While Tampa Bay’s defense showed signs of improvement in multiple areas on Sunday, including third-down efficiency and contested passes, they still fell two short of their takeaway quota which proved to be a difference of two touchdowns.
The first – a Panthers fumble that somehow resulted in a Panthers touchdown – can be forgiven after Chris Conte made a great play to jar the ball loose from Jonathan Stewart before an unbelievably lucky bounce.
However the same can’t be said for the second one, as Lavonte David let a sure interception slip out of his grasp and gave the drive new life.
“Lavonte David would tell you that’s a typical interception for him,” head coach Lovie Smith said of the near third quarter pick that would’ve kept it a 24-10 game and shifted momentum. “Those are two of the ones that should, at the very worst, have made it a three takeaway day.”
David’s missed opportunity resulted in a 14-point swing, as Carolina would score two plays later to make it a three touchdown game with just over seven minutes left in the quarter.
Smith knows his team has to capitalize on plays like that, as games can drastically change off one mistake.
“We did have a couple of opportunities. It’s just not a good defensive day for us unless we can take the ball away.”
Of course even if the Bucs came up with the ball both times, avoiding the 57-yard fumble return and 12-yard crossing touchdown, they still would’ve ultimately lost the takeaway battle by two.
At the end of the day, Sunday’s loss came down to four interceptions and a fumbled snap that, more often than not, would knock even the best team out of the game.
“You can live with a three takeaway day unless the opponent has a five takeaway day,” Smith said. “It’s always defense vs. defense and offense vs. offense. We didn’t get that done yesterday.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Can’t have one player be responsible for 5 unforced takeaways with four of them on our side of the field and expect to win.
I sure hope the OP is not writing an expression of his own views. It comes across like St Lovie’s point of view, which is not going down very well with me.
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