Monday, July 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Jacquizz Rodgers sets career high for rushing yards for second straight week

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Two weeks ago, Jacquizz Rodgers had never had a 100-yard game in six seasons in the NFL, nor more than 18 carries in a game.

For the second game in a row, he reset his career high in yards, grinding out 154 on 26 carries in the Bucs' 34-17 win over the 49ers on Sunday. In two weeks, he has had 56 carries, the second-highest two-game total in the past 20 years for a Bucs runner.

Cadillac Williams has the most, 61 carries over two games during the 2005 season.

"When you've got guys up front, blocking like they are, finishing through the whistle, it makes my job a lot easier," said Rodgers, 26, who signed in Week 2 as a No. 3 back and has stepped up in two games as a starter. "I've been waiting on this moment, so my job is to take full advantage of it. I try to get better and better every week. I try to top my performance from the previous week. That's my goal."

After getting 101 yards on 30 carries in a win against Carolina two weeks ago, he trumped that by halftime Sunday with 110 in leading the Bucs to a 17-14 halftime lead. Facing the worst run defense in the NFL, which had allowed 174 yards per game, Tampa Bay piled up 249, fourth most in franchise history.

"You don't want to be overconfident, but we had enough to know we can run the ball on this defense," G Kevin Pamphile said. "That was amazing to get that many yards, to get the running backs some room to run."

MOTIVATED: WR Russell Shepard talked to the team before the game about his extra motivation against 49ers coach Chip Kelly, who cut him as an undrafted rookie with the Eagles in 2013. Then the special teams standout stepped up with a big game, five catches for 77 yards — each more than he'd ever had in a entire NFL season — and the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter.

"It means a lot to me," Shepard said of the personal motivation; his only previous career touchdown was in a win against Kelly's Eagles last season. "It was an opportunity. Everybody knows V-Jack (Vincent Jackson) is out and Mike Evans is the primary guy for us. … I had an opportunity and got a win. I was just thankful Jameis (Winston) gave me an opportunity."

Since the start of the 2015 season, the Bucs have nine wins, seven by a touchdown or less. The other two are against Kelly — by 28 against Philadelphia last year and by 17 against him Sunday.

500 CLUB: The Bucs finished with 513 yards of offense, topping 500 for the third time in 22 games in Dirk Koetter's offense. Before Koetter arrived in 2015, the Bucs had reached 500 yards just three times in the franchise's first 39 seasons.

THIS AND THAT: Winston finished 21-of-30 for 269 yards. His 70 percent completion rate was the third highest in 22 career games. … Rookie RB Peyton Barber had a 44-yard touchdown to seal the win and finished with 84 yards on 12 carries. … Former Florida State RB Antone Smith, signed last week, had a 30-yard catch in his Bucs debut. … S Bradley McDougald intercepted a Colin Kaepernick pass, and DT Gerald McCoy recovered a fumble after a sack of Kaepernick by nickel back Jude Adjei-Barimah.

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

Comments
Tony Dungy on Jameis Winston: ‘He knows the right things to do’

Tony Dungy on Jameis Winston: ‘He knows the right things to do’

Former Bucs coach and current NFL analyst Tony Dungy said Friday that quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension is disappointing, but he still hopes the 24-year-old can learn from his mistakes moving forward."Obviously, it's disappointing, a...
Published: 07/13/18
Mom appreciates ‘surprising’ Winston interaction with kids after workout

Mom appreciates ‘surprising’ Winston interaction with kids after workout

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston continues to be a complicated study in the off-field behavior of pro athletes, doing things that draw criticism and praise, sometimes even in the same hour.Winston drew criticism from some fans today for posting video ...
Published: 07/13/18
Pro Football Focus: The Earth is a cold, dark place and the Buccaneers are really, really bad

Pro Football Focus: The Earth is a cold, dark place and the Buccaneers are really, really bad

So training camp is less than two weeks away, and you're beginning to feel hopeful. Why not the Buccaneers, right?To which Pro Football Focus might respond, "We'll tell you why not."The analysts at the website are not high on the revamped offensive l...
Published: 07/13/18
Flashback: 1979 Bucs defense had ‘Mount Crushmore’

Flashback: 1979 Bucs defense had ‘Mount Crushmore’

As we roll out our own choices for "Mount Rushmore" honors for Tampa Bay sports teams, one of our readers was reminded of a similar treatment for the Bucs defensive line nearly 40 years ago.Sue Avery of Wesley Chapel e-mailed to share a photo  o...
Published: 07/13/18
Here’s our Mount Rushmore of Bucs

Here’s our Mount Rushmore of Bucs

The selection process for a Mount Rushmore of former Bucs players— part of a project from the Times Sports department that includes an overall Mount Rushmore of Tampa Bay athletes — is first incredibly easy, and then exceedingly diff...
Published: 07/13/18
Lawsuit accuses Jaguars’ Marcell Dareus of sexual assault in Lutz

Lawsuit accuses Jaguars’ Marcell Dareus of sexual assault in Lutz

Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is facing two separate lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault, including one from an alleged incident in Lutz in January 2017.The same week that Alabama's football team played Clemson in Tampa for a national c...
Published: 07/11/18
As camp nears, Jameis Winston working out with Randy Moss

As camp nears, Jameis Winston working out with Randy Moss

Bucs veterans report for training camp in exactly two weeks, and quarterback Jameis Winston was preparing Tuesday by working out with a group of NFL receivers and Hall of Famer Randy Moss.Fox 13 TV posted video of Winston working out at Skyway Park, ...
Published: 07/11/18
Sports on Twitter: Which pro teams have seen largest growth?

Sports on Twitter: Which pro teams have seen largest growth?

Two years ago, we took a close look at the official Twitter accounts for all teams in the four major pro sports leagues — NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL — to compare the followings and see which had the best reach in social media.That gave us a wi...
Published: 07/10/18
Staring through the Bucs abyss

Staring through the Bucs abyss

Bucs training camp is now less than a month away, and it feels like dark clouds have gathered around One Buc Place.It happened suddenly.Just a few weeks ago, I wrote how it felt as if the Bucs were starting to take steps toward improvement and there ...
Published: 07/07/18
Random: Warren Sapp praised by … Hunter S. Thompson?

Random: Warren Sapp praised by … Hunter S. Thompson?

I'll try to play this straight, for maximum effect: Former Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp drew praise from famed author and gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in a 1998 letter written to the Colts lobbying for them to draft Ryan Leaf over Peyton ...
Published: 07/06/18