The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have scored just 14 points off turnovers in the last two games, both narrow losses. All of those points have come courtesy of a Lavonte David forced fumble and a Lavonte David fumble recovery.
David pulled off that two-part play in Arizona on October 15, stripping the ball from running back Adrian Peterson and then picking it up and running 21 yards for a touchdown. That was part of a furious fourth-quarter rally that ultimately came up short in a 38-33 loss to the Cardinals. On Sunday in Buffalo, David knocked the ball out of the grasp of LeSean McCoy, then recovered it at close to midfield. The Buccaneers would take that possession and turn it into the go-ahead score, a 12-yard Mike Evans touchdown catch that made it 27-20 with 3:14 to play in the game. However, Buffalo would counter with 10 points in the remaining time and win, 30-27.
A behind-the-scenes look at the Buccaneers' Week 7 matchup with the Bills.
The Buccaneers played two games without David due to an ankle injury, and he was definitely missed. Prior to his injury, David also recovered a fumble while blitzing Chicago quarterback Mike Glennon, finishing the play started when Noah Spence stripped Glennon on a sack. The Buccaneers turned that turnover into a touchdown, as well. That means that David fumble recoveries have accounted for three of the five touchdowns the Buccaneers have logged off turnovers so far this season.
Overall, David has accounted for three of the Bucs' six forced fumbles and all but one of their four fumble recoveries. He now has 15 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries since entering the NFL in 2012, numbers that rank among the best in the entire league in that span.
Most Forced Fumbles and Fumble Recoveries, 2012-17
|1. Robert Quinn||LAR||18||1. J.J. Watt||HOU||11|
|2t. Von Miller||DEN||17||**2t. Lavonte David**||**TB**||**9**|
|2t. Cameron Wake||MIA||17||2t. D'Qwell Jackson||CLE/IND||9|
|4t. Carlos Dunlap||CIN||16||2t. Julius Peppers||CHI/GB/CAR||9|
|4t. Ryan Kerrigan||WAS||16||5t. Mike Adams||DEN/IND/CAR||8|
|**6t. Lavonte David**||**TB**||**15**||5t. Fletcher Cox||PHI||8|
|6t. Cliff Avril||DET/SEA||15||5t. Rob Ninkovich||NE||8|
|6t. Chandler Jones||NE/AZ||15||5t. Craig Robertson||CLE/NO||8|
|6t. Charles Tillman||CHI/CAR||15||9t. Morgan Burnett||GB||7|
|6t. J.J. Watt||HOU||15||9t. Cameron Jordan||NO||7|
|11. Charles Johnson||CAR||11||9t. Darrelle Revis||NYJ/TB/NE||7|
David and Houston's J.J. Watt are the only players to land in the top 10 in both categories since 2012. It's also worth noting that the NFL's leaders in forced fumbles since 2012 are almost exclusively edge rushers who force many of their turnovers in the backfield. David and former Chicago and Carolina cornerback Charles Tillman are the only exceptions to that rule.
As for the recoveries, David has been on a tear since the start of 2015. His seven fumble recoveries in the past two seasons are the most of any NFL player.
David's takeaways have helped the Buccaneers stay in contention in a series of games that have featured both offenses moving the ball with relative ease. The Buccaneers' offense has exceeded 400 yards in each of the past four games, tying for the longest such streak in franchise history. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay opponents have reached the 400 yards mark in the last three games and four of the last five.
This marks the first time that the Buccaneers have played three straight games in which they both gained and allowed 400 yards. They are also the only team to be involved in such a streak in the NFL since 2012, when the New Orleans Saints had three consecutive 400-400 games from Sept. 30 to Oct. 21. Coincidentally, the Buccaneers were involved in the last of those three games, a 35-28 shootout win for the Saints on Oct. 21, 2012. The Saints, in fact, won two of the three games during their streak; the Buccaneers haven't been as fortunate, dropping all three.
Odds and Ends:
- DT Gerald McCoy played in his 100th regular-season NFL game on Sunday in Buffalo. McCoy is the 40th player to appear in 100 games as a Buccaneer, and the first to join the list since four players – Andrew Economos, Adam Hayward, Davin Joseph and Donald Penn – all did so in 2013.
- McCoy has started every game in which he's played, which means he also reached the 100-starts plateau on Sunday. That's a more exclusive group in franchise history, as he is just the 19th player to start 100 regular-season games in a Buccaneer uniform. With 10 games left in the season, McCoy could move as high as 11th on the team's all-time games started list. Jimmie Giles is 10th at 112 starts and Chidi Ahanotu is 11th at 109. Among players who saw regular-season action for the Buccaneers only, McCoy ranks 10th all time with his 100 starts.
- Sunday's game marked just the second time in 42 seasons that the Buccaneers have played a regular-season contest in Buffalo. Their first game in Buffalo was eight years ago, a 33-20 loss in 2009. Even after their most recent loss, the Buccaneers have an all-time record of 7-4 against the Bills. Despite that, Buffalo is one of five teams against which Tampa Bay is still looking for its first road win. That list also includes Houston, Jacksonville, the New York Jets and Tennessee, although the Buccaneers have won a road game in the Jets' venue, against the Giants.
- Kicker Patrick Murray was called on to attempt just a single extra point in his 2017 debut at Arizona in Week Six. However, in the second game of his second stint with the Buccaneers, Murray attempted five placekicks in Buffalo and made them all. He was true on all three of his PATs as well as field goals of 50 and 25 yards. Coupled with his numbers from 2014, when he spent the entire season as the Buccaneers' kicker, Murray has now made 22 of 26 field goal tries for Tampa Bay (84.6%) and all of his 35 extra point tries. Murray's 50-yard kick was his sixth successful try in seven attempts from 50 and beyond as a Buccaneer. Among all kickers in franchise history who have tried at least five field goals from that distance, Murray is the most accurate, at 85.7%. Martin Gramatica had the most 50+-yard tries in franchise annals, making 15 of his 24 attempts.