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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

In five-game win streak, Bucs' defense has been NFL's best

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) tackles New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) just short of the goal line.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) tackles New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) just short of the goal line.

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December

The Bucs defense has certainly been the catalyst in the team's first five-game winning streak since their 2002 Super Bowl championship season, but the stats show that during that stretch, Tampa Bay has had the best defense in the NFL.

By many of the most important measures, the Bucs have led the NFL in stacking up wins against Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, San Diego and now New Orleans. In many cases, they're at the opposite end of the rankings from the first month of the season, or more:

-- Scoring defense. The Bucs are allowing just 12.8 points per game, best in the league. In the first eight games of the season, they gave up 232, fourth-most in the NFL.

-- Total takeaways: The Bucs have 14, most in the league, including a league-high 10 interceptions. Go back to the first four games of the season, they had two takeaways, third-lowest in the NFL.

-- Touchdowns allowed: The Bucs have allowed six total in five games, lowest in the league. In the first eight games of the season, they gave up 28, third-most in the NFL.

-- Opposing passer rating: The Bucs have held opponents to a 62.5 passer rating, lowest in the league.

-- Turnover margin: The Bucs are plus-9 in the last five games, best in the league. Go back to the first four games of the season, they were at minus-9, second-worst in the NFL.

[Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2016 11:07am]

    

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