Bucs linebacker Lavonte David was thrilled with the news that defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was named as Bruce Arians’ successor.

“I love it,” David said. “Love the move. [Arians] did a great thing putting the right guy in front. I think everybody’s going to love him. Everybody is going to get to know him.”

While David loves Bowles’ promotion, he didn’t like the way the Bucs’ season ended. Neither did Bowles, who was accountable for his failed zero blitz call at the end of Tampa Bay’s 30-27 playoff loss to Los Angeles.

During Tuesday’s media session, David joined his new head coach in being accountable. Some of the Bucs defenders were late to blitz and David was caught flat-footed. With 28 second left, Matthew Stafford hit Cooper Kupp with a 44-yard gain to set the Rams up in field goal position.

“There were a lot of moving parts,” David said. “I wasn’t expecting them to go no-huddle at that moment. But it was one of those moments where you’re trying to make sure everybody gets the call. Guys are running all over the place and you’re trying to make sure people are getting it. On those type of things you have to make sure everybody is on the same page. There are a lot of communication aspects of that type of defense. Them hurrying up to hike the ball caught us off guard. I just kind of got caught standing, looking lost. But it was just an unfortunate situation.”

David Was Rooting Against The Rams In The Super Bowl

The fact that the Rams went on to beat the Bengals and win Super Bowl LVI three weeks later stung David and the Bucs.

Bucs ILB Lavonte David

Bucs ILB Lavonte David – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“It was tough,” David said. “Obviously, I hope they would’ve lost the Super Bowl. There was a lot of hatin’ going on from my side. But you have to move on. Once football season was over and everything was done and no more football I was able to calm down. I couldn’t see it anymore. I was able to calm down and get back to work and build myself back up to be at this point right now.”

Tampa Bay trailed Los Angeles 20-3 at halftime and 27-3 in the third quarter before getting four second-half takeaways, including a key fumble recovery by David. That keyed a second-half comeback and allowed the Bucs to tie the game at 27-27 with 42 seconds left.

Not only did the Bucs lose to the Rams in heartbreaking fashion in the divisional playoffs, they’ve lost three straight games to Los Angeles over the last two years. Losing the way they did – with the defense on the field – will drive David and Co. this offseason.

“It’s big motivation – huge motivation,” David said. “Because I feel like we (the defense) kind of got us back in that game. Then for us to end the game like that – that’s not what we want to be remembered as. We have the majority of our guys coming back again, so we’re going to have to take another huge leap this year. That taste is definitely going to be in our mouth for awhile. I believe we play them in the regular season. Not say we’re going to circle that game, but it’s a game that is obviously going to be very important.”

The 2022 NFL schedule will come out after the draft. But we already know the Bucs will host the Rams for a third straight season. You can believe that David and Tampa Bay’s defense will circle that game.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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2 months ago

This rams/Bucs rivalry reminds me of how we couldn’t beat the Eagles late in the 90’s-2000’s, they seemed to have our number. We all know how that turned out ( thanks, Ronde), they are the hurtle we need to overcome, but you know what they say about payback. PS, I semi blamed Lavonte for not blitzing in a comment on that final play, looks like I was wrong, so many moving parts in football, most fans like me really don’t know what they are talking about.

2 months ago


2 months ago

Stafford had all day to pass during that game. I could have sworn he was, wating tables back there. Which brings me to my regular lament here, Good Defense Wins Championships. And the Rams rattled Brady all day. We did not do the same for Stafford. Better get a better Defense Bucs. Or we will be ..conveinantly blaming Bowles once again. Teams are gonna be better prepared for Brady this year. We are gonna need a Defensive edge. We don’t have it right now.

Reply to  twspin
2 months ago

Yes pass rush sucked all year. I doubt will be better this year unless they add something. Hence the too many blitzes that exposed our crappy CB’s.