JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One week after the offense racked up 446 yards in a win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers relied on a playmaking defense to defeat a reeling Jacksonville Jaguars squad 28-11, notching three touchdowns off Nick Foles' turnovers in the first half and holding off a second-half surge led by QB Gardner Minshew.
The Bucs have recorded 11 sacks the past two weeks and 29 points have come off turnovers. Rookie middle linebacker Devin White intercepted Foles on the opening possession, then Shaq Barrett sacked Foles and forced a fumble that was recovered by White and returned for a touchdown to make it 15-0. In the second quarter, Carl Nassib sacked Foles with Ndamukong Suh recovering the fumble at the Tampa Bay 17.
This game might have also been much different had the Jaguars started Minshew, who gave the Jaguars a greater sense of urgency and some unscouted looks. But it was another step in the right direction for a young defense that, until two weeks ago, had been giving up a league-high 31.3 points per game.
Troubling trend: The offense failed to score in the second half, with the exception of Matt Gay's 37-yard field goal with 2:19 to go. Against a better team, this game could have gone much the way the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks games did -- with the Bucs falling apart after holding a halftime lead in both. Bucs coach Bruce Arians must continue to emphasize "winners finish."
QB breakdown: Unlike the Bucs' two losses to the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers in London, they were able to get the ground game going and remained balanced, with Peyton Barber rushing for two touchdowns. Quarterback Jameis Winston completed 21 of 33 passes for 268 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions, although he did have a fumble in the third quarter on a sack by Andrew Wingard. The deep-ball connection with Winston and Breshad Perriman that has been missing all season finally appeared, with Perriman catching 5 of 6 targets for a career-high 87 receiving yards.
Pivotal play: On third-and-1 with 6:16 to go in the fourth quarter and after the Jaguars scored 11 unanswered points in the second half, rookie nickelback Sean Murphy-Bunting picked off Minshew on a pass intended for tight end Dede Westbrook. The Jaguars ran seven plays inside the Bucs' 10-yard line on that drive and came away with zero points.
"That is one of the things you can take and build on for a long time," coach Bruce Arians said of the play, adding that he wasn't worried about a potential collapse with Minshew. "I knew our defense would turn it around."