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Bucs-Jets journal: How rookie Chris Godwin filled in for Mike Evans

TAMPA — Bucs rookie Chris Godwin had big shoes to fill, stepping in Sunday for his first career NFL start while Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans was suspended.

Godwin came up big, with career highs of five catches for 68 yards, helping set up two field goals in the second half of Tampa Bay's 15-10 win over the Jets.

"I had the opportunity to step into a bigger role was able to take advantage of it," said Godwin, a third-round pick from Penn State. "Any time I go out there, my main goal is to help the team in any facet of the game."

Godwin had one catch in each of the previous five games, none for even 10 yards. After only one catch for 7 yards in the first half, the Bucs went to Godwin on the next two plays, with catches of 16 and 12 yards to set up a go-ahead field goal.

When the Bucs recovered a fumble late in the third quarter, they again went to Godwin right away, with a 20-yard catch that put them in position for another field goal.

"Chris played spectacular today," QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "He made some nice, tough catches ... We needed him to step up with Mike being out. He's such a talented guy that maybe gets lost a little bit in the shuffle because of how many weapons we have ... It was nice to see him step up today."

And when they needed one more play to seal the win, Godwin was on the field for the Jets' onsides kick in the final minute to make his favorite catch of the day.

"One hundred percent," he said. "That way, we secured the game."

CHIPPING IN: The Bucs had six sacks — after totaling eight in their first eight games -- and backup DEs Darryl Tapp and Will Clarke each picked up their first of the season. Rookie LB Kendell Beckwith also had a sack, used often as a stand-up pass-rusher to bolster a three-man front.

"We knew we had to get better pressure on the quarterback," Beckwith said. "That's been a goal every week. We came out today with the mindset we had to get to him."

BIG SCORE: RB Charles Sims had his first touchdown in more than a year, catching a 6-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to give the Bucs a 15-3 lead with 6:05 remaining in the game. Sims set up the touchdown by converting on a third-and-15 with a 21-yard run as the Bucs were trying to run out the clock.

ANOTHER PICK: CB Brent Grimes, back after missing two games with a shoulder injury, got his second interception. He now has 19 since 2013, one off Richard Sherman's NFL lead for that span.

THIS AND THAT: Bucs nickel CB Vernon Hargreaves left the game with a hamstring injury — he finished with three tackles. There was no immediate word on the severity; Javien Elliott filled in for him after the injury. ... K Patrick Murray went 3-for-3 on field goals, making him now 6-for-7 on field goals and 5-for-5 on extra points since taking over for Nick Folk. ... Lakewood grad Bernard Reedy had a 44-yard punt return, the team's longest since Bobby Rainey took one 58 yards in 2015.

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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