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Locker room Lenny: RB Fournette fires up Bucs with halftime speech to spur comeback win vs. Colts

You can add "Locker room Lenny" to the burgeoning list of monikers for Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette.

Not only did the former first-round pick power the Bucs to a 38-31 road win in Indianapolis, but he also juiced up a lifeless club that trailed by double-digits at halftime. Fournette gave a rousing halftime speech that fired up the Super Bowl champs.

"I was like, 'You have to have a will and a want,'" Fournette said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN. "'You have to be willing to risk everything. Play by play, you have to want to win, you have to want to fight, each and every play.' I think they understood that message and played their lights out."

They weren't just words for the artist known as "Playoff Lenny" and "Super Bowl Lenny." The Bucs' top back also put them into action, rushing for 100 yards and three rushing scores on 17 carries and adding another TD and 31 yards on seven catches.

The four scrimmage TDs were a career high for Fournette, who already has more TDs (8) this season than he did in all of 2020 (6).

The Bucs trailed 24-14 at halftime after a listless offensive performance.

"You could tell the mood -- people's energy was down. And it wasn't like we [were] out there getting our asses whooped. It's just the little things separating us to win the game from them," Fournette said. "So just trying to boost everybody coming out. And thank God it worked."

Back-to-back turnovers forced by the defense and capitalized on by Tampa's offense for TDs flipped the script in the third quarter. And after a muffed Colts punt turned into a field goal, the 10-point halftime deficit turned into a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

Teammates agreed that Fournette's halftime speech helped get them in gear.

"He definitely said some stuff that got us going," linebacker Shaquil Barrett said. "He said we were a special group -- that's one of the reasons he came back. And we know we can play [like] a special group. We've just gotta show it. Show it and play out. ...

"He spoke at halftime, got us going, then came out there and backed it up with all the stuff he was talking about. I'm just appreciative of him doing what he did at the end of the game to seal it for us -- during the whole game because he was playing good the whole game, making plays the whole game, and that was the difference in the game for us."

Added tight end Rob Gronkowski: "It was excellent. It got everyone fired up. He went out there and he backed it up too, and it just shows just how much we respect Lenny.

"I felt like we were flat in the first half. The energy wasn't there. The second half, we just went out there and played as a team -- offensively, defensively -- the defense was creating turnovers, we were scoring, Lenny was just running the ball amazing, and we just stuck together too. And to have a win on the road like that -- that was a playoff-caliber win."

After a few lackluster performances from the Super Bowl champs in the past month, Sunday's comeback win proved the Buccaneers can still be a force when it's all clicking. Like many Tom Brady-led teams of the past, if the Bucs are playing their best ball in December yet again, it'll be scary for the rest of the NFC.

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