1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

Why the Bucs benched Ronald Jones

Bucs Journal: So much for a big day against Jacksonville’s poor run defense
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) runs the ball while being tackled by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye (21) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. [STEPHEN B. MORTON  |  AP]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) runs the ball while being tackled by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye (21) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. [STEPHEN B. MORTON | AP]
Published Dec. 2
Updated Dec. 2

JACKSONVILLE — Facing a Jaguars defense that allowed more than 200 rushing yards in each of its previous three games, Bucs running back Ronald Jones had his best opportunity for a big day on the ground.

But midway into the third quarter, Jones was benched, his carries taken by Peyton Barber.

And after the Bucs’ 28-11 win over the Jaguars Sunday, coach Bruce Arians said he pulled Jones for missing a blitz pickup.

“Peyton had the hot hand,” Arians said. “He was out there making plays and he did a better job in the blitz pickup. RoJo missed a blitz pickup and that’s it. You don’t get to play no more. It’s simple.”

Jones logged just eight yards on six carries. He didn’t have a touch after the opening drive of the second half. That drive ended with Jones missing a blitzing cornerback D.J. Hayden on first down at the Jacksonville 33.

Hayden couldn’t wrap up quarterback Jameis Winston, but he safety Andrew Wingard to force a strip sack from the opposite side for the Bucs only turnover.

Barber led the Bucs in rushing with 44 yards on 17 carries. Take away his 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Barber averaged just 1.8 yards a carry. The Bucs had just 74 yards rushing on the day. Barber hadn’t had more than 11 carries in any of the last eight games as Jones emerged as the team’s primary rusher.

Winston plays mostly mistake free

Winston’s streak of six straight 300-yard passing games ended, in part because he had just eight pass attempts after the Bucs took a 25-0 halftime lead. It was his first game without an interception since the Bucs’ overtime loss in Seattle on Nov. 3 and his fourth game this season without an interception.

The win was most important, but his numbers were pedestrian: 268 passing yards and a 89.0 quarterback rating. Sunday marked only the Bucs’ fourth victory in the 11 games Winston did not throw a touchdown pass.

His only turnover Sunday was the strip-sack fumble on the blitz that led to Jones’ benching. But Jacksonville sacked Winston sacked four times and hit him seven other times.

Barrett back on sack patrol

Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett had his first multiple-sack game since Week 3, and the Bucs posted five sacks as a unit. Barrett’s production has slowed since his nine sacks over the first four games, but on Sunday, he had two. His strip sack of Nick Foles led to Devin White’s touchdown return and a sack of Gardner Minshew late in the fourth quarter set up a third-and-long.

Barrett’s 14 1/2 sacks match Simeon Rice (2002)for the most by any Bucs player through 12 games.

Four different outside linebackers registered sacks. Other than Barrett, Carl Nassib logged a strip sack and both Jason Pierre-Paul and Sam Acho also recorded a sack.

“We’re all happy for each other to see another guy make a play,” Barrett said. “Carl got one. JPP got one. Sam got one. So everyone in our room who played got one, so it’s an amazing feeling.”

Over the past two games, the Bucs have 11 sacks. They had 11 in their previous six games.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at Follow @EddientheYard

• • •


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) is injured after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    ESPN reports a hamstring injury will sideline the receiver. How will his absence impact the offense?
  2. In Sunday's win, Jameis Winston finished with four passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, three interceptions and more than 400 passing yards. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to hit those marks in a single game. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  Associated Press]
    We’re talking about Tampa Bay’s grit and resilience but overlooking the reason why it fell behind in the first place: the quarterback.
  3. Quarterback Jameis Winston (3) reaches across the goal line for a touchdown during the first half of the Bucs' 38-35 win over Indianapolis Sunday in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Linebacker Lavonte David lit into teammates at halftime Sunday and the Bucs rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit.
  4. Bucs receiver Mike Evans signs a Texas A&M jersey during his charity bowling event in Tampa on Monday night. Proceeds go to the Mike Evans Family Foundation, which provides college scholarships to low-income students. [EDUARDO ENCINA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    In it’s first year of existence, the Mike Evans Family Foundation has helped send low-income students to college.
  5. The Eagles and Carson Wentz, above, overcome the Giants and Eli Manning for a home victory. [MICHAEL PEREZ  |  AP]
    Philadelphia scores the game’s final 20 points, ties Dallas for first in the NFC East.
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) sustains an injury while scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts defense during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, December 8, 2019.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Both players were injured in the Bucs’ home win against the Colts.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) celebrates as he runs off the field after an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio) [MARK LOMOGLIO  |  AP]
    The Bucs quarterback was examined by a hand specialist Monday as a precaution.
  8. The sight of Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston throwing a pass has been equal parts disaster and joy for opponents and Tampa Bay fans. Winston is second in the NFL in passing yards (with a team record 4,115) and is first in interceptions (with a career high 23). [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    John Romano’s Gimme 5 | Winston’s boom-or-bust season, Ryan Griffin’s passing debut and a special thank you to Hall of Famer John Elway.
  9. Plus, Vikings stay relevant, don’t count out the Patriots and a playoff spot for losers? All on the road to Miami Gardens
  10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Justin Watson (17) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, December 8, 2019.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    John Romano | After a 2-6 start, the Bucs are on a hot streak. Is it enough to convince you they’re for real?