The Bucs defense is currently one of the worst in the NFL in multiple categories. They are ranked last in the league in total yards allowed per game, total points allowed per game and passing yards allowed per game.
However, Tampa Bays’ defense does have a couple things leaning in its favor. For one, the Bucs are coming off the bye week, which means their players have been able to get more rest and get healthy, and they are one of the top-ranked defenses in the league when it comes to creating fumbles and recovering them.
They are currently tied for fifth in the NFL with six fumble recoveries, and tied for seventh in the league – along with the Minnesota Vikings – with 10 forced fumbles.
“Coach Lovie Smith, he’s a guy who’s known for having a great defense,” said Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. “If you look at those guys, those guys have caused 10 forced fumbles so far this year.”
The player leading the way and creating the most fumbles for the Bucs has been linebacker Lavonte David, who currently has two forced fumbles and 66 tackles. “Obviously (Gerald) McCoy is outstanding, (Michael) Johnson is outstanding, their linebackers are fast. They’re very, very active,” Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “They are very multiple, they do give you a lot of different looks and they do a great job – they are one of the top teams in stripping the ball, causing fumbles – so those are the things you have to concentrate on getting ready to play them.”
So far this season the Vikings have a minus-3 turnover margin, but they have only lost one fumble (been stripped five times). The majority of their turnovers have come from throwing interceptions, which they have done 11 times this year so far.
If the Vikings are able to stick to their game plan and hold onto the football as they have done all year, it would go a long way to winning this week and improving to a 3-4 record, one game away from .500.
Cordarrelle Patterson isn’t focusing on the Bucs’ propensity to cause fumbles.
“We just do us man, you know,” Patterson said. “I don’t think we lead in fumbles this year and we don’t want to lead in fumbles. So we just go out and just play our game, no turnovers, and we’ll get a win.”