Despite six sacks, two takeaways and just 51 yards allowed on the ground, the Buccaneers defense was far from perfect Sunday.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw for over 300 yards in the game, of which 142 came on three straight 60-plus yard scoring drives during the second and third quarter.
“We haven’t played well enough, simple as that,” head coach Lovie Smith said of the secondary on Monday. “Not pleased at all. We’ve had opportunities to take the ball away more times.”
Smith didn’t mention any names, but it’s no secret that Tim Jennings had a particularly rough afternoon on Sunday. The tenth-year pro, who signed with Tampa Bay in September, allowed a combined seven receptions between Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson and gave up two touchdowns.
The second score – a five-yard fade to Robinson in single coverage – happened after Jacksonville marched 86 yards down the field to make it a one-score game with 1:10 remaining.
“A game like (Sunday), to finish on a note like that – that was discouraging,” Smith said. “There were missed tackles and just our play on the ball (wasn’t good).”
The subpar performance in the secondary didn’t end with the corners, however. From Chris Conte misreading Hurn’s first touchdown, to Bradley McDougald and Major Wright both a step late on his second, the Bucs safeties certainly have room to improve in coverage, too.
The good news for the Bucs is that it’s always easier to highlight mistakes while picking up wins in the process. And with the bye week ahead, they’ll have a couple extra days to review the film get it straightened out.
“We’re not where we need to be on the back end right now,” Smith said. “But we’ll keep working on it.”