The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense had a bit of an up-and-down season, but ended on a high note. They were one of the better defenses in the NFL over the second half of the season, but they really excelled in one aspect over the entire season: defending the play-action pass.
In fact, according to Football Outsiders, the Bucs were the third-best defense against play-action, and only the 11th-best against non-play-action passes. And surprisingly, teams tried to get them with play-action a lot: only seven teams faced play-action more often.
I’m actually really surprised by this finding, mostly because I’m not overly impressed by the Bucs’ safeties—and those are often the most vulnerable players against play-action.