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The Bucs Can't Stop The Run - Except When It Really Counts

These past two seasons the Bucs have not been able to stop the run, at all. Poor defensive line play and undersized linebacker who can't get off blocks have seriously hampered the Bucs' ability to not give up 100 yards to a running back every game. Yet somehow, there was one specific area of run defense the Bucs excelled at last season: short-yardage.

Football Outsiders defines a Power situation as a run on third or fourth down with two yards or less to go. They also include first-and-goal and second-and-goal situation from the two-yard line or closer. The Bucs were excellent in these situations: they ranked fifth in the league in power situations, allowing a first down only 55% of the time. The best team in the league was New Orleans, who allowed a first down 40% of the time, while the Bengals allowed a first down a whopping 73% of the time as the worst team in the league.

I've been racking my brain about this, but I can't figure out why this is the case. By all means the Bucs are a relatively undersized team, and they haven't been very stout at the point of attack. But when it comes down to it, they do show up to play in short-yardage situations. Do you have any idea why this happens?