Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions Observations: 3 Key Takeaways From Divisional Round Matchup

The Bucs and Lions faced off in the NFC Divisional Round -- what are the key takeaways and observations from a playoff Sunday at Ford Field?

The Detroit Lions‘ faithful fans showed up again in a massive way at Ford Field for the Divisional Round showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It ultimately proved to be a key factor as the Lions advance to the NFC Championship Game, as they ultimately chase down their first Super Bowl in franchise history.

What are the instant observations and key takeaways from the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Lions and Bucs?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions Instant Observations

The Lions’ Pass Defense Struggles Continue

The Lions came into this matchup boasting one of the most fearsome run defenses in the entire NFL, allowing just 87.6 yards on the ground per contest.

However, while they’ve been stifling opposing offenses, the Lions’ secondary has been gashed routinely this season.

Over the course of the last three contests, Detroit has allowed a jaw-dropping 346.3 passing yards. This includes allowing Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford to throw for 367 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 120.9 passer rating.

That trend continued on Sunday with the Buccaneers freely moving the ball through the air to the tune of 349 passing yards to primarily their talented WR duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, plus Cade Otton at TE factoring in, especially in the red zone.

Jahmyr Gibbs Is a True Difference-Maker for the Lions

Tampa Bay came into this matchup featuring one of the most stout defensive fronts in the NFL.

Headlined by Vita Vea, the Bucs have become known as a defense that opponents simply may want to try avoiding running on, as evidenced by the Bucs surrendering the sixth-fewest rush attempts per game this year.

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Despite being stymied for the majority of the game, Jahmyr Gibbs sparked the Lions’ run game and continued his impressive rookie campaign with a highlight reel-worthy 31-yard touchdown run to provide Detroit with the lead at 24-17.

There were high expectations for Gibbs when the Lions drafted him with the No. 12 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s safe to say he’s already lived up to the hype … and more.

Baker Mayfield Proved He Is the QB of the Future in Tampa Bay

It’s ridiculous to rewind just a handful of months ago to when questions surrounded Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield and whether or not he would be the starter in Tampa Bay past 2023.

The team signed him to just a one-year, $4 million deal this past offseason to be the successor immediately after Tom Brady, but very few people believed that he would be the long-term answer after his disappointing stints with the Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, and Los Angeles Rams.

Mayfield has been nothing short of spectacular this year under offensive coordinator Dave Canales, as he threw for just over 4,000 passing yards and 28 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions. On top of that, he led the Buccaneers to a Divisional Round appearance in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

It would be extremely shocking to see Mayfield hit the open market as a free agent this offseason. It looks like Baker is here to stay in Tampa Bay.

Want to predict the results of the 2023 NFL postseason with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? How about looking into in-depth breakdowns of team depth charts or the NFL playoff schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with all that and more!

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