Scott Smith brought up a good point about defense on the Salty Dogs Podcast that came out today. Offense was the big story earlier in the season and seeing teams explode for yards, scores and explosive plays. The Bucs weren't exempt from that trend. They currently still own the best passing offense in the league and rank in the top ten in multiple offensive categories. But now as the season has gone on, Smith noted that it's defenses that have made themselves known. This past Sunday night it was the Chicago Bears that held one of the league's best offenses to six points. Quarterback Jared Goff didn't score a single touchdown for the Los Angeles Rams at Soldier Field. Then there was Dallas' performance against New Orleans in. Week 13 that held Brees and company to 127 yards passing. 127 yards. That's ludicrous for an offense that is averaging 263.7 per game even with that outlier performance.
The Bucs followed suit in their loss to New Orleans this past Sunday, holding the Saints to under 200 yards passing again. It was a lower scoring game than I think anyone had pegged and it's because both defenses stepped up. The Bucs had both an interception and strip-sack of Brees. They completely stifled the run in the first half with New Orleans going into halftime down 14-3 with just three measly rushing yards. It begs the question that after all this talk of zone reads, RPOs and college-like offenses, if there isn't still something to the age-old adage that "defense wins championships." I guess we'll have to see at the conclusion of this season.
Holiday Events Galore
The Bucs are spreading holiday cheer all throughout the Bay area, participating in four holiday events yesterday alone. It's the season for giving and many of your favorite players are getting in on the fun.
The Bucs rookies visited Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital to deliver Bucs Build-A-Bears and sing carols to patients.
The Buccaneers Rookie Club continued a tradition that started during the franchise's first season in 1976: visiting the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital to brighten the days of patients spending the holidays in the hospital. They had Buccaneers Build-A-Bears in tow as they visited rooms throughout the hospital, giving a jersey-clad bear to each child they visited. They also sang Christmas carols to the delight of quite of a few children. Jingle Bells was the overwhelming favorite. Vita Vea, Carlton Davis, M.J. Stewart and Jordan Whitehead had their accompanying dance moves down by the end of the afternoon, looking more like an old-time acapella group than hard-hitting defensive football players.
Families took pictures and sang along as the players, cheerleaders and even Captain Fear made their way through the halls, putting smiles on faces and offering holiday wishes.
Some Buccaneers even took the holiday cheer out on the high seas as they set out on a fishing expedition with the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch. The ranch was built to inspire veterans of all conflicts to get out and be active. It's designed to support the physical and emotional needs of all Wounded Warriors with fitness and sports at its core. It includes fishing and hunting expeditions. Buccaneers players including Alan Cross (shocking, I know), Adarius Taylor, Donovan Smith and Cam Lynch were part of the group that joined these warriors on their latest expedition, spending time with veterans and reeling in a few fish.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson continued his Shop with a Jock annual event, taking kids on a holiday shopping spree to get the items on their wish list. Jackson took 35 children from A Kid's Place to Walmart on Tuesday night, as well. A Kid's Place provides foster care and loving homes for abused, neglected or abandoned children in the Tampa Bay area.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and his family hosted 40 Bay area single-parent families for the McCoy Family Christmas. After surprising the families as they were taken on a tour of AdventHealth Training Center, McCoy, through his Patricia Diane Foundation, had secured items from each family's wish list unbeknownst to them and had the presents set up with individual Christmas trees for each family inside the indoor facility. He led each family into the darkened building before flipping on the lights and revealing the tree setup, creating a Christmas-morning-like atmosphere for families that may not have one, otherwise.
There was food and fun, but it was all about family as McCoy and his family continued their annual tradition.