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Reasons to Celebrate: Defense and Running Game


After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers, there was one great reason to celebrate: they beat the Carolina Panthers. Or, rather, they beat *a* team. That hadn't happened since October of last year. That was one really big reason to celebrate - but there were a lot of other reasons to be happy with the team's win, most of them to do with the defense and the running game.

The Bucs ran the ball and ran it well

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to establish a running game, and they did so successfully against the Carolina Panthers. While the run-blocking was lacking, especially on the right side of the line, the Bucs still ran for 138 yards on 32 carries (after we exclude four kneeldowns) for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. Interestingly, Legarrette Blount was the worst running back among the group, rushing for just 8 yards on 3 carries. But Doug Martin carried the day, getting 24 carries for 95 yards.

The defense showed up

The Bucs have a defense again! Somehow, the team managed to put together what appeared to be a real NFL defense after the monstrosity that they put on the field last season. More than that, the defense actually managed to hold the opponent to just 10 rushing yards, after posting the worst rushing defense in the NFL last year. Should that be a surprise? A little, but keep in mind that the Bucs' run defense was pretty good early in 2011 too. Still, the gap discipline, tackling prowess and general disruption were impressive. Now they need to fix the couple of lapses in coverage they showed.

And last but not least: the Bucs won a game!