The run game is a sensitive topic for Bucs fans and has been for quite some time. Many woes of a defunct offense were blamed on the lack of a solid run to open the pass play. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians wanted to put some of those worries to rest and it looks like he did.
Bruce Arians has been big on borderline invisible to the rest of the world running back Peyton Barber since he came to Tampa earlier in the year. In fact, he was one of the first players that he backed after he watched tape on the team. His colorfully worded praises were sung in interviews for weeks. Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Panthers did nothing but prove him right.
Peyton finished the Panther game with 83 yards on 23 attempts (3.6 avg) with his longest run on being 16 yards and 1 TD on a 7-yard run. For those non-football nerds out there; let me break it down a step further for you: an average of almost 4 yards per carry makes your linebackers play forward and pay attention to the running game and opens the pass play. Peyton was hard to stop and wouldn’t allow the defense enough momentum to blitz.
Realistically, 4 yards per carry is actually conservative. On successful run plays against Carolina on first down, the Bucs were playing 2nd and 5, which is amazing compared to last seasons numbers and those numbers which are forgettable in most run plays. Simply put: we have a running game and Peyton Barber has earned his spot as the RB1. Bucs fans everywhere rejoice!