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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TJ's 3 Takeaways from TB-CIN


1) Improved Play by the DB's

On the very first play against the Bengals on Sunday, it was again made obvious just how much better the secondary has been playing. When Johnthan Banks picked off Andy Dalton (and returned it to the Cincy 10-yard line), it marked the second time in three games that the Bucs had an INT on the first play of the game. Alterraun Verner and rookie Brandon Dixon also came down with first half picks in Buccaneers territory that kept the Bengals from potential points. All told, the Tampa Bay defense now has seven interceptions since the bye week and clearly the needle is pointing up on the defense grasping the scheme and their responsibilities.

2) Great to See Doug Run with Authority

For the entire first half, we saw the Doug Martin of 2012 re-emerge. He ran with authority, broke tackles and was on the verge of the "home run" carry on several occasions. One of the biggest keys was that the offensive line was opening lanes for him to scoot through. Obviously, those have been few and far between on a consistent basis this season and a reason that the Bucs' run game has struggled as a whole. Martin averaged almost five yards per carry in the first half and scored his second TD of the season. This was definitely something that we have all been watching to see.

3) Finally, Guys Stepping In and Stepping Up

Whether it was LB Danny Lansanah filling in for Lavonte David, Oniel Cousins being asked to frequently come in as an extra blocker and go in motion like a tight end, or young safety Bradley McDougald seeing increased playing time and making plays all over the field, the Bucs continue to get solid contributions from lesser-known players. Lansanah had 13 solo tackles and three tackles for a loss. As Head Coach Lovie Smith said on Buccaneers Radio on Monday night, it is not just simple to move from one linebacker position to another and have that kind of game. It's a testament to Danny's film study, how hard he has worked to learn all three LB positions and ultimately his ability to put it all together on Sunday. Rookie Brandon Dixon stepped up and got his first career interception, outdueling A.J. Green in the end zone no less! And even reserve LB Orie Lemon was making plays on defense and flattening PR Adam Jones on special teams. The coaching staff has to be pleased that down the stretch, they have been getting the most out of the entire roster.

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