Sean Murphy-Bunting hitting his stride for Buccaneers

Sean Murphy-Bunting, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Murphy-Bunting, Tampa Bay Buccaneers /

After a very rough start to his NFL career, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting is finally playing at the level he was drafted to play at for the Buccaneers.

The secondary for the Buccaneers has had many highs and lows throughout the 2019-2020 season and there has been a large learning curve for the 2019 rookie class. The rookies have had their moments playing at a high level but have also had their share of questionable moments. The Bucs had a very soft defense for most of the decade but this rookie class is looking to change the narrative on that.

Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was the second Buccaneer rookie taken in the draft behind Devin White and is integral to the future of the Buccaneers and their defense. The Bucs have been hurting for a corner who makes big time plays in the moments that count and it appears that they have found that in SMB.

In an incredibly important game that would allow the Buccaneers to reach .500, the Bucs started to lose their momentum in the second half and allowed a depleted Lions team back into the game after starting out with a substantial lead. With the Lions driving yet again it appeared that the momentum had fully shifted to Detroit and the Buccaneers’ second half woes that plagued them the entire season would resurface.

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As the moment seemed darkest, Sean Murphy-Bunting stepped up when it matter most and picked off David Blough and returned the interception for a touchdown effectively stopping the transfer of momentum. This play likely ended up being the most important of the game for the Bucs as it was never close again after this and SMB showed the moment was not too big for him.

This interception brings SMB up to three on the season, tied for the most of any rookie, and he also has ten passes defended. These interceptions are a welcomed sight for Buccaneers fans as they have often struggled in creating turnovers in the previous seasons. Assuming SMB can continue at this rate of production, the Buccaneer secondary will only continue to improve as he gains more experience and can become a true shutdown corner that the Bucs have so desperately needed.

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Murphy-Bunting is still a rookie and even though he has exceeded expectations this season it should still be remembered that he is a rookie and growing. Mistakes will be made and and it will still take time for SMB to smooth some of the kinks out of his game. Regardless of the experience, SMB has shown that he is capable of getting the ball in his hands and it was the right decision to move on from Vernon Hargreaves and allow the rookies their chance to shine.