Despite a career high passing day for Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles, the Jaguars couldn’t record a road win as Tampa Bay hung on for a 38-31 victory Sunday.
Bortles was 23 of 33 for 303 yards, with a career-high four touchdown passes and one interception. Allen Robinson had seven catches for 72 yards and two TDs. Allen Hurns hauled in a scoring pass for the third consecutive game, finishing with five receptions for 116 yards. Rookie running back T.J. Yeldon had 32 yards on 11 carries and scored on a four-yard pass.
It was the Jaguars’ third consecutive loss and 12th in a row on the road, the 29th loss in 37 games under third year head coach Gus Bradley. So far Bradley is now 8-29 in his three seasons, 4-12, 3-13 and 1-4.
On Monday a frustrated Bradley talked to the media.
“I don’t know what to say. Still painful, watching that tape. We have to a lot of things to go over,” Bradley said. ”I think there’s some issues that we need to get corrected, obviously; different issues maybe that have been showing up and maybe a different way of handling it with the team in the team meeting.”
Bortles was sacked a season high six times. He sprained his throwing shoulder Sunday was not expected to practice Wednesday but play against the AFC South rival Houston Texans (1-4) at EverBank Field this week.
“We understand that we’re going to be in close games. We’ve seen that. It’s going to be close during the game and into the fourth quarter, so we’ve got to have the ability to stay focused throughout the whole game and then it just becomes a few plays. We are not a team that’s going out there and winning 31-7. We’re not a team that’s going out there and winning, first of all,” Bradley said.
Bucs’ rookie QB Jameis Winston, who threw throwing four interceptions and lost a fumble in a 14-point loss to Carolina last week, managed the game well enough to win. The No. 1 overall draft pick out of FSU was 13 of 19 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown without an interception.
DEFENSIVE WOES — Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny didn’t play. Undrafted rookie Thurston Armbrister made his first career start in place of Posluszny. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks was inactive and hasn’t played since suffering a torn ACL last season. He will increase his practice time but hasn’t been cleared to play. The Bucs ran for 183 yards on 40 carries. The NFL’s fourth-ranked run defense allowed the Bucs’ Doug Martin 123 yards on 24 carries and two TDs. Charles Sims added 51 yards on the ground.
DAZED AND CONFUSED — The Jaguars’ special teams allowed Bobby Rainey to gain 85 yards on three punts returns. On one Jaguars’ running back Bernard Pierce was blocking when he should have been tackling. He seemed to have a clear shot at Rainey but turned and started blocking a Bucs player. Rainey’s 58-yarder set up Tampa Bay’s first TD. The Jaguars have placed Pierce in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He may have been concussed and confused on the play.
TAMPA BAY GAME NOTES — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) are off to their best start since 2012…..Tight end Julius Thomas made his long awaited debut for the Jaguars, playing for the first time since breaking his right hand in the preseason opener. He had two catches for 20 yards. ... Since 2011, the Jaguars are 0-30 when losing the turnover battle. ... The Bucs didn’t have any turnovers, ending a streak of 25 consecutive games with at least one….Running back Corey Grant fumbled at the goal line in the third quarter with the Jaguars leading 24-23. Tampa Bay recovered in the end zone for a TD…It was Tampa Bay’s first regular season victory at home in nearly two years…. The Bucs won for the first time at home since beating Buffalo 27-6 on Dec. 8, 2013, one week after the Jaguars last won on the road, 32-28 at Cleveland…
INJURY UPDATES — Cornerback Davon House suffered a hip contusion but is expected to play Sunday… Wide receiver Marqise Lee was inactive with a hamstring injury. His condition will be updated during the week... TJ Yeldon suffered a groin strain in the fourth quarter and his condition will be updated this week… Running back Denard Robinson was inactive for the third consecutive game with a knee injury… Safety James Sample also missed the Bucs’ game with a shoulder injury.
ROSTER MOVES — The Jaguars signed second-year QB Jeff Tuel to the team’s practice squad. Tuel spent the 2015 training camp with Jacksonville before being released in August. There was an opening on the practice squad after linebacker Jordan Tripp was promoted to the active roster. Tripp was originally a fifth round draft selection by Miami in 2014. He was waived by Miami on Sept. 5, and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 22. Tripp played in 13 games as a rookie in 2014. The club waived/injured linebacker John Lotulelei.
UP NEXT — The Jaguars may get a break when Houston comes to play Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. The Texans have also only won once this season. And are making changes. Brian Hoyer will be the starting quarterback replacing Ryan Mallett. Hoyer finished with 312 yards on 24-of-31 passing in a loss to Indianapolis. Jadeveon Clowney hurt his ankle, but should be fine for the matchup with Jacksonville. Wide receiver and former Jaguar Cecil Shorts, III is also returning to action.