Heading into the Bucs Week 12 showdown against the Colts, the heralded matchup was the Bucs run defense vs the Colts rushing attack. But on Sunday, the matchup was extremely one-sided through most of the game. Indianapolis attempted to get Jonathan Taylor going early in the run game, but to no avail. Taylor had just eight carries for 25 yards at halftime, and Nyheim Hines added one for three yards.

“Yeah, I mean nobody runs the ball on us,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said. “I don’t care who the hell you are. I mean you are going to end up throwing it. Because if you’re going to run it all day, you’re not going to get much. [Well], they did that last drive. We were a playing pass defense a little bit and they ran it on us. But I’ll take our run defense versus anybody’s run offense anytime.”

Bucs NT Vita Vea

Bucs NT Vita Vea – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

At one point in the third quarter, the Colts had dropped back on 26 straight plays. Some of those were run-pass options that became throws due to how the Bucs were playing up front. Tampa Bay wanted to dare Colts quarterback Carson Wentz to beat them. Wentz nearly delivered, throwing for 306 yards and three touchdowns. The veteran quarterback also turned the ball over three times, but only one was his fault.

Taylor did finally get going on the Colts penultimate drive of the game. The second-year back got his first carry of the second half with around ten minutes left in the final quarter. Taylor erupted to life, rushing for 58 yards on eight carries during the drive. The former Wisconsin back capped the effort in the end zone to tie the game at 31-31. But the Bucs deployed plenty of light boxes, expecting the Colts to throw the ball more.

“No, we were playing six-man box a lot and playing pass coverage,” Arians said. “They did a good job of sticking with the run. We really didn’t think they would stick with the run.”

When the Bucs geared up to stop the run, it wasn’t pretty for Indianapolis. Taylor finished the game with 82 yards and a score on 16 carries. Respectable numbers, but ultimately it was the Colts who fell short, losing 38-31.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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1 month ago

Yes, the key point for those who weren’t paying attention…………….Bucs Win! Who cares if it wasn’t always perfect. Let’s not think had the Colts decided to run the ball more it would have been a different outcome. The “stubborn” Bowles would have deployed the defense differently. I doubt we expected the Colts to go pass happy and let Jonathan Taylor stew on the bench for much of the game.

Thought we’d hear from Big Sombrero.

1 month ago

Jon has a good insight on the game, when he mentions that of those 27 straight dropbacks by Wentz in the second half, a large proportion were run pass option and the Bucs front seven literally took away the run option. Also of note, the Bucs committed only 4 penalties for 44 yards, and only one pre-snap penalty. So they definitely cleaned up that part of their game. Of course, the whiners supporting the Colts (6 penalties for 66 yards) complain that they got gashed by the refs on DPIs … as if the Bucs were not victimized repeatedly in… Read more »

Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

the penalties have reduced a lot over the last two games and thats huge for keeping the offense and defense on the right track. Especially with all the back ups that are playing this year.

1 month ago

I guessed in prediction thread 75 yards for Taylor I was off by 7 yards. Lol. I certainly didn’t see playoff Lenny getting 4 TD’s! He and Gronk were running guys over and breaking tackles all game! Was awesome! My score prediction of 31-20 wasn’t as close. They did exactly what Dallas did and abandoned the run. That’s good nobody can run. It’s not good we can’t stop anyone passing and have to out score. If Davis ever comes back that will certainly help but so many drop backs Wentz had 4 or 5 seconds to Throw. Just glad we… Read more »