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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Possessed Ravens Send Bucs to Ninth Loss

The loss dropped the Buccaneers to 5-9 and effectively erased their slim remaining playoff hopes. The Bucs are 1-6 on the road in 2018 and finished 1-3 in their games against the AFC North. Baltimore improved to 8-6 and are now 4-1 in the five games started by Jackson.

Despite those third-down woes, the Buccaneers’ defense kept the visitors in the game to the end. It was still a one-score game with seven minutes left when the Ravens broke up a fourth-down pass attempt by Jameis Winston from the Baltimore 33. LB Lavonte David led the defensive effort with a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery along with a game-high 11 tackles, three tackles for loss and a pass defensed. LB Riley Bullough, starting in place of Adarius Taylor, who missed the game due to a personal matter, added eight stops, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed.

“First, we played with energy,” said Bullough. “We were out there flying around, trying to make plays. But you’ve just got to stay consistent throughout the whole game and a couple of those runs leaked through. We’ll see the film, look at it and try to get better.”

Indeed, the Bucs managed to generate consistent pressure up front but had difficulty getting Jackson on the ground. The 2018 first-round pick completed just 14 of 23 passes for 131 yards but led a 242-yard rushing attack for the Ravens that helped grind out the clock. Jackson was credited with a touchdown through the air on a shovel pass to WR Chris Moore in the second quarter but it was the type of play that built off the Ravens’ creative rushing attack.

“It’s tough,” said Bullough of trying to contain Jackson along with running backs such as Gus Edwards, who added 104 yards on 19 carries. “It’s just an added responsibility in the run game. You’ve got to account for the quarterback, so it’s a little bit different run fits than you’re normally used to. And he’s fast, so even if you do have him covered up, he can just take it and out-run you. It’s tough but we’ve got to get better.”

Tampa Bay’s offense struck first after a scoreless first quarter, as Barber recorded a three-yard touchdown run set up by David’s fumble recovery. The Buccaneers had a 9-7 lead with two minutes left in the first half but Jackson led a quick, answering field goal drive before the intermission and then a long touchdown march to start the second half. The Bucs’ offense produced just one field goal in the second half, however, and finished with a season-low 241 yards of total offense.

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