After weeks of hoping tight end Jordan Reed could return from a hamstring injury, the Washington Redskins ended any suspense.
They placed him on injured reserve Tuesday, along with two other players: running back Byron Marshall and linebacker Chris Carter.
The Redskins now have 18 players on injured reserve, including 12 who were projected starters or key backups.
Reed had missed the past six games and seven overall because of his hamstring. He last practiced on Nov. 9, when he suffered a setback. The Redskins had decided to stop him from running last week.
Reed’s most frustrating season ends with just 27 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns. His loss was a big one for the passing attack, as Washington’s coaches like to feature him; his quickness in and out of cuts creates difficult matchups for defenses.
Reed’s issues stem from a toe fracture that might need surgery. It caused him to open training camp on the physically unable to perform list. When he returned, he needed special orthotics in his cleats, in addition to needing them to be wider.
But Reed overcompensated for his toe injury, leading to issues with his hip and eventually the hamstring. He has yet to play in all 16 games in a season and has missed 28 of a possible 80 games since entering the NFL.
Reed signed a five-year extension worth up to $50 million in the offseason.
The Redskins still have veterans Vernon Davis and Niles Paul and rookie Jeremy Sprinkle at tight end.
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LOS ANGELES — This was Jared Goff’s moment. His Los Angeles Rams had the ball with a lead Sunday, at home against one of the NFL’s greatest teams, with Carson Wentz already ruled out for the game. It was first-and-10 at the Philadelphia Eagles’ 35-yard line at the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter. All the Rams really needed was a sustained drive, the type that would give their defense enough breathing room to get after backup quarterback Nick Foles and seal a victory.
But Goff never saw Chris Long.
“I probably need to get rid of it a little earlier there,” Goff said. “It’s one thing you can learn from, for sure.”
The Rams ran play-action, and Long quickly got around Darrell Williams, an inexperienced backup who had replaced an injured Rob Havenstein at right tackle on the previous play. Goff didn’t see anyone open downfield, so he shuffled his feet up in the pocket. And that’s when Long, the former Ram, made his impact, sacking Goff and knocking the ball loose for the play that ultimately turned Sunday’s 43-35 loss to the Eagles.
Philadelphia finished the ensuing drive with a field goal, and Los Angeles never answered. The Rams went three-and-out, then punted with just more than two minutes remaining, allowed the Eagles to convert a key third down and got the ball again with only one second left, their desperate attempt at a trick play resulting in another touchdown for Philadelphia.
Rams coach Sean McVay later blamed himself for Goff’s fumble because a play-action pass with your starting right tackle out of the game — and Todd Gurley running the ball so efficiently — probably wasn’t the best idea in that situation.
“I’ve got to do a better job of putting our offense in better situations, be smart, have a little bit of situational awareness,” McVay said. “That was a mistake on my part.”
Goff was later told McVay took the blame for the fumble and shook his head.
“He told me the same thing,” Goff said. “He shouldn’t do that. He’s been doing a great job all year calling plays. Once the play comes in, it’s my job to execute it, and unfortunately we didn’t.”
The Rams gave up 21 unanswered points early in their highly anticipated matchup against the Eagles, a game that saw the Rams distribute a season-high 2,300 credentials and house a season-high 67,752 fans. Their offense came out firing in the third quarter, as has been the case for most of the season. But they lost, even though they led by as many as four in the final quarter and Wentz exited with what might be a torn ACL.
The Rams fell to 9-4, on a day when both the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks lost, and thus remained the No. 3 seed in the NFC.
McVay called it “a great learning opportunity” and said the Rams “can’t afford to allow them to extend drives by things that we can’t control,” a reference to key penalties.
The Rams had seven of them, giving up 102 additional yards in a game with very little margin for error. Each of the Eagles’ first two touchdown drives were aided by pass interference calls, the first on Alec Ogletree and the second on Trumaine Johnson. There also was leverage called on Aaron Donald on a 54-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter, which only extended a drive that finished with a shorter field goal.
But the biggest penalty came at the six-minute mark of the third quarter, on a deep ball from Wentz to Alshon Jeffery that fell incomplete. Johnson — who finished the game in concussion protocol and thus was not available to speak with the media — was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, gifting the Eagles 15 yards to help set up a key touchdown.
“They weren’t even talking trash,” Rams cornerback Nickel Robey-Coleman said. “They were just talking football and they threw the flag.”
Jeffery saw it similarly.
“We know each other,” he said. “When he makes a play, he’s going to make some noise. When I make a play, I’m going to make some noise. It is what it is.”
Sunday’s game left a lot of room for second-guessing, especially with regards to Gurley, who averaged 7.4 yards per carry but received only 13 attempts. There were ill-timed penalties, a costly fumble, an imperfect run-pass ratio — but the Rams had their chance.
They had the ball again, down two with nearly four minutes left, at their own 25. Gurley lost three yards on a rushing attempt, Goff gained only those three yards back on a scramble, and a deep ball to Sammy Watkins fell incomplete. Punting on fourth-and-10, Goff said, “was the right move.”
But the Rams never really got another chance.
“It was definitely a really tight one and one that was a lot of fun to be a part of,” Goff said. “We would have liked to finish it a different way, but I think if we eliminate some of the stuff that we did that hurt us in the end there, it could be a different story. That Philadelphia team is really good. It’s a really good team and so are we. We knew it was going to be a dogfight and so did they. Four-quarter game, all the way to the end.”
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott disputed Monday’s comments by Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly that Bills players did not adequately come to the defense of cornerback Tre’Davious White after he took an illegal hit Sunday from New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The NFL suspended Gronkowski one game for the hit. He will appeal the penalty, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Kelly told Buffalo radio station 97 Rock on Monday that it “surprised him” that Bills players “did not retaliate” for the fourth-quarter hit, which landed White in the concussion protocol and resulted in Gronkowski’s being flagged for unnecessary roughness.
“We had three guys standing there,” Kelly said. “When you see a shot like that — if I’m the coach, yeah, you want to play smart, you don’t want to play dirty, you don’t want to get that penalty and all that. But boy, when you see something like that, and it happens right in front of you — me as a quarterback, I might have ran over and gave him a good shot.
“Yeah, I might have got a penalty for it, too. But I remember back in the day … anytime anybody did something like — whether it was me or [former Bills running back] Thurman [Thomas] or anybody — we were right there. [Former Bills coach] Marv [Levy] always said, ‘Don’t play dumb, don’t play dirty.’ But the thing is, you want to come to the defense of your boys. I guess they didn’t want to get a penalty also.”
Gronkowski dove and drove his left arm into the back of White’s helmet as the rookie cornerback lay face-first on the ground to secure the ball after intercepting Tom Brady late in New England’s 23-3 win.
After the game, Gronkowski apologized for the hit and said it was fueled by frustration for what he felt should have been a defensive pass interference on the play by White. Bills safety Micah Hyde was among players calling Gronkowski’s hit “dirty” and expressing surprise that he was not ejected.
Gronkowski’s hit did not come without reaction from Buffalo. Safety Jordan Poyer shoved Gronkowski after he hit White, and linebacker Preston Brown and cornerback Lafayette Pitts stood near White and looked toward officials to throw a flag.
McDermott defended his players’ response to the play Monday.
“I know what I saw,” he said. “I’m also proud, to a point, of the poise that we showed. Because that’s important as we build this thing, that we’re doing things the right way. The referees handle things, and then we have to play within the rules.”
Former Bills safety Aaron Williams, who was fined for his role in a pregame altercation with the Patriots last season at Gillette Stadium, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that Bills players should have done more to retaliate against Gronkowski.
The flag against Gronkowski was one of four penalties on the play. Hyde and Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola were both called for unnecessary roughness for a separate altercation, and Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for his behavior toward officials. The Bills began their next drive with a first-and-25.
McDermott declined comment Monday when asked if he had been in contact with the NFL about the hit.
“We’ve moved on,” he said. “What’s gonna be is gonna be with that situation. With all due respect to all the questions. The more I answer questions about that situation, the longer it lingers — I’m just being honest with you — and the more it becomes a distraction. We have to focus on us and the Indianapolis Colts.”
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The Minnesota Vikings used a 30-yard run from Latavius Murray to set up a 2-yard touchdown pass to Georgia native Jerick McKinnon in the second quarter and McKinnon celebrated with a Dirty Bird dance.
Turns out, that was the only touchdown of the first half as the Vikings led 7-6 at the intermission.
After falling behind 9-7 with another Falcons field goal in the third quarter, the Vikings went on a 15-play, 89-yard drive and scored with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph on the first play of the fourth quarter.
With the defense playing well, it turned out that would be all the Vikings would need in their 14-9 win
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After the Chicago Bears’ most lopsided loss in nearly a year, coach John Fox told his 3-8 team Monday that it’s at a crossroads with five games remaining.
“Big-picture wise, we talked about there are two numbers,” Fox said. “There’s 3-13, and there’s 8-8. That all starts on Wednesday, when we start preparing (for the 49ers). You get this out of your system and then you start getting ready for San Francisco.”
With a home game Sunday against the 1-10 Niners and the home finale three weeks later against the 0-11 Cleveland Browns, there is time for players to salvage some respectability
But a fourth consecutive season of double-digit losses is a virtual certainty, and considering Fox will have presided over the last three, his departure is presumed.
Respectability won’t be enough to save Fox’s job.
Bears observers who expect Fox to return in 2018 for the final year of his contract could convene in the bathroom of a 747. But Fox professes to not be concerned that time might be running out for him.
“I don’t do this as a job,” said Fox, who is 12-31 as the Bears’ boss man. “I do this as a profession, so I don’t really worry about job security, time and all that. It’s obvious we’re in a performance-based business. I get that part. I’ll just try to control what I can control.”
Sunday’s 31-3 loss to the Eagles at Philadelphia was out of control by halftime, when the Bears trailed 24-0 and had failed to make a first down. The margin of defeat matched the 38-10 spanking the Vikings put on the Bears in the 2016 season finale at Minnesota.
Monday morning on WBBM 780-AM, Fox said: “Record-wise, it’s the hardest job I’ve had in my career.”
When asked about that comment at his Monday afternoon news conference at Halas Hall, Fox explained.
“I think what I said was ‘the sequence of seasons,’ ” he said. “I don’t know that I’ve experienced that before. Which I think is honest and real.”
In 17 seasons as an NFL head coach, Fox had never experienced back-to-back losing seasons until he came to the Bears. In his first year, Fox’s team went 6-10, then plummeted to 3-13 last year. Now he’s practically guaranteed to make it three straight seasons below .500 in Chicago.
The Bears would have to run the table in the final five weeks to make it to 8-8.
But a .500 record seems miles away for a team that has gone 7-25 in its last 33 games.
“I think we are what we are,” Fox said. “We have five games remaining, and what that final record will be is our season record. I’ve never been big on finger-pointing. Right now we’re 3-8, and that’s what we are.”
That’s the bottom line, and in the NFL, which as Fox said is a performance-based business, the blame always lands on the head coach.
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Moments after New York Jets receiver Robby Anderson scored his second touchdown Sunday, he spotted a TV camera on the sideline, lobbied for Pro Bowl votes — and sparked a controversy.
“Hey, will y’all vote for me for the Pro Bowl, man? Please?” he said on camera.
Anderson was immediately rebuked by Fox Sports analyst Chris Spielman and, more importantly, his own coach.
“I didn’t see it, but if that’s true, that’s not smart football,” Todd Bowles said after the 35-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. “We don’t want selfish players on this team doing selfish things.”
Anderson was flying high after a 54-yard touchdown reception, which gave the Jets a 17-12 lead in the third quarter. Anderson, an undrafted player who made the team as a rookie in 2016, has scored in five straight games and has seven touchdowns for the season.
Fox aired his Pro Bowl plea when it got back from a commercial break. Spielman, a former player, didn’t hold back.
“How about we worry about outscoring somebody in the fourth quarter and you focus on this game instead of campaigning for Pro Bowl votes?” Spielman said on the air. “Let’s try that first.”
Afterward, Anderson said he was simply caught up in the moment.
“I was just excited, I wasn’t trying to come off in no bad way or nothing like that,” he said. “Just excitement, spur of the moment.
“Everybody knows I’m all for this team in every aspect. I make my life’s decisions based on my team. Everything I do is about being the best I can be for my team. It was nothing malicious or anything like that.”
Teammate Morris Claiborne described it as an example of brilliant marketing by Anderson.
“If I got a pick, I would’ve done the same thing,” the cornerback said with a laugh. “I feel like this game, and dealing with the Pro Bowl, there are different politics that go into it. You pretty much have to sell yourself, market yourself and bring up the conversation. He sparked a conversation to get the ball rolling … and it may come out on his end.
“No publicity is bad publicity.”
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Vance Joseph’s switch of quarterbacks didn’t stop the Denver Broncos’ skid, so the rookie head coach changed offensive coordinators.
Joseph on Monday fired Mike McCoy, his first hire when he got the job, and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.
“Moving to Billy I think we’re going to have a chance to have a more efficient pass game with simply simplifying the concepts and helping our quarterbacks have a cleaner progression on where to go with the ball,” said Joseph, who promoted Klint Kubiak to take over Musgrave’s position.
McCoy joined Joseph for a second stint as Denver’s offensive coordinator after a middling four-year run as the Chargers’ head coach.
Musgrave, who was John Elway’s backup in Denver in the late 1990s, is a 20-year coaching veteran with nine seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Vikings, Jaguars, Panthers, Eagles and most recently the Raiders in 2015 and ’16.
Joseph wouldn’t commit to keeping Brock Osweiler as his starting QB, saying he’d huddle with Musgrave and the rest of his staff.
The Broncos (3-7) have lost six straight — three under Osweiler, who has three touchdown passes and four interceptions, and three under Trevor Siemian, who had nine TDs and 10 INTs when he was benched.
These changes might be a precursor to giving former first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch an audition. Elway moved up in the 2016 draft to select Lynch with the 26th pick, but the former Memphis star was beaten out by Siemian two summers in a row.
Lynch spent the first two months of this season recovering from a sprained throwing shoulder he sustained in the preseason. He returned to practice a few weeks ago and was active Sunday for the first time as Osweiler’s backup in the Broncos’ 20-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
McCoy had increasingly drawn scrutiny for his overly complex game plans and insistence on using three wide receivers as his base formation to both pass and run, even though the vast majority of the Broncos’ penalties, sacks and turnovers have come out of that formation.
Joseph stressed that he wasn’t scapegoating McCoy for Denver’s myriad problems.
“Mike didn’t fumble the ball. Mike didn’t throw interceptions,” Joseph said. “But ultimately it falls on Mike’s plate.”
New Orleans Saints defensive end Alex Okafor will miss the rest of the season after tearing an Achilles tendon Sunday. He has 4 1/2 sacks. … Cleveland Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah fractured his right foot Sunday and needs season-ending surgery. … Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (ankle surgery) and running back Chris Thompson (broken leg) are headed to injured reserve. … Houston Texans rookie running back D’Onta Foreman, who scored his first two touchdowns Sunday, likely will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury, coach Bill O’Brien said. … Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, sidelined early in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, did not sustain any ligament damage to his right knee, coach Sean McDermott said.
Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert has been suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancers policy…. The Chicago Bears waived kicker Connor Barth, who missed a late field goal in Sunday’s 27-24 loss to Detroit, then signed former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos. … Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and center Ryan Kalil returned to practice after extended absences due to injuries.
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It’s the bye week for the San Francisco 49ers, so we decided to look back at the games that have gone by and hand out some awards.
It has been a trying season for the San Francisco 49ers. Massively affected by injuries and having been on the wrong side of five successive close defeats earlier in the season, the Niners finally got their first win in Week 11.
A 1-9 record at the bye is far from pretty, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some star performers for the 49ers. Here we recognize those players with some season awards at the bye week.
MVP: Joe Staley
You could make the case that Joe Staley is not the 49ers’ best player, but it would be tough to argue that he isn’t the most important. San Francisco’s offensive line was a mess without the left tackle, with C.J. Beathard getting hit 16 times and being sacked on five occasions in the Week 9 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
A week later and with Staley back in the lineup, Beathard was kept clean and not sacked once, enabling him to produce the best performance of his young career and lead the 49ers to victory. Their can be no greater illustration of value than the substantial improvement in the O-line’s play with Staley protecting the quarterback’s blindside.
He remains an elite left tackle and is unquestionably the most valuable player the Niners have.
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HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans were left searching for answers about how to turn things around after their third straight loss.
One thing they won’t do is switch quarterbacks, with coach Bill O’Brien saying Monday that Tom Savage will start on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Savage threw for 221 yards and a touchdown on Sunday in his second start since rookie Deshaun Watson sustained a season-ending knee injury in practice. But he was also intercepted twice and lost two fumbles in a 33-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, raising questions whether the Texans should replace him with T.J. Yates this week.
O’Brien brushed off that possibility, insisting the problems on offense aren’t all Savage’s fault.
“It starts with coaching,” O’Brien said. “We’ve all got to coach better, starting with me, but it’s never about one guy; it’s never been about one guy. Football’s about 11 guys trying to do the right thing on every play.”
While O’Brien shifted the blame off of Savage, the quarterback disagreed with his coach.
“To be honest with you, it’s on the quarterback when (we) put up seven points,” he said. “It’s on me.”
Sunday was Savage’s third start this season. He started the opener before being benched at halftime for Watson after losing two fumbles. He’s performed much the same in the last two weeks, with the offense managing one touchdown each in losses to the Colts and Rams. It’s a stark change from when Watson was running the unit and the Texans set a franchise record by scoring more than 30 points in five straight games.
O’Brien isn’t concerned about Savage’s confidence and scoffed at the notion that he needs to encourage him this week.
“I’m not going to come into the quarterback room with two pom-poms and do handstands and try to pump him up and say: ‘You’re the best, you can do it,’ like the little engine that could,” O’Brien said. “That’s not what I do. I just try to coach him, try to get him to play better.”
To do that O’Brien said Savage needs to work on ball security and reads, and the rest of the players on offense must do more to help him.
The Texans got a big game from DeAndre Hopkins on Sunday: seven receptions for 111 yards. But Savage had trouble connecting with Houston’s other receivers and none of the rest of them finished with more than 40 yards receiving.
His job could be tougher this week with Will Fuller’s status in question after the receiver injured his ribs against the Rams.
“He’s slightly built, so I don’t know,” O’Brien said of the 6-foot, 185-pound Fuller. “We’ll have to see how that goes during the week.”
With Savage having trouble getting Houston’s offense going on Sunday, O’Brien inserted Braxton Miller at quarterback for a couple of wildcat-type plays. Miller, who starred at quarterback at Ohio State before moving to receiver, didn’t attempt a pass.
“Just trying to mix it up a little bit,” O’Brien said. “I just felt like it didn’t really help the rhythm of the offense. It wasn’t Braxton’s fault. It just didn’t really help what we were trying to do. It didn’t have the effect that I thought it was going to have.”
Sunday’s loss left the Texans (3-6) in third place in the AFC South, three games behind the Jaguars and Titans. They’ll have to find a cure for their offensive woes quickly if they hope to have any chance of reaching the postseason for the third straight year.
“Any time you lose — what three in a row? You’ve got to be worried,” cornerback Kareem Jackson said. “But at the same time, I know the type of guys we got in the locker room. We’re a resilient group. I feel like we can come out of anything. We’ve just got to stay together and continue to fight.”
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TAMPA, Fla. — One week ago, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David was nearly inconsolable leaving the field against the New Orleans Saints. On Saturday night, he stood before his teammates and delivered an emotional speech, telling them, “Do it for the family.” He also said that no matter what everyone else was thinking — the fans, the media, anyone around them — that only people who could change their situation were right there in that room.
Sunday was a start. With no Jameis Winston, no Mike Evans and not much hope heading into the second half of their season, the Bucs were able to snap a five-game losing streak with a 15-10 win over the New York Jets, thanks to a dominant performance on defense. They showed that they haven’t given up and that any shot of salvaging their season to some level of respectability will be because of the defense, the same unit that helped orchestrate last year’s midseason turnaround.
“There was a lot of frustration [last week], because I know we’re a great football team,” said David, who led the Bucs with eight tackles, two tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery against the Jets. “We just beat ourselves. That was the frustrating part. … Today, everybody took that to heart [and] did their jobs. Everybody played football the way we know how to and we had fun today.”
They were able to generate pressure, getting a season-high six sacks from newcomers Will Clarke and Darryl Tapp and Robert Ayers, Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald and linebacker Kendell Beckwith, whose role standing up at the line of scrimmage — something the Bucs unveiled against the Buffalo Bills — is starting to make an impact. Heading into Sunday’s game, the Bucs had just eight sacks in eight games for the season, the fewest in the league.
“The veterans definitely emphasized bringing that energy and bringing that passion and I think we came out the gates swinging, especially on defense” said defensive end Ryan Russell, who said practice this week set the tone. “We were just running to the ball. The Saints hit us with a lot of screens and guys weren’t really, really running 110 percent. I think it started with the small details in practice, everyone running to the ball, all 11 guys.”
Their coverages looked tighter. They had takeaways, with cornerback Brent Grimes picking off Josh McCown on a deep post route to get things going. Then David forced a third-quarter fumble, with Kwon Alexander recovering it. They were able to get off the field on third down, allowing the Jets to convert just 3 of 15 tries (20 percent). The last three games, they were allowing a combined 52.7 percent.
“Before we even stepped out of the locker room, our minds were made of what we were gonna do,” said Alexander, who finished with four combined tackles, two quarterback hits and a pass breakup to go with the takeaway. “We were just playing. Everybody was just feeding off each other. Nobody had to do too much to make a play. Everybody was just doing their job and in the right spot where they needed to be and making plays.”
It wasn’t a perfect day, though. The Buccaneers had kept the Jets out of the end zone until there were 31 seconds to go, with wide receiver Robby Anderson snatching a 38-yard touchdown on a deep fade route.
“We didn’t finish the game the way [we] would have liked to, but up until then, our defense was lights out,” said coach Dirk Koetter. “That wasn’t the most beautiful offensive game I have ever been in, but I’ve been in some beautiful offensive games and we’ve come up short. All I care about is we got one more than they got at the end of the game.”
Backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick did his job stepping in for Winston, completing 17 of 34 attempts for 187 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He got rid of the ball quickly as pressure loomed. He took off immediately when no options were available. The only major error he had was the pick. (It would have been two, had it not been for an illegal contact penalty on the Jets’ defense.)
“Gritty, that’s what Ryan is,” said Koetter. “That’s what Ryan is. He’s a ‘get it done’ kind of guy. He’s going to make some plays you maybe don’t expect him to and he might miss a couple plays you’d like him to make. But he’s a tough guy and a competitor. You can’t have enough of those guys on the team.”
The Bucs’ ground game — the engine that makes their run-first offense go — continued to struggle early on, with just 43 yards heading into the fourth quarter. It wasn’t until Charles Sims’ 21-yard run in the fourth quarter that the unit, or the offense, showed any viable threat to score. Sims then caught a 6-yard touchdown on a slant route, giving the Bucs a 15-3 lead. They finished with 90 yards on the ground.
“We just dug deep. We competed,” said Sims, who despite the big run, finished with 20 total rushing yards because of defensive plays made behind the line of scrimmage. Still, this moment was a long time coming for him and the Bucs’ running backs, who hadn’t scored a touchdown in nearly a month.
“It just felt good to win. It felt good to win,” Sims said. “We’re just doing it one game at a time, one win at a time. That’s all we’ve got control of. One game at a time.”
Overall on offense, they moved the ball well but had too many wasted opportunities. The Bucs got a 44-yard punt return from Bernard Reedy, starting their third offensive possession from the 50-yard line. Yet four plays later, they were punting from 4 yards behind that. Then, after Grimes’ interception, Fitzpatrick threw it back into the Jets’ hands with a pick of his own.
Make no mistake about it — at 3-6 and with three consecutive road games ahead, it would take a miracle for the Bucs to reach the playoffs, and these are two bad football teams. The offense continues to underachieve, scoring just two touchdowns in the last 12 quarters of play, despite having one of the most talented groups in the league. But the Bucs showed they still have it in them to play hard for their coaches and haven’t given up, even if many around them have.
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