Buccaneers: Running game coming alive at perfect time

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Just when they need it most, the running game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is coming to life. This development will pay off in dividends for the Buccaneers.

In the NFL, the power of a strong rushing attack is timeless. Year after year, a strong running game is what survives late in the season when teams are cold and banged up. That doesn’t mean a team should run it fifty times per game, they just need to be effective when doing so. There’s a quality over quantity aspect to it, and it stands the test of time.

The Bucs proved this in 2020 when Leonard Fournette evolved into “Playoff Lenny” then eventually his final form of “Lombardi Lenny” helping Tampa Bay win its second Super Bowl in franchise history. Strong running games can make up for a weak passing attack, such as how the Tennesee Titans and San Francisco 49ers have been winning the last couple of years, but the opposite isn’t true. You have to be able to eventually run out the clock with a lead. It’s why the “Run and Shoot” offense has become a thing of the past, despite the current NFL’s pass-happy, and pass-friendly, status.

During the Buccaneers’ week twelve victory over the Indianapolis Colts, the rushing game helped win the day. Tom Brady was fine, but far from his best self, throwing for 226 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, completing 25 out of 34 passes. Rob Gronkowski turned back the clock though while the other pass catchers on the Bucs failed to make much of an impact.

The story is the Buccaneers’ running game though.

Ronald Jones carried the rock seven times for 37 yards, but added his second touchdown in as many games, while the aforementioned Fournette rushed 17 times for 100 yards and three touchdowns, adding of course one through the air. However, his final touchdown jaunt that ultimately won the game had to be seen to be believed.

24 carries from the top two backs, with one Chris Godwin carry and two Brady runs thrown in. Simple and effective. You don’t have to run it a million times, but when you do it has to be effective, ideally with multiple backs sharing the load. Luckily, that’s exactly what is happening for the Bucs before our very eyes.

The Buccaneers’ running game is coming alive and paired with the fact that the team is getting healthy, means that they are very well-equipped to make yet another deep playoff run, with some help from that Brady guy of course too.

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