Arians’ absence shows in week one.
It was hardly a week ago that I wrote an article entitled” Will a running game resurface for Tampa Bay in 2022?” It only took a week to get a resounding “Yes”. The Bucs Defense was smothering and dominating against the Cowboys at home. They were in control from start to end. The problem was that the Bucs’ offense could do nothing but kick field goals on red zone intrusions, save for one Brady toss to Mike Evans for a touchdown.
Rushing attempts against Dallas more than in any game last season.
It was the rushing game that was working, and that’s what they did to the tune of 33 rushing attempts for a total of 152 net yards. That’s more attempts than in any game last season. In 2021 the Bucs eclipsed the 30 rushing attempts just 4 times all season. In 2020 the team only eclipsed 33 carries twice. In the four losses last season: their rushing attempts ranked the lowest or close to the lowest of the season. (13 was the lowest): 13 attempts vs the Rams, 14 and 21 attempts vs the Saints, and 13 against Washington; however, the rushing attempts could be low because of the need to come back in the games they were losing. It is still a statement that their three lowest games in rushing attempts all came in losses. Even if you have been or are a high-volume passing team, there will still be weeks when the pass, for whatever reason, just isn’t getting it done. There were games last season that Jonathan Taylor and the Colts just were not getting it done on the ground. You understand what I’m saying; sometimes it just bees that way, and on those days, you must be able to do the opposite to survive.
Playoff Lenny, running the ball in mid-season form.
Fournette finished with 127 yards on the ground, and the LSU product looked good getting that total. Fournette dictated the running game, and the Cowboys were on their heels, it seemed, most of the night. No doubt that this season will far eclipse the rushing totals for the last 3 to 4 years. It certainly couldn’t hurt us. Brady is most happy when the running game is working, and he can run the play action more effectively. It also helps, of course, with the overall pass rush intensity. The defense can’t pin their ears back and bring it so hard when they have to account for a successful running game. Fournette is going to break a thousand yards rushing, no problem, if he can stay healthy. Look for Rachaad White to get more touches as the season goes on, as well. Mr. Fournette may excel at receiving out of the backfield, but let’s not forget he was always a good rusher. Go Bucs!!