Key Takeaways from Buccaneers at Ravens

S Jordan Whitehead, No. 31, LB Riley Bullough, No. 49 and LB Lavonte David, No. 54
S Jordan Whitehead, No. 31, LB Riley Bullough, No. 49 and LB Lavonte David, No. 54

-Linebacker Lavonte David had a career day in the cold, wet rain. He led the team with 12 combined tackles, 10 of which were solo. He also recovered the 13th fumble of his career yesterday, passing Ronde Barber for sole possession of the franchise record for most fumble recoveries. And David still wasn’t done. He had not one, but two sacks on Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, bringing his season total to 3.5. David has been on fire since returning from an MCL injury he suffered in Week 10. He rejoined the team in Week 13 in the Bucs win over Carolina and Sunday was his third consecutive game with double-digit tackles. Three of his 3.5 sacks have come in that span, as well. His performance drew some high praise from Head Coach Dirk Koetter following the game.

“Lavonte was fantastic today,” Koetter said. “His double-digit tackles, two sacks, calling defense…Lavonte was fantastic.”

-David’s performance was made even more impressive given the conditions. The Bucs were a little out of their element in the 42-degree weather that felt colder. The continued downpour didn’t help, either. It made the ball slippery, as evidenced by an uncharacteristic drop on quarterback Jameis Winston’s first pass of the game to wide receiver Chris Godwin. The ball just simply slipped from Godwin’s grip even though the ball was right on the money. It stung a little bit more because the safety that was defending Godwin had fallen down, ensuring a major gain had he caught the ball. But the weather delayed either team from getting their footing early. The entire first quarter went scoreless as each team’s drives were stalled on uncharacteristic plays.

The second drive the Bucs saw another slip as the ball went in and out of Mike Evans’ hands. It was a contested ball but nine out of 10 times, Evans catches it because of his sheer size. It was perfectly placed above the defender’s head and just simply slipped through Evans’ fingertips.

Baltimore couldn’t get anything going due to some good pressure by the Bucs’ defense. It took them until their third drive to get a first down and the possession ended with a fumble by quarterback Lamar Jackson, which was the aforementioned play of David’s that earned him another spot in the Bucs’ record books. The Bucs capitalized on the turnover, getting into the end zone on a ground-and-pound drive from running back Peyton Barber, who ended up punching it in from three yards out.

-Speaking of the ground game, the Ravens run game was as advertised. Running back Gus Edwards rushed for 104 yards on 19 carries, though most of his yards came in the second half. The Bucs did a good job shutting down the fourth-ranked rushing attack in the first half but unfortunately couldn’t hold. Quarterback Lamar Jackson got in on the action as a major contributor, as expected, too. Jackson had 95 net rushing yards on 18 carries, after taking two sacks a couple kneel downs to end the game. He really rushed for over 100. Two-headed monster, indeed.

-An overlooked part of the Ravens success is what the ground game does for their time of possession, which aids in controlling the game. Baltimore had three drives over seven minutes yesterday. Their longest drive game in the second quarter and lasted over eight minutes. The last drive of the game, they got the ball with 7:08 left and were able to take the clock all the way down, never giving the Bucs another chance in the one-score game. Yeah, they only won by one score, but with how much they had the ball, it almost seemed like they were up more. They had a total edge of 37:10 to 22:50 over the Bucs and total control of the game as a result.

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