Since Week 10, the Buccaneers have allowed the fewest PPG in the NFL and have had the most takeaways, per NFL Research.
Bucs D since Week 10:
Points per game allowed: 13.3 (rank 1st)
Takeaways: 11 (rank 1st)
Passer rating allowed: 67.3 (rank 1st)
Third-down percent: 28.9 (rank 2nd)
Sacks: 12 (rank 5th)
Yards per game allowed: 300.3 (rank 5th)
The Bucs' defensive front has propelled the team, harassing quarterbacks and stymied running games. Gerald McCoy, Robert Ayers and stud rookie Noah Spence have combined to form the type of pass rush Tampa expected to employ this offseason. In Sunday's victory over the Chargers, Tampa sacked Philip Rivers twice but the San Diego line controlled the game for the most part.
"Lavonte, I think, has had a solid season," defensive coordinator Mike Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Times. "I know his numbers are not what they've been in the past, but what he's doing for this defense is an integral part of what we're trying to get accomplished."
Smith's unit didn't look much different from Lovie Smith's train wreck early in the season. But the Bucs' defense has made game-changing plays each week that led to wins in their four-game streak.