Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

Nick Folk, all but handed the kicking job with Roberto Aguayo getting cut on Saturday, stumbled in his first opportunity to solidify himself as a reliable veteran foil.

Folk's extra point on the opening touchdown -- hit with a low trajectory — was blocked by 6-foot-8 Jaguars DL Calais Campbell. Folk was good on two field goals in the first half, connecting from 36 yards and 29 yards.

But given a shot in the fourth quarter, Folk lined up for a 47-yard field goal — the same distance that Aguayo missed from late in last week's game, sealing his fate. Folk missed wide right, and is now 3-for-4 on field goals in the preseason, including a 45-yarder made last week.

Dominant defense

The Bucs defense stepped early, holding the Jaguars to a single first down on their first three drives with the starters in the game. Jacksonville — which had touchdowns of 97, 79 and 42 yards last week in beating the Patriots — had no play longer than 17 yards in the first half, and the Jaguars totaled 1 yard on seven carries in the first half.

Filling in at tackle

The Bucs' offense was sharp enough in the first half Thursday that even losing a starting tackle didn't slow them down.

Demar Dotson left the game late in the first quarter with a groin injury, and second-year pro Caleb Benenoch replaced him for the rest of the half. Benenoch, in position to be the Bucs' third tackle and dress on Sundays as the top backup for both tackles, had a key block to open a hole for RB Doug Martin, (left), on an 11-yard run.

Benenoch later had a holding penalty, but the offensive line — with Ali Marpet in his first game action at center — played well enough to pile up 240 yards of offense in the first half.

Welcome, newcomers

After quiet debuts last week, some of QB Jameis Winston's new targets got more involved in Thursday's game. Rookie TE O.J. Howard had two catches for 28 yards, WR DeSean Jackson caught two for 17 yards and had a 15-yard end-around, and rookie WR Chris Godwin had two catch for 22 yards.

Bucs rookie LB Kendell Beckwith, stepping in at strongside linebacker with Devante Bond injured, had two tackles for loss in the first half.

Second-half stars

• LB Adarius Glanton, who missed the preseason opener with injury, showed up in a big way in the third quarter, getting a game-high six tackles and a sack while playing as the second-string strongside linebacker.

• RB Peyton Barber converted a fourth-and-1 for the second straight game, rushing six times for 28 yards on the first drive of the second half. He got in ahead of rookie Jeremy McNichols and left as the game's leading rusher. He finished with a game-high 42 yards on nine carries.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected].

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