Can the Bucs stop Jonathan Taylor?

by Gary Shelton on November 26, 2021

in general

Bowles' defense has to slow down the run./TIM WIRT

Friday, 4 a.m.

It isn't a complicated game to figure out. It's a simple as a punch in the nose.

One team, the Indianapolis Colts, have a running back who can't be stopped. The other team, the Tampa Bay Bucs, have a defense that makes it seem like backs are running in quicksand.

Really, thats all you need to know about Sunday's matchup between the Bucs and the Colts.

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Oh, you can dress it up if you want. You can talk about reborn quarterback Carson Wentz against the hobbled Bucs' secondary, and you can talk about the loud crowd against a team that hasn't traveled well lately, and you can talk about whether Tom Brady will fare better than Buffalo's Josh Allen. But really, it's a bloody-knuckles to be played at the line of scrimmage.

Consider this: This season, the Bucs have given up 784 yards rushing. Colts' running back Jonahan Taylor has 1,122 (and 13 touchdowns) by himself. He leads the NFL in rushing ... by 195 yards over the second-place runner.

Taylor is on a rampage. He's ad more than 100 yards in fie of his last six games.

The Bucs, normally the best team in the NFL against the run, They're still ranked seventh, but they had a stretch of three games when they gave up 100 yards, a rarity for a Todd Bowles' defense.

Taylor, a second-round back out of Wisconsin a year ago, shredded the Bills a week ago with 185 yards and four scores. Stopping him will be essential for the Bucs.

“I think they're doing a great job in the running game," defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. "He’s not only a big back with speed, he has very good feet and very good short-area quickness. Along with the offensive line doing a very good job up to the second level.Ttheir receivers block. It’s going to be a tough task."

It would help if the Bucs could keep the ball, of course. That's where Tom Brady comes in against the 27th ranked pass defense in the league.

The temptation is to go with the home team here. The Bucs have shown little life on the road this year (they're 2-3, beating only New England on a missed field goal and Philadelphia.

Still, it's hard to believe someone is going to run the Bucs out of the yard. We'll see.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 23, Indianpolis 21.

In other NFL games:

New England 27, Tennessee 17.

Miami 17, Carolina 14.

Kansas City 30, Arizona 21.

And in the college games:

UCF 40, USF 14.

Florida 24, FSU 20.

Ohio State 34, Michigan 16.

Miami 30, Duke 10.

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