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Ageless Lavonte David Stacking Tackles

Data Crunch: In his 12th NFL season, David is producing tackles at a rapid rate and is closing in on a Hall of Famer on one list…Plus, Mike Evans climbs another rung on an all-time NFL ladder

data crunch

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped a third straight decision in Week Eight, losing 24-16 to the Buffalo Bills in a prime-time Thursday night tilt. The Bucs rallied twice, first from down 10-0 to a 10-10, then again in the fourth quarter, scoring one touchdown to make it 24-16 then just missing on a last-second 'Hail Mary' attempt to win it.

Tampa Bay's defense gave up 427 yards but produced the game's only takeaway and was once again stingy in the red zone. Linebacker Lavonte David continued to lead the charge, racking up a game-high 14 tackles. That marked the third game in a row that David had recorded at least a dozen tackles. Complete tackle data is available beginning in the 1987 season, and since then David is the only Buccaneer to have a streak of at least three games with 12-plus tackles. He's one shy of his own team record in that category.

Longest Streaks of 12-Plus Tackle Games, Bucs History (1987-2023)

  1. Lavonte David: 4, Sept. 28-Oct. 26, 2014
  2. Lavonte David: 3, Oct. 15-Oct. 26, 2023

David now has 28 career games with at least a dozen tackles. That's the second most in the NFL among all active players.

Most Games with 12-Plus Tackes, NFL, Active Players

  1. Bobby Wagner, Seahawks/Rams: 42
  2. Lavonte David, Buccaneers: 28
  3. Foyesade Oluokun, Falcons/Jaguars: 23
  4. C.J. Mosley, Ravens/Jets: 21
  5. Roquan Smith, Bears/Ravens: 19

Unsurprisingly, one of David's 14 stops was a tackle for loss, giving him a team-leading seven on the season. That increased his career total in that category to an even 150. David has the fifth-most tackles for loss among all active NFL players, and the four men above him are all edge rushers who get a majority of their TFLs on sacks.

Most Tackles for Loss, NFL, Active Players

  1. Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams: 170
  2. Calais Campbell, Arizona/Jacksonville/Baltimore/Atlanta: 167
  3. Von Miller, Denver/L.A. Rams/Buffalo: 164
  4. Cameron Jordan, New Orleans: 152
  5. Lavonte David, Tampa Bay: 150

Already one of the most accomplished players in franchise history, Davis is closing in on a Hall of Famer on the Bucs' all-time tackles list. His recent surge of 39 stops in the last three games has put him over 1,400 for his career, within striking distance of Rondé Barber's career total.

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Seasons Tackles
Derrick Brooks LB 1995-2008 2,198
Rondé Barber CB 1997-2012 1,428
Lavonte David LB 2012-23 1,411
Hardy Nickerson LB 1993-99 1,028
Shelton Quarles LB 1997-2006 985

Davis is the Buccaneers' longest-tenured player, having been drafted in the seventh round in 2012. The second player on that list is defensive lineman Will Gholston, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2013. Gholston was responsible for the only takeaway by either team in Thursday's game, when he hauled in a pass that had been deflected by blitzing safety Antoine Winfield Jr. That proved to be Gholston's first career interception, and it occurred in his 160th regular season game played.

In a strange coincidence, former defensive lineman Steve McLendon also got his first career interception in his 160th career game while playing for the Buccaneers. Gholston and McLendon (and Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas) are tied for the seventh most games played in NFL history before they recorded their first career interception. Here's the list, with the career game number in which the player got his first pick and the team he was with at the time indicated:

  1. Trace Armstrong, Raiders: 201
  2. Randy White, Cowboys: 185
  3. Anthony Pleasant, Patriots: 176
  4. Greg Kragen, Panthers: 165
  5. Art Still, Bills: 164
  6. Joe Nash, Seahawks: 163
  7. Will Gholston, Buccaneers: 160
  8. Steve McLendon, Buccaneers: 160
  9. Derrick Thomas, Chiefs: 160

Through eight weeks of the 2023 season, the Buccaneers lead the NFL in turnover differential, at plus-eight and are tied for third in total takeaways, with 14.

Best Turnover Differential, 2023 Season

  1. Tampa Bay: +8
  2. Pittsburgh: +7
  3. Cincinnati: +7
  4. L.A. Chargers: +6
  5. Dallas: +6

Most Takeaways, 2023 Season

  1. Jacksonville: 18
  2. Pittsburgh: 15
  3. Tampa Bay: 14
  4. Buffalo: 14
  5. Five tied with: 13

Buffalo took its first offensive possession of the game down to the Buccaneers' 19-yard line but was forced to settle for a field goal after a strong open-field tackle by rookie safety Christian Izien against Stefon Diggs on third down. The Bills' next drive got all the way down to the one-yard line but ended without points when cornerback Jamel Dean batted away a pass intended for tight end Dalton Kincaid on fourth-and-goal. Dean had another pass breakup later in the contest, marking the ninth time in his career he's had multiple passes defensed in the same contest.

Buffalo had two more trips into the Bucs' red zone in the game and scored touchdowns on both of them. Still, the Buccaneers continue to have the NFL's best red zone touchdown percentage allowed in 2023. Tampa Bay's mark of 27.3% is just a bit more than half of the league average of 53.9%.

Table inside Article
Team Opp RZ Drives TDs Allowed Pct.
Tampa Bay 22 6 27.3%
Tennessee 26 9 34.6%
Baltimore 20 7 35.0%
N.Y. Jets 22 8 36.4%
Atlanta 19 8 42.1%

The Bucs' offense produced two touchdowns on Thursday night, with wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin each snaring scoring passes. That marked the 13th time since Godwin entered the league as a third-round draft pick in 2017, that he had Evans had caught touchdown passes in the same game. Evans has been the Buccaneers' all-time leader in touchdown receptions for quite some time, but Godwin's most recent score moved him up a pair of lists. Godwin is now tied for third in Bucs history in touchdown receptions and tied for fourth in overall touchdowns.

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Seasons Rec. TDs
Mike Evans WR 2014-23 86
Jimmie Giles TE 1978-86 34
Chris Godwin WR 2017-23 33
Cameron Brate TE 2014-22 33
Kevin House WR 1980-86 31

Most Touchdowns Scored, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Seasons TDs
Mike Evans WR 2014-23 87
Mike Alstott FB 1996-2006 71
James Wilder RB 2017-23 36
Chris Godwin WR 1978-86 34
Jimmie Giles TE 1978-86 34

In addition to his touchdown receptions, Evans scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone in 2018. Godwin's additional touchdown was a rush in 2021.

Evans' latest foray into the end zone bumped him up yet another notch on the NFL's all-time list for receiving touchdowns. He had entered the top 20 with his 85th TD catch and is now tied for 17th. Evans has five touchdown catches in seven games this season, and as he continues to find the painted grass, he will move quickly up that list.

NFL's All-Time Leaders in Touchdown Receptions

17. 86: Mike Evans, Jimmy Graham^

16. 87: Andre Reed*

15. 88: Don Maynard*

14. 90: Davante Adams^

13. 91: Isaac Bruce*

12. 92: Rob Gronkowski

* Pro Football Hall of Famer

^ Active player

Godwin finished Thursday's game with 54 yards on five catches, marking the 14th time in his last 15 games that he has recorded at least five receptions and at least 50 yards. He's done it in six of seven games this season and is tied for the second most such contests in the NFL. Evans is tied for sixth in the NFL with his five scores.

On special teams, punter Jake Camarda continued his strong sophomore season on Thursday night, averaging 50.8 gross yards on six punts, with two dropped inside the 20 and a long of 63. He has now had at least one punt of 60 or more yards in six of the Bucs' seven games. For contrast, no opposing punter has yet to hit a single 60-yard punt against Tampa Bay this season. Camarda leads the NFL in gross punting average through eight weeks.

Best Gross Punting Average, 2023 Season

  1. Jake Camarda, Tampa Bay: 52.5
  2. Ryan Stonehouse, Tennessee: 51.8
  3. Michael Dickson, Seattle: 51.1
  4. Bryan Anger, Dallas: 51.0
  5. Ryan Wright, Minnesota: 50.3

To add perspective to Camarda's kicking prowess so far this season, the Bucs' single-season record for gross punting average is 48.8, which he set last year in his rookie season. Prior to that it was 45.9, by Bryan Anger in 2016.

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