The streak is no more.
Doug Martin broke the 100-yard mark rushing for the second straight week and found the end zone three times, fellow running back Charles Sims topped 100 total yards in a game for the first time in his two-year career and Tampa Bay took out Jacksonville 38-31 at Raymond James Stadium.
The win ends the Buccaneers’ 11-game home losing skid and the first in Tampa Bay under head coach Lovie Smith. It also allows the team to head into next week’s bye with as many victories as it posted last season.
“It’s nice to get a win at Raymond James,” Smith said at the beginning of his postgame press conference. “Losing two games this year [at home] wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but the guys have been doing a lot of good things … [and] you need to see it on the football field. We were disappointed in what’s happened this year for us – this 2015 team – and disappointed more because we feel like we’re a good football team. That team out there, at times, was pretty good and can play with anybody around. “
Leading the way on offense Sunday was Tampa Bay’s running back duo of Martin and Sims. The former finished with 123 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and 35 yards and another touchdown on three receptions. It was the first time Martin’s found the end zone three or more times since his 2012 rookie-year breakout game in Oakland when he went for 251 yards and four scores.
“It was an amazing game, it was a team effort,” Martin said. “It was something that the fans had a long time coming. I’m glad we could get a win at home for the fans.”
Sims couldn’t extend his touchdown streak to three games but led the team with four catches and 85 yards while adding 51 more on the ground on 12 rushes.
Tampa Bay picked up 183 total rushing yards on 40 carries despite playing without starting left guard Logan Mankins. The veteran missed his first game since 2012 with a groin injury and was replaced by Kevin Pamphile.
Speaking of running backs, Bobby Rainey also got in the mix, but in a different capacity. The fourth-year pro didn’t see any time offensively but made his presence known on special teams with a 28.3-yard average on three punt returns, including one for 58 in the second quarter that set up the Winston-to-Martin touchdown pass.
Assisted by a defensive touchdown scored by Jacquies Smith when fellow defensive end George Johnson forced a third-quarter fumble, Tampa Bay put up more points in a game (38) since hanging 41 on Atlanta at home Week 11 in 2013 [correction].
Quarterback Jameis Winston bounced back from last week’s five-turnover disaster by avoiding major mistakes and completing 68.4 percent of his passes (13 of 19) for 209 yards and the 10-yard second-quarter touchdown hookup with Martin. Winston
Receiving the loudest early cheers from fans was kicker Connor Barth. His comeback game got off to a quick start when he hit a 35-yarder less than five minutes in and ended with him going 3-for-3 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra points.
The initial 3-0 lead Barth provided was the first of three Tampa Bay would obtain before putting away Jacksonville in the final quarter. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles’ third of four touchdown passes late in the third quarter put Jacksonville ahead for the last time, 24-20.
Bortles ended his day completing 23 of 33 pass attempts for 303 yards, four touchdowns and an interception but Tampa Bay stepped up late with 18 unanswered points from the end of the third quarter into the fourth.
The losing streak wasn’t the only negative trend that came to an end Sunday. Tampa Bay not only won the turnover battle 2-0 (safety Bradley McDougald picked off Bortles in the second quarter) but didn’t commit one itself after doing so the previous 25 contests.
That number nearly bumped up to 26 in the second when former Buccaneer defensive tackle Roy Miller sacked Winston and the rookie quarterback either fumbled or tried throwing the ball away – but backward – as he was being taken down. Jacksonville recovered but referees reviewed the play and overturned the call, saying Winston’s knee was down before the ball left his hand. The reversal led to Barth’s second field goal and Tampa Bay cutting Jacksonville’s early lead, 7-6.
Miller’s sack was one of just two on the day for the Jaguars, whereas Tampa Bay harassed Bortles all day. Led by newcomer Howard Jones and his two sacks, Bucs defenders took down Bortles six times for 33 yards and hit him on five other occasions.
Tampa Bay sealed its victory with Martin’s final touchdown – a 1-yard dive over the line – that put the Bucs ahead 38-24. Rainey kick-started the drive with a 25-yard punt return to the Jacksonville 40 and the Tampa Bay defense responded after the touchdown by forcing the Jaguars into a three-and-out.
Jacksonville made the score look a little better for the visitors when Bortles hit Allen Robinson with a 5-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute remaining.
DID NOT PLAY
That was a great team win today. I say team win because the Bucs looked great on offense, defense and special teams. On defense it was more about the sacks and turnovers than points allowed. The Bucs looked fantastic passing and running, Koetter had them ready to play today. Winston looked comfortable from start to finish. Barth made all his field goals and booted the ball through the end zone on most kickoffs. He must’ve been doing some leg lifts since he had been cut. Also, if Rainey was such a good returner, why hasn’t he been used there for years? Our self scouting is not where it ought to be, but today it’s all about the win. Go Bucs!
Great win today! I was watching the game with my wife, she never watches football but it was our anniversary today.
The game plan and calls by koetter were on all day. Made some good easy throws to get Jameis started. Doug Martin is playing like a man possessed and our lines on both sides looked real good.
Now on the downside , our secondary is absolutely terrible. Lovie and his boys Jenkins and Jennings suck. They made Blake look like tom Brady.
All around so happy for this win. May have to force the wife to watch more.
Totally agree with your analysis cgmaster27. We need DBs in the worst way. The middle of the defensive backfield was open all day. But so glad for the win. Keep improving Bucs!
Glad pinkstob is happy again, and congrats cgmaster27 on your anniversary.
Was Lovie pointing the finger at Koetter or Winston when he said in his presser following the Carolina game “We made some bad decisions at the beginning of the game in the two games we’ve had here, but I just don’t think that will continue”?
I won’t point fingers in the face of a great win today, but something sure changed. Winston went out of his way to repeatedly compliment Koetter on his play calling in his post game presser.
Whatever the reason and whomever got better, we should do this again. I could get used to this winning thing. Go Bucs!
Thanks for the well wishes Mac, it was a great day.
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We need to give our own Mark Cook his props for having a good feeling about the Bucs. Predicted the Bucs to win 37-10. Only analyst brave enough to think the Bucs offense could score over 30 points. He only thought the Jags would score 10 points because he forgot that Jenkins and Jennings would be our starting CBs. lol. Kudos Mark!
Sorry macabee…dang auto correct!
Warren, you see my avatar. no problem. Both names fit. lol. It happens from time to time. BTW, mac a bee are the initials for my real name – MAB. I see down below my good friend drdneast just whizzed all over it too! lol. Ah…a day in the life of a Buc fan. Glad we won today!
maabee, I know your right about Jennings. I I was screaming from the stands at one point, “Jennings, your coverage stinks old man.”
Don’t know if he heard me but everyone around me did.
He was playing 10 yards off the WR on a third and 4.
Will be nie when we get Banks back and this stiff is back on the bench.
Still, it wasn’t the corners who gave up the big plays at the end of the half and the game as much as our safeties.
I understand both Conte and Tandy went out in the second quarter with injuries so that may be the reason why.
Was listening to the radio show on the way in and heard the analysts saying it was going to be a low scoring game, sloppily played with the contest being won by a Connor Barth FG.
Didn’t see much sloppy play except from our safeties and overall not that many penalties.
So called experts don’t know as much as they think they do.
Lets give Kevin Pamphille and Howard Jones their props for having good games today.
Pamphille delivered a terrific block to spring Sims on his 54 yard catch and I think Jones had two sacks but I may be mistaken.
I’ll go even farther than J&J…our entire pass coverage looks atrocious…our two LBs (David and Alexander) just stood flat footed while Bortles slotted TD passes behind them…our safeties (apart from the McDougald INT – which was a very nice play) were AWOL…but yes, Jennings and Jenkins were trash and we won’t win much more with those guys playing….on a brighter note (as I promised I would do): Banks will back soon, and we do have that probowl CB on the bench (dog house) that we could put in the game. I think we’ve got several more wins in us this year. And one final positive note (just because PR hasn’t mentioned it), I saw quite a few excellent blocks by Marpet today…I’m liking his progress.
Marpet is a beast! But on the down side, he got his FIRST penatalies of the season – two holding calls.
The special teams were truly special today. I don’t think we would have won without their “special” play.
It was so good having Barths consistency back. Don’t know why we ever cut him. I’ll take accuracy all day over a bigger leg.
Having Barth back takes all the drama out of our kicking game. Lol. One negative was Lavonte David whiffing on at least 3 tackles. What’s up with that.
Said the same thing as I was watching the game. He did have 8 solo tackles, but he missed Yeldon in the backfield multiple times. Why has his tackling sucked this year?
I watched the game on TV and the play by play guy said that we put an extra player on the line everytime we ran the ball. Did any of you see that?
That was OT Reid Fragel playing the blocking TE position that Stocker normally plays. It worked well. Both RBs had a great day!
It was a wonderful feel good win for me. I was at the Opera in Vienna and hoping the Bucs were doing good. When I got back on the boat about 11 PM, it was 5 PM your time; I saw that we had won!. What a great night cap! Now I enjoy the last of my two days on the Danube before arriving to Budapest and flying out back to the greatest country in the world!;USA! It was 32 degrees last night and the high today will be in the mid 40’s; fall is here in Europe. The Refugee’s are going to freeze in Germany, Austria, Hungry as they haven’t thought that far ahead. Meanwhile, Go Bucs!
Glad to hear from you Horse. In spite of the 3-1 records of these two teams they put on quite a show. Folks so down on our secondary should at least recognize that Bortles in no slouch and was the 3rd player taken in the Draft. The Jags are a bit like us; at times somewhat unlucky, but all NFL teams have talent. That said, I’m sure Licht and staff are watching the college CB’s and Safeties very closely. Great day for Buc Nation and in particular we fans at our “home” stadium who for once were able to hold our heads high.
Ooooops! 1-3 not 3-1
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Impressive performance ALMOST all the way around. Offense was working like a well-oiled machine with Doug Martin circa 2012 and Jameis Winston protecting the ball well. I would’ve liked to see more from our receivers but when the backs are producing so well there’s no reason to switch it up.
Special teams was on point. Rainey seems like he’s locked up the returner duties with his impressive performance so far. Hard to believe we wasted a pick when we had the right piece all along. Nice to see field goals going through the uprights for a change. As for Barth’s lack of kicking power, it seemed like 95% of his kickoffs went through the endzone.
On defense, pass rush was looking on point. Run defense was stout. Our secondary looked pretty bad though. There were several times Jax receivers beat the defenders but luckily our pass rush forced errant throws. I found myself yelling at the tv on several plays “Why the *expletive* is this guy in ahead of Verner!?!”
It’s still too early to tell for sure, but it looks like our biggest need at this point may be DB rather than DE. Hopefully we ride this wave of momentum through the bye week. After this performance, I’m sad there won’t be any Buc football next week. Go Bucs!
On a side note…does anyone know the story behind switching to white for our home uniform?
My fault on the “most points score since” mention. Initially had it as the Martin game against Oakland in 2012 and forgot about the 41-28 win over Atlanta in 2013 … which was also Rainey’s career-best rushing day (163 yards/2 TDs).
A good win and fun to watch! I am not going to let myself be fooled into thinking we have turned the corner, as that was just one game and I anticipate they will continue to be uneven in performance from one game to the next, but love the “2” in the win column.
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