Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Defense On a Feeding Frenzy

Stat Shots: During the Buccaneers' three-game winning streak, the team's defense has put up some of the best numbers in the NFL, topped by a six-sack outing against Seattle.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense on Sunday resembled a shiver of sharks in bloody water, and the unfortunate swimmer was NFL MVP candidate Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson brought a 99.3 passer rating into the Seahawks' Week 12 game at Raymond James Stadium, including a mark of 119.2 over his previous three outings. He had thrown a grand total of two interceptions all season and had been sacked 20 times in Seattle's first 10 games. In a 14-5 victory that represented Seattle's second-lowest point total in any game started by Wilson, the Buccaneers picked off the Seahawks passer twice and sacked him six times.

Those six sacks were a season high for the Buccaneers' defense and their most since hitting that same mark last October 11 in a 38-31 win over Jacksonville. Tampa Bay has recorded four six-sack games on defense in the last four years, all coming in victories. There are now 29 six-sack games for the Buccaneers' defense in franchise history; Tampa Bay is 20-9 in those contests.

Wilson was held to 151 gross passing yards, 101 of those coming in the fourth quarter with the Buccaneers protecting a two-score lead. The Seahawks finished with 118 net passing yards thanks to those six sacks, and they went into halftime with just a single net passing yard. That marked the lowest  net passing yards total allowed in a single half by the Buccaneers since the Houston Texans were held to -3 on Dec. 14, 2003.

A behind-the-scenes look at the Buccaneers' game against the Seahawks.

Those numbers added up to a 38.8 passer rating for Wilson, the second-lowest mark in a single game in his five-year NFL career. It was the lowest single-game passer rating allowed by the Buccaneers' defense since the team held the Buffalo Bills' E.J. Manuel to a 31.2 mark on Dec. 8, 2013.

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and rookie defensive end Noah Spence led the Bucs' sack attack with 1.5 each and they rank first and second on the team in that category, with 6.0 for the former and 5.5 for the latter. McCoy is still looking for his first 10-sack season but he's on pace to surpass eight sacks for the fourth straight season. The last Buccaneer to record at least eight sacks in four straight season was defensive end Simeon Rice from 2002-05. No Tampa Bay defensive tackle has ever posted four straight eight-sack seasons.

According to Statspass, McCoy leads all NFL defensive tackles in sacks since the start of the 2013 campaign.Most Sacks, NFL Defensive Tackles, 2013-16

Player

Team(s)

Sacks

  1. Gerald McCoy

Buccaneers

32.5

  1. Aaron Donald

Rams

26

  1. Jurrell Casey

Titans

25.5

  1. Ndamukong Suh

Lions/Dolphins

25

  1. Geno Atkins

Bengals

24.5

Spence has 3.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in the Buccaneers' last five games. He is tied with Oakland's Khalil Mack and Baltimore's Terrell Suggs for the league lead in forced fumbles since Week Eight. Spence is also just a half-sack behind the rookie leader in that category.Most Sacks, NFL Rookie, 2016

Player

Team

Sacks

  1. Yannick Ngakoue

Jaguars

6.0

  1. Noah Spence

Buccaneers

5.5

  1. Leonard Floyd

Bears

5.0

  1. Joey Bosa

Chargers

4.5

  1. 4 tied with…

3.0

Spence will have to stay hot in order to challenge the Buccaneers' rookie sack record, which was set at 10.0 by Santana Dotson in 2002. However, he's already fifth on that list and is close to moving up several more spots.Most Sacks, Rookie, Buccaneers

Player

Year

Sacks

  1. Santana Dotson

2002

10.0

  1. Adrian Clayborn

2011

7.5

  1. Gaines Adams

2007

6.0

  1. Noah Spence

2016

5.5

  1. Eric Curry

2003

5.0

After combining with McCoy to sack Wilson on the Seahawks' first attempt to pass in the game, Spence got a full sack on the first play of the second quarter. That one came on third down and ended a drive that had just crossed midfield. Spence's big play to start the second period was part of a defensive effort that only allowed one third-down conversion by Seattle in 11 tries. The Seahawks had been held without a conversion in their first 10 attempts before Wilson completed a 17-yard pass to wideout Paul Richardson on third-and-16 on Seattle's last drive.

Seattle's third-down conversion rate for the game was 9.1%, which is tied for the fourth-lowest mark any defense has allowed in a single game this year. It also marked the third time this season that the Buccaneers have held an opponent to a third-down rate of less than 20%; there have only been 20 such games across the entire NFL through 12 weeks. The Buccaneers are the only team to have achieved that feat three teams, and only the Minnesota Vikings have even done it twice.Best Single Game Opponent Third-Down Rate, NFL, 2016

Team

Opp.

Date

Made

Att.

Pct.

  1. Jaguars

Chiefs

Nov. 6

1

14

7.1

  1. Vikings

Texans

Oct. 9

1

13

7.7

  1. Bills

Patriots

Oct. 2

1

12

8.3

4t. Buccaneers

Seahawks

Nov. 27

1

11

9.1

4t. Rams

Dolphins

Nov. 20

1

11

9.1

  1. Cowboys

Browns

Nov. 6

1

9

11.1

7. Buccaneers

Panthers

Oct. 10

1

8

12.5

8t. Cardinals

Jets

Oct. 17

2

13

15.4

8t. Bears

Vikings

Oct. 31

2

13

15.4

8t. Dolphins

Rams

Nov. 20

2

13

15.4

11t. Panthers

Chiefs

Nov. 13

2

12

16.7

11t. Broncos

Falcons

Oct. 9

2

12

16.7

11t. Vikings

Giants

Oct. 31

2

12

16.7

11t. Raiders

Titans

Sept. 25

2

12

16.7

15t. Buccaneers

Bears

Nov. 13

2

11

18.2

15t. Bengals

Dolphins

Sept. 29

2

11

18.2

15t. Giants

Bengals

Nov. 14

2

11

18.2

15t. Eagles

Falcons

Nov. 13

2

11

18.2

15t. Steelers

Jets

Oct. 9

2

11

18.2

15t. Chargers

Jaguars

Sept. 18

2

11

18.2

After the Buccaneers took a 14-5 lead into halftime on Sunday, the Tampa Bay defense pitched a shutout in the second half to preserve the victory. The Buccaneers also shut out Chicago after the intermission in a 36-10 win in Week 10, while allowing Kansas City just a single second-half touchdown in Week 11.

**

The Buccaneers have thus given up a total of seven second-half points in their last three games. That's the lowest point second-half point total allowed by any NFL team in that span, including the clubs that only played two games in Weeks 10-12.Fewest Second-Half Points Allowed, NFL, Weeks 10-12**

Team

Games

Pts. Allowed

  1. Tampa Bay

3

7

  1. Buffalo

2

14

3t. Detroit

2

16

3t. Cincinnati

3

16

5t. N.Y. Giants

3

17

5t. Indianapolis

2

17

Sunday's game marked the first time that neither team scored in the second half of a Buccaneers game since a 14-3 Tampa Bay loss at Atlanta on Sept. 17, 2006.

Obviously, that means that the Buccaneers were able to hold on to a first half lead and win the game. Tampa Bay is 5-2 this season when leading at halftime, but even better when it is ahead after three quarters. The Bucs remained undefeated, 5-0, in games in which they take a lead into the fourth quarter. The last season in which Tampa Bay won every game in which it led after three quarters was 2006, when it was 2-0 in such situations. The Bucs were also 9-0 with a three-quarter lead in 2005.

Tampa Bay's defense allowed only one scoring drive, a 49-yard field goal march in the second quarter, on which the last play from scrimmage came from the Buccaneers' 25-yard line. That was as close to the end zone as Seattle's offense got in the whole game; the Seahawks did not reach the Bucs' red zone once. That's the first time all season that Tampa Bay has not allowed a single drive to cross its 20-yard line. The last time the Bucs held an opponent without a single red zone trip was in last year's 45-17 win in Philadelphia on Nov. 22.

The Buccaneers' three takeaways on Sunday marked the third straight game in which they have secured at least two turnovers. That's the longest streak for Tampa Bay since they did so in four straight games in 2013, from Nov. 17 to Dec. 8. The Bucs have recovered at least one fumble in six games in a row, their longest streak in a single season since 2007, from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30.

Since Week Five, the Buccaneers' defense has forced 18 turnovers, the highest total in the NFL, including two teams that have played eight games in that span to the Bucs' seven. The Bucs' +12 turnover ratio in that span is also tied with Kansas City for the best in the league.Most Team Takeaways, NFL, Weeks 5-12, 2016

Team

Gms.

TAs

GAs

Ratio

  1. Tampa Bay

7

18

7

+11

  1. San Diego

7

15

16

-1

  1. Kansas City

7

14

3

+11

4t. Baltimore

7

13

8

+5

4t. N.Y. Giants

7

13

10

+3

4t. Oakland

7

13

7

+6

  1. Denver

7

12

11

+1

8t. Miami

7

11

4

+7

8t. New Orleans

7

11

11

0

10t. Detroit

7

10

4

+6

10t. Philadelphia

7

10

12

-2

10t. Seattle

7

10

4

+6

Tampa Bay's defense has been particularly strong during the team's current three-game winning streak, ranking among the league's best in a wide variety of categories, such as:

Category

Total

NFL Rank

Takeaways

9

1st

Points Per Game Allowed

10.7

1st

Third Down Pct. Allowed

23.3

1st

Passing Yards Per Game Allowed

180

3rd

Net Yards Per Game Allowed

290.3

4th

Sacks

9

4th

Forced Fumbles

7

1st

Opponent Interception Pct.

5.3

1st

Opponent Passer Rating

63.9

1st

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