Lots has been said about the Buccaneers inability to stop the opposition’s passing attack. It’s pass defense is near worst in the league as they rank 30th allowing 292 yards per game. While that is an obvious fact, the Bucs have also struggled against the run, giving up just over 120 yards per game. That number ranks them 18th in the league.
They’ll be faced with a tough running attack from the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday. The loss of running back Ray Rice has done little to hurt the Ravens’ ground game as they average 125 rushing yards per game this season.
Tampa Bay’s defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says in order for their defense to have success, they have to focus on stopping Baltimore’s run game.
“We need to get off the field on third downs and it starts with the run,” McCoy said. “We want to get them in third-and-long situations, eliminating pre-play penalties, offsides and those types of things that any offense can get a good drive going if they’re starting first-and-five. If we can’t stop the run, the offense is in third-and-twos and third-and-threes, the percentages are – offense usually wins that, so we have to get them in third-and-longs and it’s going to start with stopping the run in which they do very well, they can run the ball. We’re going to have to be gap sound and be on it this week.”
The Ravens have had successful with a running back by committee approach. Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Bernard Pierce are averaging 4.9 yards per carry collectively with Forsett leading the stat sheet with 5.9 yards per carry.
Baltimore’s 12th ranked rushing attack has not faced anyone in the Top 10 of the league in stopping the run but against the 11th ranked run defense in Pittsburgh they put up 157 yards on the ground.
The Buccaneers could struggle on Sunday trying to stop one of the league’s best running teams. If they had problems stopping the third worst running team in the Carolina Panthers during Week 1, odds aren’t in their favor for this week.
But if the Bucs are focused on the Ravens’ run game, stranger things have happened.
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