Buccaneers: Robert Ayers and Noah Spence Drive the Pass Rush

Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence (57) strips the ball from Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) in the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When Buccaneers pass rushers Noah Spence and Robert Ayers are healthy, they are very good.

What a game the Buccaneers played against the Chicago Bears last week. As Michael Horan pointed out, they dominated in all phases of the game. The vision that we all had for this team came together on an afternoon at RayJay.

Maybe this can continue the rest of the year? We can only hope, Bucs fans.

One thing we have been waiting to see is the pass rush, specifically from Robert Ayers and Noah Spence. One a highly touted free agent, the other a high draft pick, there were a lot of expectations. Unfortunately, both have suffered the injury bug, so we have not gotten an extended look at them on the field together and healthy.

Well, we are getting it now, and this just in, they both are very good.

The “Eye in the Sky” is back after a short hiatus, and he has a look at the film from last week. He looked at the strip-sacks by Ayers and Spence, and he liked what he saw. Here is a breakdown.

All screenshots courtesy of NFL Game Pass (subscription required).

We begin with the Spence Sack.

Noah Spence is lined up on the left side in a four-point stance, indicated by the red circle. Bobby Massie, in the black circle, will take him on. Spence will rush around the end while Massie will use the slide step to try and head him off.

Let’s move ahead.

So far, Massie is in good position. He executed his slide to perfection and seems to be right in position to meet Spence. But, Spence takes an excellent angle to Cutler and turns on the speed, leaving Massie with no chance.

See how Spence has created space? He has created so much that he has gotten Massie out of position, turned with his back to the line of scrimmage. Spence was so quick, now Massie has no chance to protect Cutler from the rush.

Spence gets to Cutler, forces the fumble, and it’s a turnover in the red zone. Great play by Spence as he showed outstanding speed. He clearly is coming on and showing the world he is a force to be reckoned with.

Let’s move ahead and look at the veteran, making a big play that turned into a safety.

Robert Ayers is lined up over the left side of the Bears offensive line. He is going to be rushing the “B” gap (between the guard and the tackle), between Josh Sitton and Charles Leno Jr. Watch how quickly Ayers explodes through the gap.

Leno seems to be unsure of whom to block and Ayers takes advantage. He comes through the gap like a bat out of you know where. Sitton, instead of sliding over to fill the gap, reaches for Ayers. The problem is, Ayers has gotten through the gap so fast that Sitton has no chance to stop him. He goes high, and Ayers fends him off easily.

Ayers has a clear path to Jay Cutler.

He forces the fumble which goes out of the end zone for a safety.

The “Eye in the Sky” likes what he sees. Bucs fans, you should too. These two make quite the dynamic duo. Throw Gerald McCoy in there as well. When healthy, this group has the potential to be one of the league’s best.

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