Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Dominating Opponents on the Ground

The Bucs may have lost for the first time in three weeks on Sunday but they continued to dominate their opponent in one critical area: rushing yardage.

Behind-the-scenes photos of the Buccaneers vs. Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 29th.

Tampa Bay's offense gained 132 yards on the ground in Indianapolis while allowing the Colts rushing attack to pick up just 27 yards. That marks the eighth straight game in which the Buccaneers have out-rushed their opponent; in four of those eight contests, the Bucs have had a positive differential of more than 100 yards in that particular category. Overall, Tampa Bay has had more rushing yards than its opponents in nine of 11 games so far, and only one team in the NFL has won that battle more often.

Most Games with a Rushing Yardage Advantage, NFL, 2015

Team

Gms.

Overall W-L

  1. Carolina

10

11-0

2. Tampa Bay

9

5-6

  1. Arizona

8

9-2

4t. Atlanta

7

6-5

4t. Buffalo

7

5-6

4t. Cincinnati

7

9-2

4t. Green Bay

7

7-4

4t. Minnesota

7

8-3

4t. Pittsburgh

7

6-5

4t. Seattle

7

6-5

It is likely not a coincidence that the list above includes some of the NFL's most successful teams this year. Eight of the 10 teams on the list have winning records, and the two exceptions (including the Buccaneers) are not far behind. Those 10 teams have a combined winning percentage of .655 (72-38).

No team has had as many games with a lopsided edge in rushing yards as the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has already posted four games this season in which it had at least 100 more rushing  yards than its opponent, including the last two. There have only been 35 such games in the entire NFL this year, and no other team is on the list four times. The Jets are the only other team that even has three such outings. Only the Jets, Dolphins and Buccaneers have pulled off that feat in two consecutive games this year.

The Bucs have 415 rushing yards in their last two games, compared to 163 for their opponents (Philadelphia and Indianapolis). That's a 252-yard advantage that isn't even the best two-game stretch the Buccaneers have had in that category this season. In their fifth and sixth games of 2015, the Buccaneers out-rushed Jacksonville and Washington by a combined 268 yards (273-105). The Bucs are the only team to have two separate, non-overlapping two-game runs with a rushing advantage of 250 yards or more this year. Here are the top five two-game streaks in that category in the NFL this year (note that the two Jets' streaks are overlapping, both including the same big outing against Washington).

Team

Yds.

Games

Opponents

  1. N.Y. Jets

335

4-5

MIA, WAS

  1. Miami

294

5-6

TEN, HOU

  1. Tampa Bay

269

5-6

JAX, WAS

  1. N.Y. Jets

260

5-6

WAS, NE

  1. Tampa Bay

252

10-11

PHI, IND

The 2015 Buccaneers have a chance to be one of the most dominant rushing teams in franchise history, in terms of how much better it has been than its opponents. The Bucs have currently won that battle in nine of 11 games, as mentioned, meaning they can do so in a maximum of 14 games this year. The team record is 13 such performances, by the 1999 team. Only five Buccaneer squads have hit double digits in that category: 1999, 1998 (12), 2000 (11), 1979 (10) and 1988 (10). The Buccaneers have already tied the 1979 and 1998 teams with four games in which they have out-rushed their opponents by 100 or more yards.

Photos from Buccaneers vs. Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Tampa Bay's defense completely shut down the Colts' rushing attack, allowing just 27 yards on 26 carries, with a long of seven. Only four of Indianapolis' 26 carries gained as many as four yards, or four of 23 if one excludes QB Matt Hasselbeck's three kneel-downs at the end of the game. Only three of those 23 runs came with the Colts leading by more than one score.

The 27 rushing yards allowed by the Buccaneers was the 12th fewest in a single game in team history. It is the fewest rushing yards Tampa Bay has ever allowed in a game in which its opponents carried more than 25 times. Here are those top 12 games:

Opp.

Date

Att.

Yds.

Avg.

Outcome

MIA

11/11/13

13

2

0.1

W, 22-19

WAS

12/4/94

12

10

0.8

W, 26-21

CAR

9/9/12

13

10

0.8

W, 16-10

GB

12/26/99

12

12

1.0

W, 29-10

LAA

12/19/93

23

17

0.7

L, 27-20

DET

9/17/00

10

17

1.7

W, 31-10

ATL

10/20/13

18

18

1.0

L, 31-23

OAK

11/4/12

11

22

2.0

W, 42-32

MIN

10/18/87

17

23

1.6

W, 20-10

AZ

11/4/07

12

23

1.9

W, 17-10

DET

9/7/97

12

24

2.0

W, 24-17

IND

11/29/15

26

27

1.0

L, 25-12

As the rightmost column of that table suggests, rushing defense as good as what the Bucs had on display in Indianapolis is usually associated with victory. Those 27 yards allowed on the ground are the third-fewest ever by Tampa Bay in a loss.

The Buccaneers allowed 1.04 yards per carry on Sunday in Indy. That's the seventh-lowest average allowed in a single game in team history. A chart displaying the top 10 games would be quite repetitive with the one above. Noteworthy, however: That's the lowest yards-per-carry total the Bucs have ever allowed in a game in which its opponents ran it at least 25 times.

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