Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin provides bright spot for Bucs

LANDOVER, Md. — All over the Bucs' locker room Sunday, there were individual moments that couldn't be celebrated, instead obscured by the biggest comeback in Redskins franchise history that gave the Bucs a 31-30 loss.

RB Doug Martin went over 100 yards for the third straight game — a first in his four-year NFL career — and reached that mark with a 49-yard run that seemed to put the game away, putting the Bucs at the Redskins' 5-yard line with the lead and four minutes left.

"I wish I could have gotten in the end zone," said Martin, stopped at the 2 and the 1 on his next two runs.

Martin finished with 136 yards on 19 carries.

"It was just a bummer, this game," he said. "We were up in the first half, and we didn't come out swinging. We needed to finish a lot stronger than we did."

WR Mike Evans had his first touchdown of the season — the Bucs' first touchdown in a first quarter this year — and finished with 164 yards on eight catches.

"I just want to win," said Evans, who had a third-quarter touchdown negated by an offensive pass interference call against him. "We had them 24-0. I thought we were going to put it away."

RECEIVER INJURIES: The Bucs dressed only four receivers and finished the game with two. Louis Murphy and Vincent Jackson left the game with knee injuries. Murphy was on crutches after the game and could be facing an extended absence. Jackson said he would be okay.

Rookie Donteea Dye had one catch, the first of his NFL career, but it was for a touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Bucs a 17-0 lead. He was targeted for only one pass. Evans got most of the receiver looks with 12 targets.

DEFENSE SCORES: For the second week in a row, the defense scored on a fumble recovery. DE Jacquies Smith sacked Redskins QB Kirk Cousins and forced a fumble that first-year DE Howard Jones scooped up and returned 43 yards for a touchdown and the 24-0 lead.

"It's all about the win. It's not about me scoring a touchdown," Jones said. "All the guys were working hard. Everyone wants a win."

RED ZONE WOES: The Bucs continue to struggle converting red-zone opportunities, going 1-for-3 Sunday with a pair of field goals on drives that stalled inside the Redskins' 5.

On the Bucs' second drive, they had third and 2 at the 4, but QB Jameis Winston missed Evans with a pass, and that set up a 22-yard Connor Barth field goal. The next-to-last drive saw the Bucs run three times inside the 5 and again having to settle for a Barth field goal that kept the Redskins within a touchdown.

The Redskins had no such problems, getting four touchdowns and a field goal in five red-zone trips. The Bucs went in with the NFL's second-worst red zone defense, giving up touchdown on 74 percent of opponents' red-zone trips.

STOCKING UP: TE Luke Stocker, back from a hip injury, had his first catches of the season, with three receptions for 22 yards.

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

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