Buccaneers 42, Raiders 32: Doing the Doug-ie in the Bay
Doug Martin. Doug Martin. Doug Martin.
What more needs to be said about the offensive explosion in the second half that gave the Buccaneers a 10-point victory over the Raiders. The first round pick busted off four touchdown runs in the second half, and not short, Jerome Bettis-style runs that players with multi-touchdown days generally accumulate. Instead Martin sprinted for 45, 67 and 70 yards for touchdowns before putting a cherry on top of his performance with a one-yard run in the fourth quarter.
It's a good thing too, because had he not been able to have such an explosive second half, it was certainly possible that Josh Freeman wouldn't have been able to get the points necessary to earn the victory. While the fourth-year quarterback didn't have a terrible day in the statbook by any means, as he completed 60 percent of his passes, threw two touchdowns and finished the day with a 108.6 passer rating.
However, he wasn't nearly as dominant as the numbers would suggest. He showed many of the same struggles that have been seen for the majority of the season and was a big reason why the Bucs only managed seven points in the first half.
Defensively, it's hard to say much about the Buccaneers defense than they were opportunistic. The front seven set a physical tone and the secondary saved the game with three interceptions of Carson Palmer who seemingly threw to no one, often. What they did, though, was continue to give up big plays as they have for most of the season.
Colts 23, Dolphins 20: Un-Luck-y day for the Dolphins defense
A 90.9 passer rating is definitely more than a satisfactory performance for a rookie quarterback. Ryan Tannehill has been surprisingly ahead of the curve as a rookie and has taken a solid command of the Dolphins offense. His performance against the Colts defense wasn't perfect, but it would have been more than enough to win if he hadn't gone against Andrew Luck.
Luck finished with a 105.6 rating as he racked up more yardage than any rookie quarterback has ever had in a single game. He burned the Dolphins on several deep plays, many of which were very well defended. And that was the biggest problem of the game for the Dolphins, they didn't make the big plays on defense themselves.
While Luck will make big plays because he's willing to take the shots, he's had the propensity for mistakes for the same reason. He trusts his arm to connect on the big shots and trusts it in the tight windows. On several occasions that resulted in plays that were nearly intercepted by the Dolphins. But all of them were nearly intercepted and none of them actually were.
With 23 points allowed, the defense wasn't completely shredded by the Indianapolis offense, but the three-point margin of defeat certainly could've been made up by even one turnover to swing momentum and set up the Tannehill-led offense with solid field position.
Lions 31, Jaguars 14: Hopeless at home
There aren't many positives for the Jaguars and Sunday's loss to the Lions didn't exactly present new negatives. It's the same old suck and the same old suck storylines that come with it.
Perhaps it'll take the upcoming Thursday game against the Colts before it can truly be validated, but one thing that has seemingly been shown is that the Jaguars are a very bad team at EverBank Field. They haven't been a good team on the road either, but they've played very respectably away from Jacksonville.
But in four home games, the Jaguars have been outscored 126-34 and have been resoundingly dominated in each game. Sunday's loss to the Lions was no different as the Jaguars managed to dig themselves into a 21-0 hole in the first half. While the defense struggled to slow the Lions offense, the story of the game was easily the struggles of the offense.
After three consecutive three-and-outs the Jaguars finally earned a first down, but it wasn't part of a drive that resulted in any points. None of the drives resulted in points until the Lions defense relaxed in the fourth quarter and allowed Blaine Gabbert to pick up garbage-time stats with 12 straight completions and two touchdowns.