Defending Rush Defense

December 16th, 2020

Run defense wasn’t terrible.

Some folks took to sports radio – and Joe surely missed someone on one of the many network hollering shows — to point a finger at the Bucs’ run defense saying they got gashed on Sunday.

Joe is here to stick up for the run defense.

Was the Bucs’ run defense good? No, Joe wouldn’t say that. Dalvin Cook ran for 102 yards. Not too shabby. But in reading a piece from Chase Goodbread of, he seems to think Cook blew up the Bucs’ run defense.

The NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense looked ordinary at best against Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. The fourth-year pro had 49 yards in the first quarter alone against the Bucs, behind some impressive blocking up front, and consistently broke away from initial contact. Once Tampa Bay built a double-digit lead, Minnesota turned more to the passing game, but Cook still finished 22 for 102 to become the first 100-yard rusher against Tampa Bay since Week 9 of 2019 (Chris Carson).

Let’s not get carried away here. It is not like Cook went full-blown Eric Dickerson or Walter Payton on the Bucs and hung two bills on the run defense.

Cook’s yards per carry came out to 4.6 per touch. Very good but not earth-shattering.

No, Joe doesn’t believe there should be wholesale changes to the Bucs’ rush defense because the best running back in the NFC barely broke 100 yards on them.

22 Responses to “Defending Rush Defense”

  1. Dan Didriksen Says:

    I was actually kinda happy with the way the run defense went. The Vikings got more on the ground than about anyone this season, but I thought it kept a little pressure off our secondary. I was worried about Theilen and Jefferson catching passes all day against our secondary, but because the Vikings had some success, it kept them from throwing all over the field, which is our weakness. Maybe I’m crazy, but I kinda liked keeping them on the ground…

  2. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I was happy with the defense vs. the Vikings, for the most part. Holding them to field goal attempts most of the time, that they didn’t make. Justin Jefferson was held to 4 catches for 39 yards. Holding Cook to only 100 and some change was pretty good. Shaq and JPP getting sacks.
    What I didn’t like: Cousins was able to run for 1st Downs whenever they wanted, and the TE’s seemed to be left open too often.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Rojo averaged 4.4 yards in that game….& if he had a few more carries, he would have broken 100…..

    We definitely missed some tdackles…..and were gashed by Cousins…..but nothing deep,,,,,,they had to earn all of their yards the hard way….ate up clock…..and we held them to 14…

    I’m very good with our D vs. Minn….

  4. unbelievable Says:

    Overall it wasn’t terrible, but there were definitely A LOT of missed tackles / soft-arse attempts at tackling.

    Bowles says they went back to practicing the fundamentals during the bye week (aka tackling), while Bullchit Bruce says they’re being sloppy in practice and that’s why the tackling sucks.

    One, or both of them, are lying.

    Hopefully we can still win out in spite of this coaching staff.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    They had to protect the secondary so they sacrificed the run D.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Also anyone that knows anything about scheme Gary Kubiak scheme to run the football is similar to the Shanahan’s where running backs get their yards

  7. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    They did get gashed mentally by not playing their responsibilities in the middle of the field #45 …they didn’t get physically beat

  8. chris L Says:

    joe you did say before the game you would think bucs would do better with cook doing well since their passing might be lower. so worked out but i expect them to improve.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    From what I’ve read, Todd Bowles has long emphasized ‘Stop the run first’ as the key tenet of his defensive philosophy. And over the years, his teams have done that quite effectively … 2013 Cards were #1 against the run; 2015 Jets were #2; 2019 Bucs were #1; 2020 Bucs are #1 again.

    But in those same years, if you look at his pass defense, it’s not nearly as effective for the most part … 2013 Cards were #14 in pass defense; 2015 Jets were #13; 2019 Bucs were #30; 2020 Bucs are currently #21.

    Gets me wondering if maybe focusing so much on stopping the run might have inhibited the pass rush somewhat (gap protection rigidity making our pass rush more predictable?), and thus maybe put more pressure on the Secondary & LBs in coverage.

    We gave up more rushing yardage to the Vikings (162 yds) than we have to any team, but we also got better pressure on the QB and more sacks (6) than we have in any game since the Broncos game early in the season when Vea was still in there. After the recent pass defense debacles against the Saints (82.9% completions), Panthers (71.4%), Rams (76.5%) and Chiefs (74.0%), we did better against the Vikings (64.9% completions). Maybe our Bucs’ defense just prioritized pass coverage a little more than run defense to make that happen? No clue, but it’d be interesting to find out.

  10. PSL Bob Says:

    it the Bucs had made just half of their “missed” tackles, Cook would have been under 100 yds. I mean really, one 100-yd rusher in 13 games, and a top tier running back at that. That ain’t too shabby!

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    The run was not a disaster, but still looked sloppy as hell.

    Poor gap control and abysmal arm tackling.

    It looked life me an early PS game.

    And better get a LOT better.

  12. Cobraboy Says:

    I hate tiny Cellphone keyboards and speelczech, totally incompatible with manly fingers. Sheesh…

  13. Mike Says:

    The Vikings are a great running team with a great running back. It’s not suprise that they ran the ball well. I thought the Bucs held up well and bounced back after a lackluster effort in the 1st quarter. And the fact they are still stout without Vea is great, as he was such a key cog in the middle when healthy.

  14. Coburn Says:

    I think they clamped down a lot more and made better tackes in second half.first half though? They didn’t seem to be able to even stop it. Every other run was a first down

  15. Coburn Says:

    They hardly threw the ball in first half I think

  16. Dewey Selmon Says:

    It’s the first 100 yard rusher since Carson did it LAST YEAR. And in took until the 13th game. You have to give Cook and the Vikings some credit, they have shredded some defenses.

  17. Sumosam Says:

    When a teams main concern is to run the damn ball, they’re going to have some success on you running the ball. They didn’t kill us with running. That’s a bunch of crap.

  18. Jmarkbuc Says:

    45’s pass coverage is definitely something to worry about.

  19. Joe Says:

    joe you did say before the game you would think bucs would do better with cook doing well since their passing might be lower. so worked out but i expect them to improve.

    Forgot out that. But you are right.

  20. Augsut 1976 Buc Says:

    To say the defense played okay is not what we had to sit through and watch for the entire first quarter. There is no way everyone was happy watching the defense get pushed around for the entire 1st quarter. No one has done that to this team like the Vikings in a long time. The Bucs offense had the ball for I believe 5 plays and a punt in the 1st Qtr the Bucs D was dominated, then and much of the game. In the 2nd half they gave up another 7-8 minute drive. As for the pressure, it was not consistently good, they had 2 sacks until the last 2 drives and had 4 sacks to win the game. The Defense stepped up and closed out the game with those 4 sacks. That was the highlight of the game for the defense. Also Cousins had his best day rushing last sunday, another reason why the defense could not get off the field in the 1st Qtr and the 3rd Qtr. So just glad the Vikings had Dan Bailey kicking to help the Bucs and frustrate the Vikings. For a Bucs fan, the defense is not a comforting subject right now. Hope everybody ready for the track meet in Hotlanta this week. GO BUCS!!!!!

  21. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:


    Simple as that…

  22. Anonymous Says:

    People have not been beating us with the run so I see no problems. If it takes some give on run defense to defend the pass better, that just makes sense. The games that were really bad losses to the Saints, Chiefs and Rams, they tore us up in the passing game. Improving that aspect of the defense is a must. The Titans however, could kill us with the run if we meet up with them post season.