TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In the past two postseasons, the Bucs lead the league with 16 takeaways, 8 forced fumbles and 72 points off turnovers. In that span, the next closest teams have 9 takeaways (Bengals), 4 forced fumbles (Bills) and 26 points off turnovers (Bills).
Getting turnovers is crucial every game, but even more so in the playoffs when the margin of error is even smaller and the stakes are the highest.
“They’re definitely very important,” said Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. “It’s just being able to get the ball back to our offense. [It’s] being able to have them be on the field for as long as possible and put up as many points as possible and just constantly give them opportunities. Obviously, when we take the ball away from teams, they get frustrated, flustered and they tend to have more (turnovers) throughout the game. So we want to definitely cause havoc early-on.”
“We always feel like turnovers definitely help get the ball back to the offense,” said Bucs safety Mike Edwards. “So turnovers are definitely going to help us this game. We’re harping on creating the turnovers and taking the ball away.”
“There’s always a chatter of like, ‘who’s going to get the next interception or the next pick-six?'” said Bucs cornerback Jamel Dean. “We’ve got to manifest it.”
The Bucs’ defense had a stretch during the regular season of five-straight games with no takeaways, but they’ve gotten back in a rhythm, with nine in their last five– an upward trend they like to see, heading into the playoffs.
“That’s our game,” said Bucs linebacker Lavonte David. “That’s how we want to play. We had a big drop-off. We were very disappointed about that but being able to get back in our groove, create turnovers. They come in bunches we always say so hopefully we can continue that in the most important part and that’s throughout the playoffs.”
“Hopefully they keep coming,” said Bucs Head Coach Todd Bowles. “We had a big drop in the middle of the season and they’ve been coming of late so if that continues on Monday, we’ve got a good chance.”