Bucs turn up the pass rush, but Eagles' Foles survives it
You wouldn’t conclude based on the success of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles today that the Bucs had their most consistent pass-rush performance in weeks. But they did, even if it didn’t lead to the kind of result one might expect.
The Bucs sacked Foles six times, exploiting an offensive line that let quarterback Michael Vick get battered throughout the season, leaving him with a concussion.
The pressure began early, and it came from the Bucs’ highest-profile defensive lineman. Gerald McCoy, the No. 3 pick in the 2010 draft, busted through a blocker and buried Foles for a 10-yard loss on the game’s third play from scrimmage. McCoy and defensive end Michael Bennett ended up with two sacks apiece. Linebacker Lavonte David and defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim had one each.
Still, Foles stood tall in the pocket, throwing for 381 yards in spite of the pressure. The Bucs couldn’t help but express admiration.
“It’s not easy to keep your poise when you’re getting hit all day as a rookie,” McCoy said. “But he did. All the credit goes to him. (Bennett) got to him early on the last drive, he could have gotten nervous, but he didn’t.”
The Bucs haven’t applied consistent pressure on quarterbacks lately. McCoy, for example, hadn’t registered a sack since getting recording two against the Cowboys’ Tony Romo on Sept. 23. Rushing the quarterback had become a major point of emphasis from the Tampa Bay coaching staff.
“A lot of it is defensive game planning,” defensive end Da’Quan Bowers said. “And then Coach challenged us this week. A lot of guys took it upon themselves to get in the film room or wherever and work on their craft. And we had a better showing.”
Just not good enough to get the win.