Mike Edwards’ two pick-6s stole the show for the Bucs defense on Sunday, overshadowing another game-changing play. Backup defensive tackle Rakeem “Nacho” Nunez-Roches’ huge third down stop turned the tides in the second half for the Bucs.
Leading by three early in the fourth quarter, Nunez-Roches made a clutch tackle to stop Cordarrelle Patterson on third-and-1 from the Falcons’ 10. The play ended up going for a three-yard loss, but more importantly began a trickle-down effect. The Bucs took advantage of good field position to add another touchdown and take a 10-point lead with under ten minutes left in the game. Edwards’ touchdowns sealed it over the next few minutes.
While the plays by Edwards were the highlights, the one thing that won’t ever be overshadowed is the energy that Nunez-Roches brings to the Bucs on a daily basis.
“He brings it every single day, all day long,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “That’s one thing about Nacho, he isn’t going to shut up in practice either. He’s bringing it all day long and that’s what I love about him. And talking on the sideline, he’s always got that energy. He’s not going to let anybody get down.”
‘Nacho’ has become a fan favorite in his three seasons with the Bucs due to his positive energy. He’s brought it on the field, too. It’s not just the big third down stop that’s gotten the attention of fans. Nunez-Roches was an important part of the Bucs defensive line last season, filling a role when Vita Vea was out for most of the year. Whenever the Bucs have needed more from Nunez-Roches as a run defender, he’s consistently stepped up.
“He played really good,” Arians said. “He played lights out. Vita is Vita, but Nacho’s one heck of a player, too. There wasn’t a heck of a lot of drop off.”