Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Lavonte David Among Best Two-Way Threats

Lavonte David is one of only four players in the NFL with at least 30 passes defensed and at least 30 tackles for loss over the last four years…And other defensive takeaways from Sunday's game.

In the fourth quarter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, linebacker Lavonte David broke up a Jay Cutler pass intended for Jeremy Langford. It was David's 13th pass defensed of the season, the most among all linebackers in the NFL in 2015. He is the only player at his position to hit double digits in that category through 16 weeks.

Most Passes Defensed, Linebacker, 2015

Player

Team

PDs

  1. Lavonte David

Tampa Bay

13

2t. Kwon Alexander

Tampa Bay

9

2t. D'Qwell Jackson

Indianapolis

9

2t. Luke Kuechly

Carolina

9

5t. Connor Barwin

Philadelphia

7

5t. Derrick Johnson

Kansas City

7

5t. Telvin Smith

Jacksonville

7

5t. Bobby Wagner

Seattle

7

David has been one of the best pass-coverage linebackers in the NFL since he joined the league as a second-round draft pick in 2012. In the four seasons since, he has 31 passes defensed, third-most among all NFL linebackers in that span.

Most Passes Defensed, Linebacker, 2012-15

Player

Team

PDs

  1. Karlos Dansby

MIA/AZ/CLE

36

  1. Luke Kuechly

CAR

35

  1. Lavonte David

TB

31

  1. Daryl Smith

JAX/BAL

29

  1. Connor Barwin

PHI

28

  1. D'Qwell Jackson

CLE/IND

24

7t. DeAndre Levy

DET

22

7t. Alec Ogletree

STL

22

7t. Paul Posluszny

JAX

22

7t. Perry Riley

WAS

22

*David also notched atackle for lossagainst the Bears, giving him nine on the season. That's another calling card in David's game. He needs one more to hit double digits in that category for the fourth time in as many NFL seasons. If he gets that, David would also join Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu asthe only players in the NFL this season with at least 10 passes defensed *and at least 10 tackles for loss**. Mathieu has broken up 17 passes and recorded 11 tackles for loss.

David ranks high on the list of tackles for loss leaders since he entered the NFL, among all defenders, not just linebackers.

Name

Team

Pos.

TFLs

J.J. Watt

HOU

DE

116

Lavonte David

TB

LB

67

Ndamukong Suh

DET/MIA

DT

63

Von Miller*

DEN

LB

61

Michael Bennett

TB/SEA

DE

59

Calais Campbell

AZ

DE

59

Justin Houston

KC

LB

56

Ryan Kerrigan

WAS

LB

53

Robert Quinn

STL

DE

52

Clay Matthews

GB

LB

51

Mario Williams

BUF

DE

51

** Prior to the Cincinnati-Denver Monday Night Football game.

Put those two categories together and you come up with a very short list of some of the most impactful defenders in the NFL. There are only four players who have at least 30 passes defensed *and at least 30 tackles for loss over the last four seasons combined.*

30+ Passes Defensed and 30+ Tackles for Loss, NFL, 2012-15

*

Player

Team

PDs

TFLs

J.J. Watt

HOU

39

115

Karlos Dansby

MIA/AZ/CLE

36

36

Lavonte David

TB

31

66

Luke Kuechly

CAR

35

38

**

In Week 13, David sealed a win over Atlanta with an interception on Matt Ryan's last pass of the game. It was David's third interception in 2015 and the ninth of his career. Incredibly, however, that stands as the only takeaway by the Buccaneers' defense in the last five games combined.

After recording at least one takeaway in 17 consecutive games dating back to the 2014 season (which was the NFL's longest active streak at the time), the Buccaneers' defense has put up four games in five weeks in which it did not snare an interception or recover a fumble. Not coincidentally, the Buccaneers lost all four of those games, including the last three by one score or less. Over the last 10 seasons, Tampa Bay has played 33 games in which it has not produced a takeaway and is 3-30 in those contests.

The Buccaneers have currently played three straight games without producing a turnover. That's just the second time in team history they've gone at least three straight outings without a takeaway. The last time it happened was more than three decades ago in 1984: at New Orleans on Sept. 9, vs. Detroit on Sept. 16 and at N.Y. Giants on Sept. 23. That team did win the middle contest against Detroit.

**

DT Gerald McCoy recorded the Buccaneers' lone sack of Cutler in the second quarter, dropping the Bears QB at Tampa Bay's eight on a third-and-goal play to force a field goal attempt. That gave McCoy 8.5 sacks on the season and put him in position to potentially hit double digits in sacks for the first time in his career. The last Buccaneer to reach that plateau was Simeon Rice, with 14.0 in 2005.

Thanks to that sack of Cutler, McCoy remains tied for the sack lead among NFL defensive tackles over the last four seasons. McCoy has also been to each of the last four Pro Bowls, not surprisingly.

2012-15 NFL Sack Leaders, Defensive Tackles

Player

Team

Sacks

1t. Gerald McCoy

Tampa Bay

31.5

1t. Geno Atkins

Cincinnati

31.5

3. Ndamukong Suh

Miami

27.0

4. Jurrell Casey

Tennessee

25.5

5. Marcell Dareus

Buffalo

25.0

This is not the first time that McCoy has been close to that double-digit sack achievement; he now has at least 8.5 sacks in each of the last three seasons. With just one week to play, McCoy is one of only three players in the NFL who have had at least 8.5 sacks in each of the last three seasons. The others are Houston's J.J. Watt (of course) and Washington's Ryan Kerrigan. In the chart below, we've included four other players who might conceivably join that list before the season is over.

8.5 or More Sacks, Each of Last Three Seasons
(Plus Others With a Chance to Do So)

Player

Team

2013

2014

2015*

Ryan Kerrigan

Washington

8.5

13.5

8.5

Gerald McCoy

Tampa Bay

9.5

8.5

8.5

J.J. Watt

Houston

10.5

20.5

14.5

Justin Houston

Kansas City

11.0

22.0

7.5

Cameron Wake

Miami

8.5

11.5

7.0

Elvis Dumervil

Baltimore

9.5

17.0

6.0

Jerry Hughes

Buffalo

10.0

10.0

5.0

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