2016 hasn’t been the best season of Lavonte David’s career, but he’s still one of the most important players on the Buccaneer defense. His numbers aren’t as crazy as many are used to, but he still ranks fourth on the team in tackles (57), while leading in forced fumbles (four). After playing a big part in Tampa Bay’s upset of Seattle, he will need to continue to lead the defense into the final stretch of the season.
Melvin Gordon’s importance in this game can’t be overstated. It will be up to David to stop him. Of course, he will have help from guys like Kwon Alexander and the front four, but no. 54 can really make a huge difference if he plays up to his normal standards. He is capable of making some big plays, as evidenced by his forced fumble and recovery last Sunday. If he can make a play like that in this week’s matchup, it would be a major plus for the Tampa Bay defense.
The defense has come up with some turnovers at key moments in the last few weeks, which has made it so successful. David is a master of creating turnovers. In 73 career games, he has forced 12 fumbles, recovered five and intercepted nine passes. If he can come up with a turnover this Sunday, or even if he just plays a part in stopping Gordon, the Bucs’ defense will be well on its way to another strong performance.