In the off-season Jacksonville went out and signed notable defensive free agents in cornerback A.J. Bouye, safety Barry Church, and mammoth defensive tackle Calais Campbell. But the expected defensive improvement was nowhere to be found Thursday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 12-8. The Bucs offensive starters dominated Jacksonville as they entered the half with a 12-0 lead, and outgained them in yardage 249-59. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was so frustrated he decided to play his offensive starters one more series into the third quarter, but the result was the same.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Starters Dominate in Win Over Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bortles finished 8-13 for 65 yards, but his play was far worse as he continued to show regression from his 2015 year when he had 35 touchdowns. His throws were scattershot as he missed wide open receivers and continued to look hesitant. Meanwhile backup quarterback Chad Henne, who was already scheduled to play a couple of series with the starters, went 6-10 for 44 yards but also had two drops in the end zone as he played with far more control and authority than did Bortles. After the game Coach Marrone refused to commit to Blake Bortles as his regular season starter.
For the Buccaneers, Jameis Winston was 21-29 for 196 yards, all in the first half. His first three drives ended in scores, including a touchdown run by Doug Martin, who finished with five carries for 30 yards and a touchdown. Winston looked far more settled and in control in this game. The one exception occurred on third and goal as Winston threw the ball up for grabs and was intercepted by Church, but was overturned.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s kicking woes continued as Nick Folk, the presumed winner of the kicking battle against recently released Roberto Aguayo, had his extra point attempt blocked and later missed a 47-yard field goal to finish 2-3 on field goal attempts. However, not to be outdone, the Jaguars kicker Jason Myers missed wide right on his only extra point attempt, leaving both teams with question marks in their kicking game.