One of the things that needed to change on Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to avoid further disaster was how the defense was playing. For most of this season it's been the defense keeping the team in games, but the unit absolutely imploded last Sunday in Houston.
It was a problem for everyone, including head coach Todd Bowles who came under fire for how he called the game defensively. Rather than bring pressure like he usually likes to do, Bowles went soft and the result was C.J. Stroud's fifth touchdown of the game -- one that came with less than ten seconds left.
Sunday was a total script flip.
Tampa Bay absolutely smothered the Titans, holding Derrick Henry to 24 yards on 11 carries while allowing just six points. All Tennessee could muster up was two field goals, as the Buce defense brought down Will Levis four times while recording 13 total quarterback hits and 10 tackles for loss.
It was a complete shift away from where the defense was sliding over the last few weeks, and it was noticed by some of tkey members of the unit.
Devin White praises Todd Bowles for fixing Buccaneers defense
Earlier in the week Devin White gave a quote that some took as a potential shot at Bowles and the way he was calling the defense. White talked about how he was personally proud of his play, but seemed to question how everything else was going.
White not only backed up his personal praise but made sure to mention how meaningful the week was for the defense specifically because of the way Bowles chose to challenge the locker room. I
That seems like classic Bowles, as it's the most laid back way to rattle the cage of guys who need to regain some focus. White and the rest of the defensive leaders couldn't have looked worse against hte Texans, but they all stepped right back up in ways Bowles knew they could against Tennessee.
Lavonte David, who started last week strong before falling off in uncharacteristically bad ways, finished Sunday with five total tackles and two tackles for loss. Zyon McCollum started in place of an injured Carlton Davis III and finished tied with David in tackles, while Jamel Dean made his return by also recording five tackles.
The pass rush came to life in ways we haven't seen in a while as well. Rookies Calijah Kancey and Yaya Diaby were wrecking balls, combining for four tackles for loss and a sack, while Shaq Barrett got to Will Levis for a sack as well. White and Vita Vea accounted for the other two sacks on the afternoon as the Bucs defense came back to life in a way that might have saved the season.
All of that goes back to Bowles, who has been heavily criticized by fans over the four game losing streak. For all the noise outside of the locker room, it sounds like the guys inside the building heard what they needed to and Bowles deserves as much credit for the Sunday turnaround as he does criticism for the downward spiral that preceeded it.