Buccaneers’ Todd Bowles Calls Out Rachaad White ‘Process’

Rachaad White, Buccaneers

Getty Rachaad White, Buccaneers

Credit Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles with one thing: He has been patient with the Tampa Bay running game. Even as the Bucs have struggled and shuffled with one of the least-productive ground games in the NFL, despite having a promising young back in Rachaad White, Bowles has said things will come together. Eventually.

It looks like it is here in Week 14 that eventually has hit. That’s because, despite a frantic finish that required a late Baker Mayfield-led scoring drive, the most critical factor in the Buccaneers absolutely necessary 29-25 win over the NFC South rival Falcons was the play of Rachaad White.

White racked up 102 yards on 25 carries, the third 100-yard game of his career. He had two catches for 33 yards as well, plus a touchdown on a screen pass. After the game, Bowles called out a specific trait that has helped White turn around his fortunes.

“Maturation,” Bowles said in his postgame press conference. “The maturation process for him, not just learning the scheme but becoming an every-down back and learning what it takes to play week in and week out instead of going through the ups and downs of the roller coaster really settled in on him. He has become a leader, he has become a workhorse, he understands the grind every week. He knows when to run it in there and when to bounce it out. So, the maturation process from him has been really good.”

Rachaad White’s Maturation Shows in Numbers

In the first seven games of the season, Rachaad White was a disappointment, coming back from a promising rookie year. He averaged 43.6 yards per game, and just 3.38 yards per carry. He was getting just 13.1 carried per game. But the Buccaneers stuck with the rush game, and it is paying off. In his last six games, White is getting an average of 18.1 carries and has tallied 73.3 yards per game. His yards-per-carry has risen to 4.04.

Not bad for a 24-year-old still learning the NFL ropes. The most exciting play for White on this afternoon was not a run, though, but a short catch in space, a staple of his game all season.

On a third-and-9 call, the Buccaneers ran a screen for White at the Atlanta 31-yard line. The Bucs were ahead, 12-10, at the time, with a little more than four minutes to play in the third quarter. White took the pass from Baker Mayfield well behind the line of scrimmage and bolted, untouched, for a key touchdown.

Falcons Dared Buccaneers to Run

In the Week 14 win over the Falcons gave the Buccaneers, White topped 20 carries for the fourth time in the last six weeks, and the Buccaneers have gone 3-1 in those games. Tampa is 4-1 in his career when Rachaad White carries 20-plus times.

It helped, too, that the Falcons seemed to want the Buccaneers to run the ball. They played off the line, with six men in the defensive box, for most of the game, focused on taking star receiver Mike Evans out of the mix.

Bowles said he welcomed that look.

“They were playing two-high, shell-high the whole game,” Bowles said. “They were daring us to run the football. So, we had the run going. We outgained them in the running department, which is very rare because they’re an excellent running team. So that helped us out a lot. Once it came down to the end, it kind of opened up for us.”



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