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Lavonte David Inflates Impressive Career Totals

Data Crunch: Now in his 12th season, LB Lavonte David continues to produce numbers that rank among the top defenders in the NFL and in Buccaneers franchise history

lavonte david data crunch

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Detroit Lions, 20-6, on Sunday to lower their 2023 season record to 3-2. With the other three teams in the NFC South all suffering Week Six losses as well, the Buccaneers remain in first place in the division. Tampa Bay has held at least a share of the NFC South lead for 38 of the past 39 in-season weeks, a streak that began in Week 4 of the 2021 campaign.

Head Coach Todd Bowles described the game as one in which his squad played tough but made too many mistakes and possibly came out somewhat "sluggish" after its bye week. The end result was the Buccaneers' lowest scoring output since a 21-3 loss at Carolina in Week Seven of last season, though the Tampa Bay defense did hold Detroit's high-powered offense to nearly 10 points below it's per-game total coming into the contest.

The Buccaneers obviously aren't celebrating their second loss of the season, and with the offensive power outage there weren't many statistical achievements to highlight, either. However, there were some individual performances of note, including a 12-tackle outing by linebacker Lavonte David that also included two tackles for loss, a sack, a quarterback hit and a pass defensed. David is the first NFL defender to put together that combination of stats since Arizona safety Budda Baker in Week 16 of the 2021 season.

David, a second-round draft pick by the Buccaneers in 2012, has now recorded 26 career games with a dozen tackles or more. That's the third most by any defender over that span.

Most Games with 12+ Tackles, NFL, 2012-23

  • 1. Bobby Wagner, Seattle/L.A. Rams: 41
  • 2. Luke Kuechly, Carolina: 28
  • 3. Lavonte David, Tampa Bay: 26
  • 4. Foyesade Oluokun, Atlanta/Jacksonville: 22
  • 5. C.J. Mosley, Baltimore/N.Y. Jets: 20

David turned in one of the Bucs' most critical defensive plays late in the first quarter, when Detroit's lead was still just 3-0. On third-and-one from the 50-yard line, Lions quarterback Jared Goff went for a big play down the right sideline, lofting a deep pass to tight end Sam LaPorta. David matched LaPorta stride for stride and was able to swipe the ball out of his hands at the last second.

That marked the 60th pass defensed of David's career. That is the second most among all linebackers currently active in the NFL.

Most Passes Defensed, NFL, Active Linebackers

  • 1. Bobby Wagner, Seattle/L.A. Rams: 65
  • 2. Lavonte David, Tampa Bay: 60
  • 3. Eric Kendricks, Minnesota/L.A. Chargers: 52
  • 4. C.J. Mosley, Baltimore/N.Y. Jets: 50
  • 5. Demario Davis, N.Y. Jets/Cleveland/New Orleans: 49

David's two tackles for loss increased his impressive career total to 148. That ranks fifth among all active players in the NFL, regardless of position.

Most Tackles for Loss, NFL, Active Players

  • 1. Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams: 168
  • 2. Calais Campbell, Arizona/Jacksonville/Baltimore/Atlanta: 167
  • 3. Von Miller, Denver/L.A. Rams/Buffalo: 164
  • 4. Cameron Jordan, New Orleans: 152
  • 5. Lavonte David, Tampa Bay: 148

When an NFL player records a sack, he is also credited with a tackle for loss unless it is a strip-sack in which the quarterback fumbles the ball but does not go to the ground. That means that star pass rushers always dominate the leaderboard for tackles for loss. David is the only active player in the top 10 in that category who does not also have at least 70 career sacks.

However, David does now own 31.0 career sacks, which is the most in team history by a player who was not either an edge rusher or an interior defensive lineman.

Most Sacks, Buccaneers History

Table inside Article
Player Pos. Seasons Sacks
Lee Roy Selmon DE 1976-85 78.5
Warren Sapp DT 1995-2003 77.0
Simeon Rice DE 2001-2006 69.5
Gerald McCoy DT 2010-18 54.5
Shaquil Barrett OLB 2019-23 41.5
David Logan DT 1979-86 39.0
Chidi Ahanotu DT/DE 1993-2000;04 34.5
Brad Culpepper DT 1994-99 33.0
Jason Pierre-Paul DE/OLB 2018-21 33.0
Lavonte David LB 2012-23 31.0

David's strong outing on Sunday helped the Buccaneers hold Detroit's rushing attack, which ranked seventh in the NFL prior to Week Six with 141.0 yards per game, to just 40 yards on 22 carries. That's the Lions lowest output on the ground since Week Six of the 2021 season. Detroit's 1.8 yards per carry was its lowest average in a game since Week 11 of the 2016 season.

Tampa Bay's defense gave up touchdown passes of 27 and 45 yards, both of which came on long third downs. That was obviously the winning edge for the Lions. However, the Bucs' defense continued to be extremely stingy in the red zone. The Lions had two other possessions that got inside Tampa Bay's 20-yard line but came away with just two field goals. Prior to the Monday night game between Dallas and the Los Angeles Chargers, the Buccaneers have allowed the lowest touchdown rate on defense in the red zone this season.

Lowest Red Zone Touchdown Percentage Allowed, NFL

Table inside Article
Team Opp RZ Drives TDs Allowed Pct.
Tampa Bay 13 3 23.1%
Baltimore 16 4 25.0%
Tennessee 23 7 30.4%
Buffalo 20 7 35.0%
N.Y. Jets 19 7 36.8%

Second-year punter Jake Camarda, who was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month in September, continues his outstanding season. Against the Lions he punted six times and yielded a gross average of 54.2 yards per pick and a net average of 45.3. He currently ranks first in the NFL with a gross punting average of 53.5, nearly two yards per attempt better than Tennessee's Ryan Stonehouse. Camarda's efforts against the Lions included punts of 63 and 66 yards, and he has now exceeded 60 yards on eight different punts this season. In contrast, the longest kick by an opposing kicker against the Bucs this year is 58 yards. As a rookie, Camarda set a single-season franchise record with 15 punts of 60 or more yards, breaking the previous mark of six by Josh Bidwell in 2008.

Defensive lineman Will Gholston played in his 158th NFL game on Sunday, all of them with the Buccaneers. That moved him into a tie with Ring of Honor member Mike Alstott for the eighth most games played in franchise history. Gholston, who has played in more Buccaneers contests than any other defensive lineman in team annals, is just two behind former center Tony Mayberry for the seventh most.

Rookie tight end Payne Durham played in his first regular-season NFL game on Sunday. He also snagged his first career reception, an eight-yarder in the first quarter.

View the top photos of Tampa Bay's Week 6 matchup vs. the Detroit Lions.

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