Bucs soft in the middle again

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

ATLANTA -- It wasn't as pronounced as the last time, but the middle of Tampa Bay's run defense still is having major problems.

According to John Fisher, who does video analysis for ESPN Stats & Analysis, the Bucs allowed the Falcons to gain 74 yards on runs up the middle. The Falcons went that way 15 times and averaged 4.9 yards a carry.

In their previous game, a Monday night loss to Carolina, the Bucs allowed 159 yards up the middle on 24 carries -- a 6.6-yard average.

The NFL average for average yards on carries up the middle is 3.45 yards. The Bucs were without starting defensive tackle Chris Hovan, who was out with an injury against Atlanta. But the other starting defensive tackle, Jovan Haye, was back after sitting out the Carolina game with an injury.