The Bucs played a hard fought game on Saturday, taking the Houston Texans down to the wire with one of their better defensive performances of the season. But eventually, turnovers came back to haunt the Bucs, who had five on the game, in a 23-20 loss.

After being tied at the half and again tied going into the fourth quarter, the Bucs found themselves down 23-20 and in possession of the ball at their own 10 yard line with 2:21 remaining and a chance to tie or take the lead. However, three plays after the two-minute warning Jameis Winston threw his fourth and final interception of the game that sealed it for the Texans.

These were out most impressive performances amidst the loss.

LB Lavonte David
David was the catalyst for a Bucs’ defense that came firing out of the gates right away. Sparked by a big hit on Will Fuller at the end of the first quarter, David was all over the field making play after play. David forced two fumbles in the first half (though only one of them counted because of an early whistle by the refs). David continued to perform well in the second half making plays in both the run and pass game and another big time tackle, this time on star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. David played like someone who should be in the Pro Bowl, on the way to a team-best 10 tackles and a forced fumble.

OLB Jason Pierre-Paul
The Bucs defensive front provided a good amount of pressure on the mobile Deshaun Watson that forced him to run around more than he wanted to. When the Bucs were able to take Watson down for a sack, it was often Pierre-Paul wrapping him up. Pierre-Paul was the best pass rusher for the Bucs on Saturday, notching three sacks on the afternoon in an overall solid effort by the entire defensive line. Pierre-Paul had four tackles, three sacks, and three tackles for loss in arguably his best game of his shortened season.

CB Carlton Davis
Davis’ stat line was five tackles, but the stat line of Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins was just five catches for 23 yards, and that’s a win for any cornerback trying to guard him. Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the game, and Davis’ ability to cover Hopkins and limit his productivity was important for the defense.

RB Ronald Jones
Jones had the longest run of his career with a 49 yard rush in the first quarter that sparked the Bucs offense. He later punched in a touchdown in the second quarter that cut the Bucs deficit to 17-10. It was tough sledding for Jones after that, but a big part of that had to with the offensive lines inability to create space for him, so Jones picked it up in the passing game as a receiver. Jones finished the game with 77 yards on 14 carries and one rushing touchdown along with three receptions for 32 yards.

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
In his young career, the rookie corner has shown the ability to make his imprint on a game one way or another, whether it be by instinct or luck. Murphy-Bunting was involved in a number of plays in the game, which included a pass deflection and his first career sack, which was also a forced fumble on the play. Murphy-Bunting had a busy game with four tackles, one sack, and one pass deflection.

WR Breshad Perriman
The Bucs were going to need someone to step up with top receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin out for the game and it was Perriman that answered the call. Perriman’s most impressive play came late in the game not long after he caught a ball for a first down and got his bell rung. After returning to the game, Perriman made a very difficult sideline reception where he was able to control the ball and also tap both feet in bounds all while stopping the clock. Perriman finished the game with seven receptions for 102 yards.

CB Jamel Dean 
With momentum starting to get on the Bucs side in the first half, Dean capped it off with a big interception that he returned for 31 yards and put the offensive in good field position where they eventually scored a touchdown. Dean had one tackle, one pass breakup and one big time interception in the game.

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  1. This young secondary has continued to impress. Its kind of crazy how much they’ve gotten better since they dumped Hargreaves. Who was completley invisible outside of one tackle.
    Id love to see jpp back next year on a nice 2 year deal. Hes good for this teams energy and hes still got the talent to rush the passer.
    All levels of the defense played great today, and completely shut down the texans offense. This loss wasn’t on them.
    Good to see rojo get his big gain, but the second half, we couldn’t do much on the ground.

    Rating: +36. From 38 votes.
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  2. This draft class is starting to look really strong for Licht. No it doesn’t make up for some of the failures during his tender, but I really do see progress with this team. They are competitive and cohesive. The defensive backfield is really growing. I think we need more depth at safety and a DB in free agency, but the progress is undeniable. I feel like there has been a ton of progress this year. If they can add depth to the lines, sign the dline free agents and somehow…..somehow eliminate these 4int games from Jameis next year, there’s no doubt this is a playoff team. They did every thing possible to lose, had unbelievably bad blown calls by the refs yet again, missed kicked, terrible special teams and still had a chance to win it. Crazy and heart attack waiting to happen but let’s carry this squad into next year with a few upgrades and depth. In Bruce I trust.

    Rating: +31. From 35 votes.
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    • I think it shows what’s possible when coaches and scouts are in sync. Licht & Bowles have built a defense before in AZ and they are on their way again. Need similar home runs in the pass rush and OL next draft

      Rating: -1. From 1 vote.
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  3. I hff ave no issues with anyone’s play except winston. The team played their hearts out. Many impressive players today.

    Rating: +25. From 33 votes.
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  4. Take away the one 49 yd carry, Rojo had 13 more carries for 28 yards; I wouldn’t call that impressive, nor his catching skills.
    He was neither impressive or disappointing; he was just one of the many players on the field who really didn’t make much difference in the game.

    Rating: -20. From 30 votes.
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    • Why take away the carry? He did that himself. I hate that argument cause you are trying to downplay how he played for some reason. How about we take away those 4 interceptions from Winston? Or the fumble by Barber? Why take away a good run but leave those

      Rating: +31. From 31 votes.
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  5. I see improvement from Rojo. His 49 yard run was impressive.

    Rating: +17. From 19 votes.
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    • Yes it was,but not worthy of being impressive.

      Rating: -16. From 24 votes.
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  6. Most impressive…..when was the last time we finished better than last in our division? 2nd place with a new system both offensively and defensively is pretty impressive to me. Next year a healthy JPP on opposite side of Shaq Barrett, Vea and Suh should make the CB’s jobs a whole lot easier. I know we have to resign all but Vea. Draft for best available player and see what happens.

    Rating: +11. From 15 votes.
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  7. Had to be impressed with the entire defensive line. Once again stuffing the run. If not for Watson’s ability to escape the pass rush, the Texans (what an unimaginative name) would have had virtually no rushing yards.

    Impressed most with the resilience of this team. No longer do they cower in the face of adversity. What I saw is a team that totally dominating an opponent headed to the play-offs. Giving up five tun-overs, terrible field position and having the worst officiated game go against them on at least three instances and still be in a position to pull out a victory was encouraging.

    Rating: +13. From 13 votes.
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  8. Let’s face it the DB’s have turned their season around by 180 degrees. What was once a glaring weakness is now a strength.
    If only we had this defense at the beginning of the season we would be going to the circus.

    Rating: +5. From 7 votes.
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  9. I admit that I was not a fan of the SMB pick. He however is looking like a very good pick now. I also think Dean is playing just on his athletic ability right now, so IMO his ceiling is very high.

    Rating: +2. From 4 votes.
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