The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 12-8 in their second preseason game, completely shutting down their offense and looking pretty good on offense. Jameis Winston was sharp early on in the game, as was the offense as a whole.
The Bucs and Jaguars both gave their starters a lot of playing time. One full half, to be precise, where many teams would give their starters maybe three drives in the second preseason game.
It wasn’t until the end of the fourth quarter until the Jaguars got on the scoreboard, or really got anywhere with their offense. Blake Bortles looked awful and had some baffling misfires, though at least Chad Henne looked okay for them.
Meanwhile, the Bucs’ backup offense struggled too. Ryan Fitzpatrick really isn’t good enough, and it showed. The defense was pretty stifling throughout, though—it almost looked like it was 1999 again.
Here are some key takeaways from tonight’s game.
Doug Martin is winning the running back competition
Doug Martin got all of the early workload and looked productive, despite some seemingly iffy blocking from the offensive line. Five carries for 30 yards and a touchdown as well as two catches for 11 yards—pretty solid for one quarter of play.
While the Bucs will need to figure something out for the first three games of the regular season, when Martin’s suspended, it looks like he’s going to be the starter once he’s back.
The offense looked good, until the end of the second half
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense got off to a really good start. They marched straight down the field and Doug Martin ran it in, though the extra point got blocked. On the very next drive the Bucs got to the goal-line again, but couldn’t quite punch it in.
Those drives showed consistent offensive line play, a running game, and accurate Jameis Winston. It was really promising.
And then the end of the second quarter happened and bad Jameis started to show up. He had two ugly near-interceptions, and could not get the ball into the end zone—in fact, Winton has yet to score a touchdown at all this preseason. Something he needs to work on, especially with big targets like Mike Evans and O.J. Howard around.
Also, Ryan Fitzpatrick is still terrible.
Injuries struck the Bucs
The Bucs have been reasonably lucky with injuries this year, but suffered one potentially catastrophic one against the Jaguars: Demar Dotson had to leave with a groin injury and was immediately ruled out, which is not a good sign.
Later on, backup cornerback/special teams ace Josh Robinson suffered a hamstring injury. It’s not clear how serious that is, but he did not return to play.
Dotson was replaced by Caleb Benenoch and later Leonard Wester, and neither player looked great. If Dotson can’t return to play, the Bucs may have to juggle some positions to get a functioning offensive line.
The run defense was stifling
The Jaguars got all of 48 rushing yards on 19 carries and simply could not get any kind of productive running game going, regardless of the
I’d say the defense as a whole was stifling, but the only reason they didn’t give up a touchdown in the first half was that the Jaguars dropped the ball. A lot. Still, they had three long touchdown drives against the Patriots last week so this is definitely a solid overall showing for the Bucs defense.
One defender who really stood out: Adarius Glanton, who got a sack in the third quarter and has several highlight tackles early on.
Kicker troubles continue?
Cutting Roberto Aguayo doesn’t mean the Bucs are suddenly good at kicker. Nick Folk had an extra point blocked early on, which shouldn’t really happen if you’re kicking well and the blocking isn’t totally incompetent, while he missed a 47-yarder in the fourth quarter.
That’s not good, but we shouldn’t make too much of it either: Folk has been solid and has a long history of accuracy. Misses just happen sometimes.