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Is the Bucs’ losing culture finally changing under Bruce Arians?

Linebacker Lavonte David lit into teammates at halftime Sunday and the Bucs rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit.
Quarterback Jameis Winston (3) reaches across the goal line for a touchdown during the first half of the Bucs' 38-35 win over Indianapolis Sunday in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
Quarterback Jameis Winston (3) reaches across the goal line for a touchdown during the first half of the Bucs' 38-35 win over Indianapolis Sunday in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Dec. 10, 2019
Updated Dec. 10, 2019

TAMPA — Lavonte David is typically a man of few words. But he spared nothing in his vocabulary when he let his teammates have it at halftime of Tampa Bay’s 38-35 win Sunday over the Colts.

“I told them basically, everything that happened during the week is showing up," David said. “Playing dumb football. You know, we’re over those days. All that shouldn’t have been happening. This should have been a football game where we focus on what we should be focused on and dominate. That’s what we try to do is dominate and we weren’t dominating at all and it showed. Me personally, I was very disappointed going into halftime and not satisfied with our play. And guys got the message."

After the Colts’ lead went to 14 in the third quarter, the Bucs fought back. The defense forced a missed field goal, then linebacker Devin White caused a fumble.

As Arians has said, winning is the culture and the Bucs have won three in a row and four of their past five games.

But all through the Bucs’ locker room Sunday, you heard the same refrain.

“We were talking about it when we got back to the locker room, the past couple years, I don’t think it’s a game we would’ve won," tight end Cameron Brate said.

“Just kind of to take a step forward in a game like this where we throw a pick on the first pass attempt and we got down 10 multiple times, including in the second half when we got down 14. So, just the belief we have in each other, the belief we have in the coaches and them in us is huge. Hopefully, we can keep using these wins to gain more confidence."

The Bucs have had a turnover margin or minus-three or worse 13 previous times the past five years, losing 12 of them.

Arians sees similarities between this Bucs team and his 2013 Cardinals, which began his first season 3-4 before winning seven of the last nine games.

“When we finished that season (in Arizona) beating Seattle, who were division champs, it led into a hell of an offseason," Arians said. "For us to possibly win four-in-a-row, then five-in-a-row against a real good Houston team, and then it’s going to be a struggle in Detroit this week with the number of injuries we’ve got, but that’s building blocks.

"The culture is set because the other guys aren’t accepting it anymore. They don’t accept losing anymore. That’s kind of what the guys stood up and said in the locker room. I didn’t have to say much, we ain’t accepting this (stuff) anymore. You know it’s getting across.”


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