Buccaneer Breakdown: Defense
By Patrik Nohe
While the offense was out having a field day yesterday afternoon the Buccaneers defense had a solid showing of its own. I’m a realist, I’m not going to BS you all by saying this was a fantastic performance. The Seahawks rank just 28th in offensive yardage in the NFL (dead last in the run) and their starting quarterback went down with an injury at the beginning of the game. Not to mention they were facing a team coming cross-country on the second longest road trip possible in the NFL.
But the Bucs did manage to shut them down, which is what a good defense is supposed to do to a sub-par opponent. The Bucs were able to stop Charlie Whitehurst (the guy the Seahawks traded a second round pick for in the hopes he would succeed Matt Hasselbeck) completely, holding him to just 66 yards on 18 attempts.
On the day the Buccaneers allowed just 172 yards and never let the Seahawks gain much offensive traction. If I were Seattle I’d be a little bit concerned that an injury-racked Bucs secondary could so thoroughly bottle up the passing game. It would be one thing if he was throwing against Aqib Talib and either of the Bucs starting free safeties, but he wasn’t. And this Bucs secondary still kept him from accomplishing anything.
Marshawn Lynch was the Seahawks best option to move the ball, gaining 53 yards on 14 carries, though 29 of that came on one run. For the most part the Seahawks couldn’t get much going on the ground either, despite going up against an injury-racked front seven.
If anything it was impressive that the Bucs backups were able to handle the Seahawks so well. The lone scores on the day came on a scramble from Matt Hasselbeck and a 16 yard draw by Seminole-alum Leon Washington. There are small nit-picky complaints you can make here and there, and I’m sure the coaching staff has plenty of things to address, but it was all in all a pretty solid day for the Bucs D.
Geno Hayes gets the defensive MVP for yesterday afternoon, he led the team with eight tackles and two sacks. His sacks were most impressive, they came within three plays of each other. He tracked Charlie Whitehurst across the field and corraled him for his first sack, then a couple plays later he brought him down again on a delayed blitz. Barrett Ruud, playing in what may prove to be his last home game, had five tackles and a sack as well. Frank Okam played well along the line, recording six tackles in his second game as a Buc, the game was probably especially meaningful for him after being cut by Seattle earlier this very season.
It wasn’t a banner day, let’s be frank, the team they just played wasn’t exactly an offensive powerhouse. But they still managed to take care of business, it’s a good game to build on. But hardly a statement.