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What We Learned: Buccaneers 38, Jaguars 31


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 38-31 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Sunday

1.Gus Bradley is frustrated … and irritated …and a few other things. The Jaguars' head coach was more animated and pointed in his postgame press conference Sunday than after any previous loss over the last two seasons. With reason. Mistakes cost the Jaguars a second consecutive winnable game Sunday.

2.Jaguars fans are rabid.Jaguars fans vowed to take over Tampa. Mission accomplished. There was an unmistakable teal-and-black feel to Sunday's game, and it was truly impressive to see. Bradley said afterward the fans that made the trip deserved better. He was right.

Images from the Jaguars Week 5 matchup against the Buccaneers.

3.Something has to change.That was a message in Bradley's postgame comments Sunday. That may not mean a rash of released players, but Bradley said, "Something's wrong in how we play." What can be done to eliminate mistakes and missed opportunities? We'll see, but there's urgency to this situation and you could see it in Bradley Sunday.

*4.Mistakes are really hurting the Jaguars. *An interception. A fumble that turned into a Buccaneers touchdown. A bunch of missed tackles. Six sacks allowed by the offense. The Jaguars cleaned up the penalties this week, but other errors kept them from ever getting a stronghold on what should have been a winnable game.

5.The errors have reached a strange level.Running back Bernard Pierce, while covering a punt, turned and blocked a Buccaneers player. As he did this, Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey raced by him for a 58-yard punt return that set up a touchdown. That may not be unprecedented, but it's rare.

Setting the Scene in Tampa as the Jaguars prepare to take on the Bucs.

6.Poz matters.Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is critical to the team's run defense. With him playing the first four games of the season, the Jaguars ranked fourth in the NFL in run defense. Without him Sunday, the Jaguars allowed 183 yards rushing. He shouldn't be *that *critical, but he's important.

7.Julius Thomas needs a bit more time …not to be ready, but to reach full capacity. The veteran tight end made his Jaguars debut Sunday, catching two passes for 20 yards. He was questionable entering the weekend after missing the first four games with a hand injury. Because of that status, Bradley said the Jaguars didn't game plan around Thomas and he played only about 20-to-25 plays.

8.Blake Bortles is still improving …This continues to be a theme, and that has been a positive in an otherwise frustrating first five weeks of the season. In all five games, Bortles has at least shown flashes of developing into a front-line quarterback. He showed more on Sunday, throwing for four touchdowns and leading several very good scoring drives.

9. … and he still needs to improve.Bortles missed a few open receivers, and he had a pretty critical early interception when he missed an open Allen Robinson and threw instead to Marcedes Lewis. That's a little nit-picky, though; Bortles didn't cost the Jaguars the game Sunday.

10.Allen Hurns continues to improve, too.There haven't been many games this season when this hasn't been true. Hurns had a second consecutive 100-yard receiving game Sunday, catching five passes for 116 yards and a touchdown.  He's turning into perhaps the most reliable skill player in the Jaguars' offense, and his dependability has been an early-season bright spot.

11.Allen Robinson does, too.Robinson was oh-so close to a really big game, with an early potential long gain from Bortles skimming off his fingertips. As it was, Robinson caught two touchdown passes on a day when he caught seven passes for 72 yards.

12.The running game isn't consistent enough.It has been close at times this season, and there have been times it has been good. Sunday wasn't one of those times. The Jaguars' deficits kept them from emphasizing the run, but take away a 21-yard run by Blake Bortles and the Jaguars rushed for 34 yards on 16 carries. Whatever the emphasis, that's not enough.

13.Nothing is consistent enough.We mentioned the running game because of the game-ending statistic, but this loss wasn't because of the running game. The Jaguars as a whole just didn't play nearly good enough or nearly consistently enough. The defense allowed too many rushing yards, and the offense had two costly turnovers. Throw in a baffling special teams error and it was tough day all around. The result reflected it.

14.Jaguars fans are rabid. Did we mention this already?

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