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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs defense bounces back



The Bucs were less than dominant on defense in the previous two games, allowing the Redskins to run wild in a narrow Bucs win. A week ago, the Lions drove the length of the field in the final two minutes and on the first possession of overtime to pull out an improbable win.

So, it was incumbent upon the Tampa Bay defense to show improvement when the Bucs needed a win most.

"The past couple weeks we’ve been up and down as a defense," defensive lineman Michael Bennett said. "But it’s starting to come together. There are so many different guys playing."

Like Bennett, for instance, who started at right defensive end in place of Stylez White and played all four line positions at different points in the game. Another of Sunday’s standouts: DT Frank Okam, pushed around in his first start a week ago but rebounding for seven stops against Seattle. The line had been reeling from the loss of rookie DT Gerald McCoy, but Sunday’s collective effort was enough to stymie the Seahawks.

"I think some of what you’re seeing is that this was a lot better than our bad performances the last couple weeks," LB Barrett Ruud said. "Because, in all honesty, we didn’t play well the last two weeks at all. We didn’t play the way we’re capable at all."

The Bucs limited the Seahawks to 106 yards through three quarters and 174 for the game. After Seahawks starting QB Matt Hasselbeck left the game in the first quarter after suffering a hip injury on a touchdown run on which he was untouched, backup Charlie Whitehurst entered and never sparked his offense. He completed 11 of 18 passes, but he had just 66 yards and was sacked three times.

"We had a playoff mindset today," LB Geno Hayes said.

[Last modified: Monday, December 27, 2010 1:32am]


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