JACKSONVILLE-- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) turned three first half takeways into 22 points leading to a 28-11 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The win by the Buccaneers was their second straight overall, both on the road.
Jacksonville won the opening toss & decided to receive the second half kickoff. But after their opening drive that included two third down conversions on completions from quarterback Jameis Winston to wide receiver Mike Evans, Tampa Bay committed a penalty & allowed a sack, which forced the offense to punt.
With their first possession, the Jaguars offense got a big pass play when quarterback Nick Foles found wide receiver Dede Westbrook behind cornerback Carlton Davis for a 39 yard completion. But just two plays after that completion, the Buccaneers got the game's first takeaway when rookie linebacker Devin White, sitting in the middle of the defense, stepped in front of a Foles pass for his first career interception. That takeaway set the Buccaneers up to put the game's first points on the scoreboard. The scoring drive, which was 69 yards, included a challenge by Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians on a pass play that was originally ruled incomplete. The pass from Winston to wide receiver Breshad Perriman was overturned & kept the drive alive. And after a 25 yard pass from Winston to tight end O.J. Howard, running back Peyton Barber ran through a big hole inside the redzone for a 15 yard touchdown run.
Trailing 7-0, the Jaguars second time with the football was worse than the first time. But it involved a play from the same defensive player. On a second down & 10, White scooped up a fumble by Foles after the quarterback was sacked by linebacker Shaq Barrett. White picked up the ball at the 14 & ran into the endzone untouched for his first career touchdown.
And with the ball moving closer after a neutral zone infraction by the Jaguars before the attempt on the extra point, Arians decided to go for two points. The Buccaneers used Barber, who pushed into the middle of the line & into the endzone for the two point conversion
As the game entered the second quarter, the Jaguars moved the ball deep into Buccaneers territory by mixing in running plays with completions from Foles, who registered 37 yards on the drive. But the drive ended like the previous Jaguars possession with a turnover after linebacker Carl Nassib stripped Foles & the ball was recovered by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The recovery by Suh was his third of the year & second in the last two games.
After their third takeaway, the Buccaneers next drive looked similar to their first scoring drive. Although this drive was longer, it included a key completion from Winston to Perriman on a third down play & had a play that was overturned after replay. A pass by Winston, that deflected off of Evans was originally ruled an interception by linebacker Donald Payne. But after review, it was ruled the ball hit the ground before Payne had control of the ball. That reversal allowed the Buccaneers to keep the football & one play after a 27 yard pass from Winston to Godwin, Barber got his second touchdown of the game, this one from one yard away making the score 22-0.
Neither team was able to move the ball until the Buccaneers started a drive with just over two minutes left in the half. And after another long completion from Winston to Perriman started the drive, the Buccaneers got within the 10 yard line. But after a third down incompletion by Winston intended for Evans, kicker Matt Gay nailed a 25 yard field goal to end the first half scoring.
Tampa Bay not only owned the scoreboard at the half but dominated the stat sheet for the first 30 minutes of the game. The Buccaneers registered 16 first downs & totaled 250 yards while forcing three turnovers. And those three turnovers, which led to 22 of the Buccaneers 25 first half points, may have led to Jacksonville deciding to make a change at quarterback, replacing Foles with Gardner Minshew. The rookie quarterback, who started eight games while Foles nursed an injured collarbone earlier this year, wasn't able to move the ball on the team's first drive in the third quarter. But after a fumble by Winston, Minshew led his offense into Buccaneers territory & the Jaguars were able to get on the scoreboard when kicker Josh Lambo drilled a 53 yard field goal.
Lambo's field goal was the only score in the third quarter. But after a Buccaneers drive ended when Winston was sacked by defensive end Josh Allen on a fourth down attempt, Minshew led the Jaguars to their only touchdown drive of the game. The drive started just inside the Jaguars own territory but with three pass plays & one run in 90 seconds, Minshew got his team not only a touchdown but a two point conversion. First, the quarterback hooked up with wide receiver Dede Westbrook for a three yard touchdown play. Then after some scrambling, the same combination were able to convert on the two point attempt to make the score 25-11.
The Jaguars forced a three & out by the Buccaneers. And momentum seemed to be going the Jaguars way especially when they moved the ball inside the Buccaneers five yard line. But with the pressure to get the ball into the endzone, Minshew threw a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting at the goal line.
After a turnover on downs set the Buccaneers up inside Jaguars territory, the lead became 17 points after Gay ended the scoring for the game with a 37 yard field goal.
The loss for Jacksonville was their fourth overall, each by at least 17 points. Meanhwhile, Tampa Bay will seek their first three game winning streak since 2016 when they host the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday at 1PM.