Suh, who signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers last offseason, may not have put much of a dent in the stat sheet — finishing with 41 combined tackles (22 solo), 2.5 sacks and 4 passes defensed — but his impact was certainly felt.
In arguably the Buccaneers’ biggest win of the 2019 season, a 55-40 road victory over the Los Angeles Rams, Suh scooped up a fumble and returned it 37 yards to seal the game.
Suh was constantly double-teamed while lining up across the defensive line as the Buccaneers switched to a 3-4 defense under coordinator Todd Bowles. Suh’s 261 snaps against double-teams — third most in the NFL last season behind Aaron Donald and Kenny Clark — allowed other members of the defense to be freed up as Tampa Bay allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league (73.8 per game) and tied for seventh with 47 sacks.
“I wanted the entire defense, if we could, to stay together,” coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday. “They played so well together. Each piece of the puzzle knew each other. Suh was a big, big part of it. Not as much in the sack game as much as his interior pressure and the great job he did last year against the run. I mean, we were No. 1 against the run in the league last year, and a lot of it was because of him and Vita [Vea].”
While Suh had drawn significant criticism for penalties earlier in his career, he was flagged just five times in 2019.
Suh, who turned 33 in January, was selected second overall by the Detroit Lions in 2010. He played five seasons in Detroit and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro.
In 2015, Suh signed a six-year, $114 million contract, with $60 million guaranteed, with the Miami Dolphins to become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history at that time. In three seasons with the Dolphins, Suh recorded 15.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. He then played one season with the Rams before joining the Buccaneers.
Suh has 58.5 career sacks and in 10 seasons has missed only two starts, both in 2011, when the NFL suspended him two games for on-field conduct.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.