Panthers - Buccaneers: Top 5 Defensive Plays

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 13: A cheerleader of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers performs during the game against the Houston Texans at Raymond James Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

This is an all-Da'Quan Bowers post, with a small contribution by Adrian Clayborn. Why? Because no one else on defense really made a play on Sunday. Meanwhile, Da'Quan Bowers was all over the field, blowing up tight ends and offensive linemen to make tackles for loss, get sacks and even defense a pass.

Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn sack Cam Newton
2-12-CAR 18 (:44) (Shotgun) C.Newton sacked at CAR 15 for -3 yards (sack split by D.Bowers and A.Clayborn)

While this sack is split, it really is made by Da'Quan Bowers. The rookie defensive end blows back rookie right tackle Byron Bell, moves inside and gets a shot at Cam Newton. The offensive guard to his side tries to help Byron Bell, but he's too late to stop Bowers. Of course, getting to Cam Newton and getting him down are two different things. While Bowers gets his hands on him, he slides off as Newton spins around. That's where Clayborn comes in, who sheds Jordan Gross' block to finish off the sack with a hard-hitting sack.

Da'Quan Bowers sacks Cam Newton
3-15-CAR 15 (:05) (Shotgun) C.Newton sacked at CAR 9 for -6 yards (D.Bowers)

This happens the very next play. The Bucs need a stop here, and they send five rushers out of a three-defensive-linemen alignment. Da'Quan Bowers, Adrian Clayborn and Brian Price are the down linemen, while they also send Ronde Barber and Tanard Jackson on a blitz. The pressure allows Bowers to make a play here: Tanard Jackson comes unblocked at Newton, but can't make a play on him. He does force Newton to adjust in the pocket, though, and by that time Da'Quan Bowers has beaten Byron Bell and gets the big quarterback down.

Da'Quan Bowers tackles Jonathan Stewart for 2-yard loss
1-10-CAR 20 (1:23) (Shotgun) J.Stewart left end to CAR 18 for -2 yards (D.Bowers)

This run precedes the previous two sacks, showing a trio of dominant plays by Da'Quan Bowers. This one is very simple: the Panthers try to get Jonathan Stewart on the edge with a number of lead blockers. They run away from Bowers and leave him unblocked, assuming that he won't be able to make a play on the runner. But the Bucs sniff this one out, force Stewart to slow down a little - and Bowers comes flying up to take him down for a two-yard loss.

Da'Quan Bowers tackles DeAngelo Williams for a 4-yard loss
1-10-CAR 44 (14:07) D.Williams left guard to CAR 40 for -4 yards (D.Bowers)

I love this play, and it's such a shame the NFL didn't make video of it available. The Panthers try to run a power play away from Bowers, and they have an unbalanced line away from Bowers to get this done. The guard next to Bowers pulls to lead the way for Williams, while TE Greg Olson is asked to block Bowers who has inside position on him at the snap. This really isn't a fair matchup, and Bowers simply blows up Olson on his way to Deangelo Williams.

Da'Quan Bowers tackles DeAngelo Williams for a 1-yard loss, pancaking Jeremy Shockey in the process
2-1-TB 34 (9:33) D.Williams up the middle to TB 35 for -1 yards (D.Bowers)

This is my favorite play of the bunch. No joke. A tackle for a one-yard loss, but the way in which Bowers does it is just amazing. He's double-teamed by tight ends Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olson at the snap of the ball. Most defensive ends get driven back by that. Not Bowers, as he dominates the double team. In fact, he beats the tight ends so bad that he just throws Jeremy Shockey onto his back, then jumps over him to tackle DeAngelo Williams for a loss. He did this so quickly that Williams hadn't even gotten back to the line of scrimmage. Beating a double team, pancaking an opponent and making a tackle for loss. Now that's impressive.

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