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Carlton Davis Continues Fast Start to 2020 Season

Carlton Davis is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions while fellow Buccaneers CB Jamel Dean continues to rack up passes defensed at an incredible rate…Also, Mike Evans ties another franchise record

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In what would eventually be a one-point loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night in Week Five, the Buccaneers scored on the game's opening possession, driving 54 yards to set up Ryan Succop's 39-yard field goal. Later in the quarter, the Bears were threatening to take the lead, with a first down at Tampa Bay's 36-yard line.

Quarterback Nick Foles threw deep down the right sideline to Allen Robinson, but Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis was in tight coverage and he managed to throw a hand in the way, tipping the ball up in the air. Davis then snatched the deflection and ran the interception back 34 yards to midfield. Tom Brady and the Bucs' offense would use that great field position to drive for the game's first touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

The Bucs actually pushed that lead to 13-0 before the Bears rallied for a 14-13 halftime lead and then won 20-19 after several field goal exchanges in the second half. Tampa Bay couldn't hold on after its fast start on that particular night, but there doesn't seem to be any end in sight for Davis's own fast start to his third NFL campaign.

Prior to the Monday night games, Davis is tied for the NFL lead with three interceptions.

NFL Interception Leaders, 2020

Table inside Article
Player Team INTs
Carlton Davis Buccaneers 3
Pierre Desir Jets 3
Xavien Howard Dolphins 3
Kendall Fuller Washington 3
11 tied with 2

Davis is the first Buccaneer in a decade to have three interceptions within the first five games of a season. The last Tampa Bay player to do so was Aqib Talib in 2010. Davis is also sixth in the NFL with six passes defensed, and he's the only player in the league with at least six passes defensed and at least three tackles for loss.

NFL Passes Defensed Leaders, 2020

Table inside Article
Player Team PD TFL
James Bradberry Giants 9 0
Jessie Bates Bengals 7 1
Shaquill Griffin Seahawks 7 0
Jaylon Johnson Bears 7 0
Denzel Ward Browns 7 0
Carlton Davis Buccaneers 6 3

While he didn't join Davis in the pick party, cornerback Jamel Dean did log four passes defensed against the Bears. Incredibly, this marks the fourth time in the last 14 games, dating back to the 2019 season, that Dean has recorded four or more passes defensed in a single contest. Passes defensed became an officially tracked statistic in 2000, and in the two decades since no player has had more games with four or more of them in a single game in his first two seasons more often than Dean.

Most Games with 4+ Passes Defensed, First Two NFL Seasons (Since 2000)

Table inside Article
Player Teams Games
Jamel Dean Buccaneers 4
Marcus Peters Chiefs 4
Jalen Ramsey Jaguars 3
Bashaud Breeland Washington 3

While Davis and Dean were patrolling the secondary, outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul was leading the charge into the Bears backfield, recording one of the Buccaneers' three sacks of Foles on the evening. Pierre-Paul now leads the Bucs and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 4.0 sacks in 2020. In just 31 games since joining the Buccaneers in 2018, he already has 25.0 sacks, which is the 11th-most in team history and just one behind Greg Spires for 10th place. Only two players in franchise history have reached 25 sacks as a Buccaneer faster than Pierre-Paul, who got their in his 31st game with the team.

Fewest Games to Reach 25 Sacks as a Buccaneer

Table inside Article
Player Seasons Games
Simeon Rice 2001-06 28
Lee Roy Selmon 1976-84 29
Jason Pierre-Paul 2018-20 31
Warren Sapp 1995-2003 52
Broderick Thomas 1989-93 60

Pierre-Paul reached the 25-sack mark early in his third season as a Buccaneer despite missing the first six games of 2019 due to an offseason neck injury. He has recorded at least one sack in six of the Bucs' last seven games and has a total of nine QB takedowns in that span. Both Pierre-Paul and teammate Shaquil Barrett are among the top 10 in the NFL in sacks since the start of 2018.

Most Sacks, NFL, 2018-20

Table inside Article
Player Team(s) Sacks
Aaron Donald Rams 40.5
Chandler Jones Cardinals 33.0
T.J. Watt Steelers 32.0
Myles Garrett Browns 29.5
Danielle Hunter Vikings 29.0
Cameron Jordan Saints 28.5
Chris Jones Chiefs 28.0
Za'Darius Smith Ravens/Packers 27.0
Shaquil Barrett Broncos/Buccaneers 25.5
Jason Pierre-Paul Buccaneers 25.0

Tampa Bay's rush defense was also strong in Chicago, holding the Bears to just 35 yards on the ground. That marks the third straight time that the Buccaneers have held an opponent below 50 rushing yards, after allowing 42 to Denver in Week Three and 46 to the L.A. Chargers in Week Four. This is the first time in team history that the Buccaneers have held three straight opponents below 50 rushing yards.

The touchdown that resulted from the Davis interception in the first quarter was scored by wide receiver Mike Evans on a two-yard catch. Evans has scored in every game this season and has a streak of six straight games played with at least one touchdown catch. That extends his Buccaneers record and also ties the team record for consecutive games with at least one touchdown of any kind scored.

Most Consecutive Games with a Touchdown, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Games Dates
RB Ernest Graham 6 Nov. 4 - Dec. 16, 2007
WR Mike Evans 6 Dec. 8, 2019 - Oct. 8, 2020
RB Mike Alstott 5 Dec. 26, 1999 - Sept. 17, 2000
RB Errict Rhett 5 Sept. 24 - Oct. 22, 1995
RB Reggie Cobb 5 Sept. 27 - Nov. 1, 1992
RB Gary Anderson 5 Sept. 11 - Oct. 9, 1983
RB James Owens 5 Sept. 11 - Oct. 9, 1983
RB Ricky Bell 5 Nov. 9, 1978 - Sept. 23, 1979

Evans' run of touchdowns in 2020 has made it necessary to update the chart below every week. The Bucs receiver is tied for the second most scoring receptions since he entered the league in 2014 and he is inexorably creeping up on the dormant player at the top of the list.

Most TD Receptions, NFL, 2014-20

Table inside Article
Player Teams(s) TDs
Antonio Brown Steelers/Patriots 60
Mike Evans Buccaneers 54
DeAndre Hopkins Texans/Cardinals 54
Odell Beckham Giants/Browns 51
Davante Adams Packers 46

Evans is also inching closer to the Buccaneers' all-time record for touchdowns scored. Including a score on a fumble recovery in the end zone in 2018, Evans has 55 career touchdowns and is now just 16 behind Mike Alstott for the top spot on the list.

Most Touchdowns Scored, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Seasons Rush TD Rec. TD Ret. TD Total
Mike Alstott 1996-2007 58 13 0 71
Mike Evans 2014-20 0 54 1 55
James Wilder 1981-89 37 9 0 46
Jimmie Giles 1978-86 0 34 0 34
Kevin House 1980-86 0 31 0 31

Finally, Evans' six touchdown catches so far in 2020 are tied for the NFL lead, heading into the Monday night games of Week Five.

NFL Touchdown Reception Leaders, 2020

Table inside Article
Player Team(s) TDs
Mike Evans Buccaneers 6
Adam Thielen Vikings 6
D.K. Metcalf Seahawks 5
Mark Andrews Ravens 5
Robert Tonyan Packers 5

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