Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs' Jacquizz Rodgers not awed by his surprise start

RB Jacquizz Rodgers starts against the Saints, finishing with 65 yards on 15 carries and a TD.


RB Jacquizz Rodgers starts against the Saints, finishing with 65 yards on 15 carries and a TD.

TAMPA — Jacquizz Rodgers had to step into a starting role because of injuries earlier this season, but in Saturday's game at New Orleans, he stepped up after starter and former Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin was benched by coach Dirk Koetter.

"Playing football, you've always got to be ready," Rodgers said after he rushed for 63 yards on 15 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown. "We do a good job of everybody taking reps in practice, so when my number was called, just like always, you try to come in and step up."

Martin had averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry in four of the previous five games, so Rodgers' average of 4.2 yards was an improvement, though not enough to beat the Saints. Rodgers had two carries for no yards in the first Saints game two weeks earlier, then was inactive against the Cowboys the week before. He said the 31-24 loss Saturday, which all but eliminated the Bucs from playoff contention, was frustratingly close.

"We let one slip," he said. "This was a real important one that we needed. We have to come in ready to work after this Christmas holiday and finish this season the right way."

BRATE'S CATCHING ON: Cameron Brate's 12-yard touchdown catch Saturday was his eighth of the season, giving him the league lead among tight ends, edging Tennessee's Delanie Walker and San Diego's Hunter Henry.

What's more, Brate tied Jimmie Giles' 1985 record for the most touchdowns in a season by a Bucs tight end.

Brate left in the second half with a back injury and did not return, so the touchdown was his only catch of the game. Backup tight ends stepped up as Brandon Myers had two catches for 21 yards and rookie Alan Cross had one for 5.

MORE RECORDS: Obscured in the loss to the Saints was another strong game from Bryan Anger, who had a net average of 51 yards on his three punts. Anger, whose final two punts against the Saints in the win two weeks earlier were downed inside the 5-yard line, had his first two Saturday downed at the 9 and the 4.

Anger has 32 punts this season downed inside the 20, breaking the team record of 30, set in 2002 by Tom Tupa and matched by Josh Bidwell in 2007.

Anger, an alternate for the Pro Bowl, is on course to set Bucs single-season records for punting average (he's at 45.9 yards) and net average (42.4).

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected]om and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs' Jacquizz Rodgers not awed by his surprise start 12/25/16 [Last modified: Sunday, December 25, 2016 8:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fennelly: Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope


    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

    Bucs fans cheer during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in August at Raymond James Stadium.
  2. Bucs snapper Garrison Sanborn looking forward to return to Bills


    Throughout his eight seasons with the Bills, whenever former players would come to Buffalo for a game, Garrison Sanborn remembers the place to take them for a reunion dinner was a popular Italian …

    Garrison Sanborn enjoyed just one winning season in eight years in Buffalo. [AP photo]
  3. J.T. Brown said first protest already sparked action plan


    Lightning wing J.T. Brown said part of the reason he will no longer raise his fist during the national anthem is because his first silent protest has already sparked an action plan.

    J.T. Brown stressed that he got a lot of support from the Lightning, from ownership on down to help put him in situations to help.
  4. Bucs' Mike Evans, Bills cornerback E.J. Gaines could face off again


    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has gone up against four Pro Bowl cornerbacks in five games, and on Sunday he could be lining up against a corner he has a history with in Buffalo's E.J. Gaines.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a touchdown catch over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28)  Sunday  in Glendale, Ariz. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: The importance of Kwon Alexander's return


    Greg Auman talks the importance of Kwon Alexander's return Sunday in Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, pictured during training camp in July at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]