JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — At least Tampa Bay’s problems have been consistent.
Turnovers, mistakes, errors and gaffes, the Buccaneers have been talking about those for weeks.
So this was routine.
The Bucs had seven turnovers in Sunday’s 41-14 loss at Jacksonville, another paltry performance for a team that has lost seven consecutive games.
“Right now everything is going the wrong way,” Bucs guard Davin Joseph said. “We’ve got to get better. We have to mature. We have to learn how to turn things around when things are going bad. We don’t have ‘it’. We don’t have ‘it’ to be able to change the pace of the game or to take momentum and run with it.”
The Buccaneers (4-9) helped set up each of Jacksonville’s four touchdowns in the second quarter. The Jaguars (4-9), who hadn’t scored more than 20 points all season, scored four times in a span of 7:32. They scored in all three phases in the same game for the first time since Nov. 1, 1998, at Baltimore.
That also was the last time Jacksonville had scored 28 points in a quarter.
“We’re a frustrated football team,” Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. “Guys can’t keep things going the way they want them to go. They took control of the football game and maintained control. We can’t get back in gear on offense and we don’t help ourselves on special teams, don’t help ourselves on defense by getting the ball back fast enough.”
Josh Freeman and Preston Parker had a lot to do with Jacksonville’s scoring frenzy.
Freeman, back after missing last week’s game against Carolina because of an injured throwing shoulder, threw two interceptions and fumbled near the goal line. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 181 yards and was benched late in favor of Josh Johnson.
“Yeah, once again, turnovers,” Freeman said. “It seems every time we started to get something going, we’d shoot ourselves in the foot. It makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to win a football game when you turn the ball over like we did.”
Parker’s day was nearly as bad. He fumbled two punts, both caused by special teams ace Montell Owens, and had a costly penalty. Colin Cloherty, signed off the practice squad Friday, scooped Parker’s second fumble and returned it 4 yards to give the Jaguars a spark.
Parker declined to speak to reporters after the game.
Blaine Gabbert found Marcedes Lewis behind the defense for a 62-yard gain on the next drive, setting up Jones-Drew’s 1-yard score that tied the game at 14.
Two plays later — after Parker was flagged for holding — Freeman fumbled at the 1-yard line as Daryl Smith sacked him. Nate Collins recovered in the end zone to make it 21-14.
Freeman threw an interception on Tampa Bay’s next possession.
“This is Football 101 stuff,” Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber said. “It’s frustrating. It’s happening every week. Turnovers, you’ve got to hold on to the football. It’s hard to win a game with seven turnovers. Everybody’s frustrated. We’ve got to get better.”
Jacksonville turned the short field into a 28-14 lead when Gabbert found Jones-Drew with a short pass near the goal line. Drew stretched the ball over the pylon for his 71st touchdown in 90 career games, breaking the team record held by Fred Taylor.
“It means a lot,” Jones-Drew said. “To break a record that Fred set, it means a bunch. Words can’t explain how excited I am to have a guy that mentored me the whole time, taught me how to play this game the right way, how to take care of my body and do those things.”
Jones-Drew wasn’t done, either.
The player Morris dubbed a “rolling ball of butcher knives” earlier in the week made it 35-14 in the fourth when he caught a short pass near the goal line and plowed through two defenders for another score. He also scored from a yard out late.
LeGarrette Blount, meanwhile, carried 18 times for 74 yards and a touchdown. But he fumbled in the second half at the end of a 23-yard gain.
“It’s been an issue,” Blount said. “It’s something that can’t happen … I can’t let it happen. Our team looks to me as a playmaker, to make big things happen. On the way to trying to make those things happen you have to be fundamentally sound.”
Notes: Parker declined to speak to reporters after the game. … Bucs WR Arrelious Benn suffered a concussion. … Tampa Bay led 14-0 after TD runs by LaGarrette Blount and Freeman. … The Jaguars hadn’t scored 40 or more points since Dec. 23, 2007 against Oakland. … Jacksonville’s seven turnovers were the most in franchise history. The previous
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