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 email@example.com. Follow @EddientheYard