The Buccaneers' starting front seven is back for 2020. With the signing of free agent Ndamukong Suh, Tampa managed to retain all three of their impending free agents that made a huge impact as starters last season. Suh was especially important in helping to anchor a rushing defense, along with Vita Vea up front and linebacker Lavonte David, that ranked first in the league.
The Bucs' defense allowed an average of just 73.8 yards on the ground per game. They were also able to shut down some of the league's most notorious ground gamers. In Week Two, for instance, they held Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey to just 37 yards rushing. Proving it wasn't a fluke, they did it again four weeks later in London, when they stopped McCaffrey at 31 yards on the ground. They also limited the league's rushing leader in Tennessee's Derrick Henry enough to show up on the below list of the best run-stopping performances by the Bucs defense last season. Can you guess what the best one was?
10. Week 3 vs. NYG: 72
The Bucs limited running back Saquon Barkley to just 10 rushing yards in the first half before he would exit the game early with an injury.
9. Week 8 @ TEN: 72
Tampa Bay held the league's number one rusher in Derrick Henry to one of his lowest ground totals of the season.
8. Week 16 vs. HOU: 68
The Bucs harassed mobile quarterback Deshaun Watson not only in the ground game but to the tune of five sacks on the Houston signal caller.
7. Week 14 vs. IND: 66
The one-dimensional attack from Indy due to the Bucs limiting the Colts' ground helped the Bucs to a victory at home.
6. Week 6 vs. CAR: 59
Despite the loss, the Bucs shut down running back Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers' ground game for the second time in 2019 while playing overseas in London.
5. Week 12 @ ATL: 57
The Bucs stopped the Falcons from getting anything going on the ground and sacked Atlanta quarterbacks six times – Matt Ryan was pulled after the fifth.
4. Week 13 @ JAX: 49
Running back Leonard Fournette was rendered ineffective by the Bucs' front seven, holding him to 38 yards on 14 attempts.
3. Week 15 @ DET: 45
Lavonte David was all over the Detroit run game and registered nine combined tackles in Detroit, including two for loss, and forced a fumble.
2. Week 2 @ CAR: 39
The first inkling that the Bucs would have a stifling run defense: they shut down Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who gained just 53 total yards, only 37 of which were on the ground. For context, McCaffrey was coming off a season opener that saw him record 209 all-purpose yards, 128 of which were on the ground.
1. Week 4 @ LAR: 28
No one was doing a lot of running in this game where the Bucs broke the franchise record for most points scored in a single game with 55. Running back Todd Gurley gained just 16 yards on five carries.