Bucs' Bowers savors long-awaited first sack of season
It took maligned Bucs defensive end Da’Quan Bowers nearly eight games to pick up his first sack of the season Monday.
But it was a big one – albeit a half sack - combining with rookie defensive end William Gholston to take down quarterback Ryan Tannehill to help thwart the Dolphins final drive in a 22-19 win.
“It was definitely way overdue,” said Bowers. “Coaches said, ‘Hey, pin your ears back, and that’s basically what I did.”
However, it meant a lot to Bowers to be on the field for one of the biggest moments of the Bucs first win, a 22-19 victory over Miami on Monday Night Football. Bowers has been challenged by coach Greg Schiano to evolve into an everydown lineman since the offseason, with the former second-round pick having to earn his snaps. And Bowers, who said before the year that anything but double-digit sacks would be a failiure, has been quiet in his limited role as a situational pass rusher, with a combined six tackles.
But Bowers got the most important snaps Monday, and pressured Tannehill on both of the Bucs back-to-back sacks.
“That showed that coach has faith in me,” Bowers said. “It was a designed group of players he wanted in right there, and he put us in. We were able to get the job done with Gerald and myself and Wil; and (DE Adrian Clayborn). So he put the best pass rushers on the field and we were able to get it done.”
Schiano credited defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan for saving some play-calls for the end, surprising the Dolphins. And Schiano praised Gholston, the fourth-round pick out of Michigan State, for playing his role in a package suited for him. Gholston had 21 snaps, more than Bowers (18). “Gholston is growing up and he’s getting more and more prepared,” Schiano said.
In the fateful series, Gholston was lined up inside, with what Schiano called a “sacrificial” job, in trying to take Dolphins center Mike Pouncey out of the mix. Gholston did just that, along with his half sack with Bowers, allowing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to get in free and sack Tannehill for the second sack.
“It felt good," Gholston said. "I’m just glad to be able to get my first NFL win and first NFL sack."
For Bowers, he'd like to play even more, but understands the situation.
"I'm not a selfish person," Bowers said. "I'm a team player, whatever my job is for thsi team that's what I'm going to do. If I'm a role player, if they want me to be a situational thrid down rusher, that's what I'm going to be. If they don't feel like I'm getting enough pressure on the roster, and they decide to bring someone else in, I just have to deal with it. But I'm definitely going to compete to the end and I'm just not going to lay down and let it happen."