Defensive Breakdown: The Falcons

The Buccaneer's defense dominates the Falcons.
The Buccaneer's defense dominates the Falcons. /
The Buccaneer's defense dominates the Falcons.
The Buccaneer's defense dominates the Falcons. /

Before the game against the Falcons, left tackle, Donald Penn made a funny statement regarding the trouble the Buccaneers have had with slow starts.  He said, “It’s good that the game is at four.  We don’t usually start playing until3:30.”  Based on the last game, that appears to be accurate.  The Buccaneers had a strong start to the game and drove down the field with ease.  They established the running game and found success as a unit in stopping the Falcon’s running game.  The defense played their best game thus far of the season, and we got our first look at how well the rookie, Mason Foster, could handle calling the plays for the defense.  Based on his first performance, the young middle linebacker did great.

Where was Michael Turner?

What really surprised me about this game is how well the defense shut down the run.  RB Michael Turner entered Raymond James Stadium this past Sunday with extreme confidence after having a great game against the Eagles defense in week 2.  He ran for 114 yards on 21 carries and caught 1 pass for 32 yards.  Although the Falcons lost their first game of the season against the Bears, Turner still was able to run for 100 yards on 10 carries.  Last time the Buccaneers faced the Falcons, Turner fan for 107 yards on 24 carriers.  Well he wasn’t so fortunate against the “youngry”TampaBaydefense this past Sunday.  Turner had 11 carries for 20 yards!  If that isn’t shutting down a running game, then I don’t know what is!  The Buccaneers forced the Falcons to become one dimensional and made them rely on Matt Ryan’s arm to attempt a comeback in this game.


I’m sure the dirty birds didn’t expect to play this game from behind. Tampahas lost the last 6 games against the Falcons, and it was easy for everyone to assume that they would lose again to the team that was considered the best team in the NFC last season.  The Buccaneer’s defense stole valuable time from the Falcons by forcing punts, and providing their offense the opportunity to maintain control of the clock.  On the final two drives the Falcons had in the first half, the Buccaneers forced turnovers on both drives and maintained their momentum.  A total of three turnovers prevented the Falcons from gaining any confidence in a comeback.  The best accomplishment the defense achieved was holding the Falcons to 3 points for three quarters.   Matt Ryan is known for his fourth quarter comebacks, and was able to start taking strides in that direction.  Unfortunately for the Falcons, the defense kept the Falcons out of the endzone.

A Sack Wasn’t Enough

I’m really happy to see Clayborn finally record a sack.  However, that isn’t all he did on that play.  Clayborn drilled Matty Ice and forced a fumble.  Then he recovered his own fumble.  I’m happy for Clayborn because it’s honestly getting annoying to me constantly hearing about his Erb’s Palsy.  Yes it is a huge part of a beautiful story, but it also feels like an excuse to put the rookie down.  Clayborn may have recorded his first sack this game, but I’ve noticed his growth leading to this point.  I’m very impressed with the rookie from Iowaand 1st round pick, and expect him to continue to grow and provide consistent pressure for the Buccaneers.

Biggers Had A Target on His Back All Day

The entire defense played an impressive game.  Well, at least all but one.  It was so obvious that Matt Ryan was picking on Biggers throughout the majority of the game.  The Buccaneers held the Falcons to only 3 points until the 4th quarter.  When the Falcons started really moving the ball and making a comeback, it was mostly because they kept challenging Biggers to stop passes thrown in his direction.  It’s ironic that Biggers led the team with the most tackles with 9, but that is because of all the passes he failed to stop.  He wasn’t found far out of position, but not in position to force an incomplete pass, therefore putting him in the position to make more tackles.  Although he had a really bad game, he had a fairly strong last couple of minutes of the 4th quarter.  Biggers was a huge contributor in stopping the Falcons final attempts in getting in the endzone.

Bucs D Top 3


Ronde Barber

I love seeing it when Barber reminds us that he still has plenty to offer this young Buccaneer team.  For the 9th time in his career, Barber has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.  He recorded 4 tackles, 1 for a loss, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, and 3 passes defended.

Mason Foster

We can’t ignore that this was his first game where he called the defensive audibles.  This was a concern coming into the season.  With the departure of Barrett Rudd, the Buccaneers coaching staff saw Quincy Black as the best fit for taking on such a task.  Unfortunately, Black was injured recently, forcing the rookie into a tough position.  Foster was very active in making adjustment, and should receive a great deal of credit for contributing in holding the Falcons to a total of 30 yards rushing.

The Entire Defensive Line

The D-line also deserves a great deal of credit in stopping the run.  Not only did they do well against the run, but they took advantage of the Falcons weaker offensive line and provided consistent pass rush.  The Buccaneers recorded 4 sacks and hit Ryan.