The Bucs run defense is a model of consistency. From game one to this midway point of the season, the Bucs have been one of the league's best. Right now, they're number one.
The secret to their success starts in their opponents' backfield with tackles for losses. The Bucs lead the league in that category.
"Just having a run averaging three yards or less, that's really the goal," said Gerald McCoy. "That helps you be able to expand and start dictating what they have to run."
Greg Schiano made it a priority to stop the run. The Bucs were last in the league a year ago. This team takes great pride in corralling opposing running backs.
Only twice have the Bucs given up long runs: A 39-yarder to Alfred Morris (Redskins) and 64-yarder to Adrian Peterson (Vikings). That's still two too many for their coach.
"Both those runs were similar to how we got blocked and how we didn't make the tackle," Schiano said. "Other than those two that really burn in my mind, we've been able to, we kind of say, 'trap the mouse.' That's how we kind of look at it with our secondary. If it pops we kind of have to funnel it down and get them on the ground."
As dominant as the Bucs are against the run, they are polar opposite against the pass. The Bucs are ranked dead last in the league in average passing yards allowed. It's a little maddening to Schiano.
"I only laugh out of frustration," Schiano smiled. "Trust me, we should be better in our pass rush."
"We don't have the best first- and second-down pass rating, but you know we are getting better," said Da'Quan Bowers. "We just have to get better each and every time. It's our job to put pressure on the quarterback. If we don't put pressure, he has all day back there to throw, DB's can't cover that long. So it's probably our fault."
This week is a clash of two of the league's best at stopping the run, 1 vs. 4. So both teams are likely to look a bit one dimensional. There should be plenty of passes flying on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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