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For once, no coverage breakdowns for the Buccaneers

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't exactly play good defense against the Atlanta Falcons. Sure, they had four takeaways -- but two of those came on unforced fumbles. And sure, the Falcons only scored 20 points -- but Matt Ryan only had eight incompletions on 45 attempts, was sacked just once and generally marched up and down the field at will.

Despite that, the past game did indeed represent a step forward for the Bucs defense. Because for the first time this year, the Bucs defense did not suffer from massive communication errors and scheme breakdowns. The cornerbacks still got beat one-on-one, the linebackers still left gaping holes because they kept biting far too hard on play-action, but at least there was no confusion over who was lining up where, who had which receiver, and what exactly the defense even was. The infamous "lack of focus" was not the issue. This time, it was just plain ol' lining-up-and-getting-beat.

And yes, that's an improvement. It means the coaches actually got through to players, somehow. And there's a chance we actually see the kind of late-season improvement on defense we saw last year. If that happens, and that's a big if, and Jameis Winston and company keep up their offensive production, the Bucs could actually win a bunch of games the rest of the way.