Despite giving up 414 yards of total offense, the Buccaneers defense, for the most part, held Houston out of the end zone on Sunday.
While they had some breakdowns during the Texans final touchdown drive, including a couple penalties, head coach Lovie Smith remains confident that the defense is improving.
“Our defense has given up 19 points the way I see it, so there’s been a lot of improvement,” Smith said. “When you group everything together, you can get it distorted a little bit. Our defense has given up 19 points the last couple of weeks and I think that’s pretty good. You look around the league, I think that’s a pretty good stat.”
That said, Smith wanted to be clear that he wasn’t satisfied with the performance overall. A defense predicated on takeaways and stopping the run, Tampa Bay had just one interception on Sunday while allowing 186 yards on the ground.
While he’s not ready to panic, Smith knows his defense needs step up in other categories beyond points allowed.
“Defensively, our number one goal is to score, it’s to get three takeaways a game and it’s to be under 30 percent on third downs,” Smith said. “We didn’t accomplish any of that. Our goal isn’t to give up 186 yards (on the ground).”
“But you have to look at the big picture, of how we were in the football game. And that’s where we were. At the same time, I’ve seen a lot worse defensive games being played than what we’ve done the last couple of weeks. There’s a lot of room for improvement still, and we’ll make that. Hopefully it’s this week against Carolina.”
The Texans, in particular Alfred Blue, were able to cross into the second level numerous times on the ground and break off big gains. Their success running kept the Bucs front seven on their heels and in difficult positions to hit gaps.
On Monday during open locker, Lavonte David talked about the defense’s struggles against the run. The weakside linebacker, who recorded 14 tackles on Sunday but also missed a few for losses, assured that all mistakes are correctable.
“We just got done watching film and here were a lot of things we could have done better,” David said. “It’s small things. Once we get that situated, it’s an easy fix. A really, really easy fix. And it’s going to get fixed right away. That’s the thing you can look forward to, everybody more confident. We shouldn’t let that run game get on us like that so we have to do a better job with that.”
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
I’ve seen worst defensive games to Lovie. Like the home opener, and at least 8 other games your defense has played in during your 16 losses as Bucs head coach. I hope for your sake you can clean things up for Carolina, but if your D couldn’t stop Mallett, good luck with Cam. Still looking for that white rino home win. If not this week, it better come against the Jags, or you might never get one. It’s simple as that.
We waste 5th, 6th and 7th round picks in this years draft but can’t spare a 6th for Jared Allen?? PR this is why no one believes them when they say they’ve done all they can to address to the pass rush, it’s bc common sense moves like this show us otherwise.
Limiting TD’s? I saw a stat during the game that said opposing offenses were 8-8 on touchdowns in the red zone. That’s absurd! I got an idea, play some damn press coverage you idiot! Sorry for the language fellow posters. Congrats Lovie, you can stop people from scoring outside the 20 yard line.
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