per carry, best in the NFL. Against New Orleans Sunday, the Saints literally could have ended the game in the fourth quarter when they ran Darren Sproles on 3rd-and-3 from their own 39 yard line. There were two minutes left and the Bucs were out of timeouts. A first down there gets the Saints to the kneel-downs. No dice. Sproles got one yard.
As for the Bucs secondary, well, Joe doesn’t want to look at those numbers. Hopefully, up-and-down Christian Ponder will be just what the doctor ordered on Thursday in Minnesota.