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5 Key Takeaways from Lions vs. Bucs

Posted Dec 11, 2017

LB Lavonte David continues to be contributor No. 1 to Tampa Bay’s defensive takeaway effort and the Bucs’ ground game continues to develop in loss to Lions.

1. Chris Godwin is showing his value
The rookie receiver out of Penn State led the team in receiving yards with 68, catching five passes on Sunday. Godwin has been a clutch performer all year despite limited reps. Exhibit A: he was a key component in the game-winning field goal for the Bucs in Miami. Consecutive completions for Jameis Winston came on two catches by Godwin, one for 14 yards to the Miami 44-yard line and another for 24 yards, setting the Bucs up right at the Miami 20. He is averaging 13.0 yards per reception this season, with that 24-yard reception against the Dolphins as his season-long. Godwin wasn’t the only receiver getting work either, with Bucs’ quarterback Jameis Winston spreading the ball around to 11 different receivers against the Lions on Sunday, including left tackle Leonard Wester for a big-man touchdown late in the game.

2. Defense still creating takeaways
The Bucs’ defense recorded three takeaways in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Lions. Although the offense couldn’t quite capitalize, the last interception by cornerback Robert McClain did prevent almost-imminent points for Detroit as the Lions were threatening to score before the half expired. Tampa Bay’s defense has now recorded 53 takeaways, the second-most takeaways since the beginning of last season. They also have the fourth-most interceptions in that same time frame with 29. Cornerback Brent Grimes made a spectacular leaping interception in the second quarter prior to McClain’s to give him 20 since 2013, tied for a league-best.

3. LB Lavonte David continues his fumble factory
Linebacker Lavonte David is a fumble machine. The first of the defense’s three takeaways came on a forced fumble by David. He recovered, too. He now has five fumble recoveries on the season, the most in a single season in Bucs history. His five forced fumbles are the most by a Buccaneer in a single season since 2007, when Stylez G. White had seven. David’s 11 career fumble recoveries tie him for second all-time and his 17 forced fumbles are tied for third all-time. He has had the most fumble recoveries among current players since the 2011 season, tied at 11 with Houston’s J.J. Watt. The Bucs overall have forced the most fumbles (29) and recovered the most fumbles (24) in the league spanning back to the beginning of last season.

4. The run-game continues to develop as Bucs have second strong outing
The Buccaneers recorded 133 total rushing yards on 28 plays for an average of 4.8 yards per rush. Running back Doug Martin scored his third rushing touchdown of the year in his first game back from injury. He split time with running back Peyton Barber, who led the team in rushing yards for the second straight week, nabbing 58 yards on 12 carries. The longest rushing play of the day came as quarterback Jameis Winston faked the handoff to Barber but instead gave it to DeSean Jackson on the backside who took it for 23 yards. It was the second straight game for Tampa Bay with over 100 yards rushing and the fourth such game this season.

5. The Bucs defense cannot get to the passer
It was a major topic of conversation as Head Coach Dirk Koetter took the podium following the game on Sunday: the Bucs need to be better about sacking the quarterback. Tampa Bay failed to register a sack on the fourth-most sacked quarterback in the league. Detroit had allowed 39.0 sacks of quarterback Matthew Stafford prior to Sunday’s game, ranking them 28th in sacks allowed. The defense did get a few hits on Stafford, getting to him a total of three times and defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. registering two of the three. The Bucs’ defense also held the Lions to just 53 yards rushing, forcing Stafford to throw 71 percent of the time on Sunday.