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Tampa Bay Bucs discovered their winning blueprint against Jacksonville

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This is how the Tampa Bay Bucs are supposed to look.

They’re supposed to run the ball. They’re supposed to have controlled throwing with no incerceptions. They’re supposed to rush the passer. They’re supposed to take a lead and protect it.

In the two games that the Bucs have won this season, New Orleans and Jacksonville, that’s been the blueprint. Saying it, of course, is easier than playing it.

Against New Orleans, Jameis Winston threw only 21 times for 207 yards, but no interceptions. Against Jacksonville, he threw only 19 times for 207 yards and no interceptions.

Against New Orleans, Doug Martin rushed for 78 yards. Against Jacksonville, it was 123 yards.

Against New Orleans, the team had six sacks as little-known Jacquies Smith had two. Against Jacksonville, six more as little-known Howard Jones had two.

In other words, the Bucs photo-copied their game plan.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that it is (our identity),” said Bucs’ coach Lovie Smith at his weekly day-after-game press conference. “We’re running it, they know it, and then you can still run it. Yes, that just sets up everything else. Of course the running game is a quarterback’s best friend. That and the checkdown is a quarterback’s best friend and we were able to get all that going yesterday.”

Smith also praised his team’s offensive line.

“One-on-one blocking,” Smith said. “I have to get some push against you. Run situations. Then it’s as simple as that. It’s Oklahoma Drill, it’s just one-on-one; you have a winner each play. And we won a majority of the time this year. Again, it’s just, we’re able to look at the video a little bit different today based on a win. I will continue to say [that] it’s hard winning in the NFL each week. And five games into the season we have two wins. To start this second quarter [of the season], we have one win, and that’s the best position we can be in right now. We need to build on that.”

As pleased as he was with the victory, Smith said, the secondary displeased him.

“We haven’t played well enough – it’s as simple as that,” Smith said. “No, I’m not pleased at all. Simple as that. We’ve had opportunities to take the ball away more times. A game like yesterday, to finish on a note like that was discouraging. Where there were missed tackles and just your play on the ball. So we’re not where we need to be on the back end right now, it’s as simple as that, but we’ll keep working on it.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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