TAMPA, Fla. -- Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from the Jaguars' 38-31 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Sunday
1)Waiting for a shock. Gus Bradley's frustration was real, and it was evident as the Jaguars' third-year head coach spoke to the media following a third consecutive loss. Bradley, normally upbeat even after losses, was pointed that he believed everyone – players and coaches – was responsible for a loss in which he said the Jaguars clearly didn't play well. Bradley said he liked the Jaguars' resiliency, rallying from a 20-7 second-quarter deficit for a 24-20 third-quarter lead. But as has been the case several times this season, mistakes and turnovers turned an opportunity for a victory into a loss. "I'm hoping that this setback shocks us to get things right," Bradley said. "I believe in these guys. The reason I'm upset is they are capable of better. I'm not upset because we're not very good. We're capable of better and we're not showing it." Bradley continued in animated fashion, "That's what's frustrating. You say, 'Hey, Gus, you said this was built.' It is built. We have enough good players in that locker room to do better than what we're doing on the field, today. That's a fact. I've always tried to be honest with you guys, the fans. That's how I feel. Maybe tomorrow I'll come back and go,' Whoa, I looked at things …' but it's how I feel now."
2)All for naught.Blake Bortles found no solace in numbers. His four-touchdown passes Sunday marked the first time in his career he has thrown for more than two touchdowns in a game, and he completed 23 of 33 passes for 303 yards and an interception while being sacked a season-high six times. "Obviously not good enough," Bortles said. "It's a team game. The goal is obviously to score more points than they score. If they put up 38, we have to put up 39. We didn't do that. We were short if it. We'll try to continue to get better." Bortles finished with a 125.4 passer rating despite an interception in the first half that led directly to a 41-yard Buccaneers touchdown drive. Wide receiver Allen Hurns also had a second consecutive 100-yard receiving game, catching five passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. "They believe we're going to be successful every time we get the ball," Bortles said of an offense that scored a season-high 31 points a week after producing a season-high 421 yards against Indianapolis. "That's the type of attitude the guys have, and it's the kind of attitude they should have."
Images from the Jaguars Week 5 matchup against the Buccaneers.
3)Debut day.Tight end Julius Thomas made his long-awaited debut Sunday, catching two passes for 20 yards in a limited role of about 20-to-25 plays. Thomas, who signed as an unrestricted free agent from Denver in the offseason, missed the first four regular-season games with a hand injury sustained in the preseason opener. He had limited practice this past week and was questionable entering the weekend, and Bradley said his uncertain status played a factor in his role Sunday. "That thing went all week," Bradley said. "We didn't real have a game plan with the intent of how we were going to utilize him, because it was really a last-minute deal. We tried to get him in there and get some reps." Said Thomas, "I'm just going to answer the bell whenever my number's called. We just have to keep evaluating. It will be a continual thing. If I keep coming along positive, then they'll probably give me more. If something slows me down or you get a setback, then you have to deal with that."
4)Short end of the stick.The Jaguars' defense struggled Sunday, allowing 219 first-half yards and 369 overall. That included 123 yards rushing by running back Doug Martin, who scored three touchdowns. But what also hurt the Jaguars – particularly in the first half – was giving the Buccaneers two short fields. One came when running back Bobby Rainey returned a 61-yard punt by Bryan Anger 58 yards to the Jaguars 17. That set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Martin from Jameis Winston. Martin gave the Buccaneers a 20-7 lead on the ensuing possession with a 1-yard run six plays after safety Bradley McDougald intercepted Bortles at the Jaguars 41. Including a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second half, that meant the Buccaneers drove a total of 58 yards for 21 points. "It's definitely tough anytime a team gets the ball within the 20 and only has so much to work with," Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said. "But as a defense, those are the challenges you love and have to step up to when you say you want to be great. I've been around some great defenses and on some great defenses. We have to get that mentality to say, 'No matter what, when we're on the field, they don't score.' We'll get it. It's going to come."
5)Missing Poz.Paul Posluszny, the Jaguars' starting middle linebacker and one of the team's top run defenders, was deactivated 90 minute before kickoff after being questionable entering the weekend. The Jaguars entered the game fourth in the NFL in run defense, but allowed 183 yards rushing. "He's a strong leader and a strong presence, but we've had inured and guys have stepped up," Bradley said of Posluszny's absence. "Without evaluating the film … maybe I can give you a better idea tomorrow." Said linebacker Dan Skuta of the run defense, "It's playing as one. Especially in an eight-man box, everybody has to do their job. You have to play together. You have to take the little things they do and use it against them as far the mental side, identifying plays. You have to play together. You have to step up and make plays. We have to start dominating guys. We have guys who can dominate guys, offensive linemen. We need to start seeing that a little more."