TAMPA — Bucs running back Jacquizz Rodgers recorded his first professional 100-yard receiving game Sunday but had no reason to celebrate following Tampa Bay's 16-3 loss to Washington.
Rodgers, who hadn't logged more than 56 receiving yards in any of his previous 102 NFL games, had 103 yards on eight catches — which tied his career high — out of the backfield as quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's top target.
The Bucs utilized their running backs as receivers — all three running backs caught passes — especially with tight end O.J. Howard minimalized in double coverage. Rodgers, who is the team's top receiving back, was the biggest beneficiary.
"There was some stuff where Quizz caught a bunch of balls," Fitzpatrick said. "He had a bunch where that's where that was what they were giving us and we were just trying to dink and dunk at times and take what what were giving us and that was just the way that it went today."
Four of his receptions were for 10 yards or more, including a 24-yard gain in the second quarter that was the biggest gain on the Bucs' only scoring drive of the game.
But it was a costly fourth-quarter fumble — the third of four Bucs turnovers — that was all Rodgers could think about after the game.
"I'm (mad) as hell," Rodgers said. "I fumbled. All the rest of that (stuff) don't matter."
Down 16-3, the Bucs were driving into Washington territory when Rodgers caught a pass in the middle of the field, pulled away from Mason Foster's ankle-tackle attempt and turned upfield before linebacker Ryan Anderson punched the ball out of Rodgers' grasp from behind.
Anderson hit the ball hard, and it sailed into the end zone, where it was recovered by Washington for a touchback.
"He punched it out," Rodgers said. "I just need to do a better job of protecting the ball when I break a tackle. Guy did a nice play punching it out. I just have to do my job, and not fumble the ball. It's that simple."
"Yeah, (we) didn't finish in the red zone," Rodgers said. "We left a lot of points on the board today. When you turn the ball over as much as we did today, it's hard to win."
Reach Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.