The Buccaneers defense led by Devin White stole the show in Jacksonville today as the Buccaneers matched their win total of the last two season with a convincing 28-11 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bucs are now 5-7 and have won three out of their last four.
Devin White and Lavonte David led the Bucs with seven tackles with White returning a fumble 14 yards for a touchdown and also intercepting a Nick Foles pass in the first half, his first of the season.
Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles could get nothing going in the first half as the Bucs defense held Foles to 7/14 passing for 93 yards and one interception and sacked him three times.
The Bucs defense now has 11 sacks in the last two games and the NFL’s sack leader Shaquill Barrett added two more to his total to give him 14.5 on the season.
Sean Murphy Bunting had his second interception of the season, and Devin White had his first pick of the season.
It was total domination by the Bucs in the first half as they built a 25-0 lead behind the opportunistic defense creating turnovers, and giving the Bucs offense a short field to work on.
The Jaguars switched quarterbacks in the second half to fan favorite Gardner Minshew to try to get something going offensively, and he created some problems for the Bucs defense with his mobility and his quick release.
Minshew lead the Jaguars to two scores in the third quarter as the Jags cut the Bucs lead to 25-11 before the Bucs took momentum back in the fourth quarter and added a Matt Gay field goal to make the final score 28-11.
Jameis Winston did not have a great day as he went 21/33 for 268 yards. But Winston had no interceptions and just one fumble. That was caused when running back Ronald Jones missed a block in the third quarter causing Winston to get hit and lose the ball.
Winston did take a couple of unnecessary sacks as held onto the ball instead of throwing it away.
With the Jaguars run defense giving up over 200 yards the last three games, more was expected out of the Bucs running game with Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber.
The Bucs averaged just 2.4 yards a carry after averaging 3.9 yards a carry the previous 11 games.
Barber had the hot hand throughout the game as he scored the only Bucs offensive touchdowns in the first half. Barber continued to get the majority of the touches in the second half
As Ronald Jones was benched.
It was finally good to see OJ Howard be a big part of the offense, as Howard had five catches for 61 yards his best game this season.
The biggest surprise on offense was the play of Breshad Perriman who was the Bucs best offensive player against the Jags. Perriman led the Bucs in receiving with five catches for 87 yards and was a favorite target of Winston’s throughout the game.
This is Perriman’s fourth season in the league and this was his best game as a pro.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin each had four catches on the afternoon.
With Indianapolis, Detroit, Houston and Atlanta on the schedule the last quarter of the season for the Buccaneers, there is no reason to think that the Bucs should not win three out four to finish at 8-8 on the season.
Finally we are starting to see the defense begin to play the way that Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles thought they could play beck in late April when the Bucs first gathered for off-season workouts.
The Loss to the Giants and the last minute defeat to the Titans will come back to haunt this team as the Bucs could realistically be 7-5 instead of 5-7.
As Bruce Arians has said so many times these last few weeks, Let’s just win the next game and at the end of the season, we’ll see if we have enough wins to keep playing.