From being claimed on waivers to earning a starting role, Jacquies Smith's emergence with the Bucs took another step Sunday as he came through with two of the team's four sacks in a 34-17 loss to the Lions.
"We got to him a few times, but still not enough," coach Lovie Smith said, asked if the pass rush was a bright spot in a disappointing loss. "We didn't do anything well enough to give ourselves a chance."
Smith had a career-best four tackles, and his six sacks are now second on the team behind defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, and the most by any Bucs defensive end since Michael Bennett in 2012. All this from a player the Bucs claimed off waivers from the Bills after the season opener, a player who didn't get into the starting lineup until the past month. After being cut by three teams in two years, he's become one of the most productive players on the Bucs defense.
Smith's first sack ended a Lions drive on a third-and-1 play, giving the Bucs the ball with a chance to take the lead. His second sack also came on third down, forcing a punt that gave the Bucs the ball, down 10 points in the third quarter.
His emergence comes in contrast to the Bucs' other starting defensive end, Michael Johnson, who joined the team as a high-priced free agent but has just three sacks, and only one in the past eight games. On Sunday, Johnson had just one tackle, which was one less than tight end Luke Stocker, who had two and forced a fumble on a Lions interception return.