After a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Buccaneers have no time to lick their wounds as they need to get ready to head to Buffalo for a matchup with the Bills on Thursday night football. The Bucs are looking to avoid being under .500 for the first time this season and will need not just one player, but an entire group to do it.
This week’s X-factor is the Buccaneers pass rush.
A good pass rush is important to disrupt any offense, but it is even more important when the QB on the other side is as good as Josh Allen is. While Allen has struggled at times this season, he still is one of the NFL’s best signal callers and the Bucs have to be ready.
One area where Allen gets himself into trouble is turnovers. He has nine turnovers through seven games thus far and his play style is that of a classic gunslinger. While he may get himself into trouble, Tampa Bay could force some more mistakes if they were able to apply consistent pressure on him.
The Bucs pass rush has been pretty disappointing as of late, even if the numbers don’t show it. Tampa Bay currently has 16 sacks on the season which ranks right around the middle of the pack at 17th in the NFL, but the eye test would say it has been even worse. Too many times this season opposing offenses have had consistent time to throw the ball. Wanna know a big reason why the Bucs defense struggles so much on third and longs? The pass rush isn’t getting to the quarterback to affect any timing or throw.
Players like Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, who have combined for just five total sacks this season must start to play better and need to be effective and disruptive if the Bucs want to win on Thursday night. Vita Vea got off to a fantastic start rushing the passer with 3.5 sacks through the first four games of the season but has been held sackless in the last two contests.
The bad news for the Bucs is that Buffalo has been pretty good this season at limiting the sacks, allowing only 10 so far this season. Josh Allen and the Bills offense have had their struggles at times this year, but they are still a dangerous group. If Tampa Bay wants any chance on Thursday night, the last thing they can do is give Allen enough time to find Stefon Diggs or Gabe Davis open down the field.
If they do, it could be a long flight home for the Buccaneers.