Behind the scenes photos from the Bucs' matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
Despite falling to 1-3 this past weekend, the Bucs' defense is, and has been, playing at a very high level.* *Through four games, the Buccaneers boast the league's ninth-ranked defense, based total yards allowed. Tampa Bay has given up 1,289 total yards so far this season, or 322.3 yards per game.
The team has played their best football against the pass, allowing 742 yards, tied with the Jets for the third-fewest of any team. Only Denver (741) and Tennessee (584) have allowed fewer yards in the air. It's worth noting, though, that the Titans were on a bye last weekend.
When factoring in passing yards per game allowed, the Bucs are tied with the Jets for No. 2 in the league, just two-tenths of a yard behind the Broncos.
Tampa Bay's pass rush has certainly factored into the equation, as well. The Buccaneers have picked up nine sacks so far, tied for the ninth-most in the league, and through three weeks, defensive end Jacquies Smith led the NFL in sacks.
Smith was surpassed by DeMarcus Ware this past week, who pushed his total to 4.5 sacks. He is tied with Houston's J.J. Watt and Detroit's Ezekiel Ansah for the second-most sacks in the league with four. Gerald McCoy is also atop the league's rankings; his three sacks are tied for the second-most among defensive tackles.
The Bucs have also been productive in forcing opportunities for turnovers; they lead the league in forced fumbles with eight. On Sunday, Tampa Bay will take on a Jacksonville offense that's ranked 16th in total yards, 20th in passing yards and 18th in rushing yards at Raymond James Stadium, their final game before their bye week.