“I don’t care. He got 30 other ones,” Arians told the media following a 38-31 win over the Indianapolis Colts, via PFF’s Ari Meirov. “That ain’t nothing.”
Vea took a helmet to the face during the first half against the Colts and showed off his latest battle scar afterward with a big grin.
He stayed in the game and finished with a tackle and helped the Bucs limit Colts running back and league rushing leader Jonathan Taylor to 83 yards and a touchdown. Taylor came into the game with three-straight 100-yard games and seven touchdowns in that span. Notably, most of Taylor’s yards came in the fourth quarter.
“We really didn’t think they’d stick with the run,” Arians said.
Arians also didn’t seem concerned about Taylor’s success in the fourth quarter, noting that the Bucs defense was set for stopping the pass instead. Arians added that they want to force Colts quarterback Carson Wentz to throw 40 times instead of feeding Taylor the ball.
“I’ll take our run defense against anybody’s run defense anytime,” Arians said.
For Vea, it was his first game back since sustaining an MCL injury at Washington on Nov. 14. The fourth-year veteran has been known as one of the better run stoppers in the NFL.
The latest Bucs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bucs newsletter here!
Shaquil Barrett’s Strip Sack ‘Changed the Game’
When Indianapolis looked poised to take a 17-point lead against the Bucs in the third quarter, linebacker Shaquil Barrett came up with a strip sack to end the Colts’ drive.
“That strip sack changed the whole ball game,” Arians said.
The Bucs trailed 24-14 at that point and rallied to take a 28-24 lead with two touchdown drives. The defending Super Bowl champions never trailed again.
Bucs Turn the Table on Colts
Indianapolis came in with a league-best plus-15 turnover differential. The Bucs ignored the numbers anyway and forced five turnovers while giving the ball away twice.
After Barrett’s game-changing strip sack fumble, the Bucs stopped the Colts again with an interception by safety Antoine Winfield Jr. in the third quarter. Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski said it brought Winfield Jr.’s “game to another level.”
“One of the mostl athletic interceptions by a safety I’ve ever seen,” Gronkowski said.
Five different Bucs got in on the turnover feast. Mike Edwards forced a fumble in the first quarter. Scotty Miller recovered a fumble on a muffed punt in the fourth quarter. Pierre Desir picked off Wentz’s last gasp attempt at the end zone to end the game.
Tampa Bay scored after each of the turnovers except Desir’s at the end of the game. The Edwards fumble led to a Tom Brady touchdown pass to Cameron Brate. Miller’s fumble recovery led to a Ryan Succop field goal for a 31-24 lead, which prevented the Colts from retaking the lead on Taylor’s touchdown during the following drive. Winfield Jr.’s interception led to a Ronald Jones II touchdown, and Barrett’s strip sack led to a Leonard Fournette touchdown run.